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December 2013

“Ho Ho Ho and pass the Plasma”

As a dyed-in-the-wool, dues paying, 24 carat, ocean-going, fur-lined and board certified curmudgeon, generally, I don’t ‘do’ Christmas. I don’t ‘do’ the commercial schmaltz and the frenetic, uber-commercialised advertising that begins in August. Raging commercialism and, ‘he-who-dies-with-the-most-and-the-best-toys-wins!’ is not for me. I also don’t ‘do’ all this patently false and pathetically transparent lovey-dovey, gushy, touchy-feely hogwash with distant relatives (they are generally ‘distant’ for very good reasons at all other times of the year) as well as assorted wild-vreemde strangers who, for some bizarre reason, want to hug me at the drop of a hat.

Now that my readers (all three of them) are convinced that I actually am the jackass they always suspected I was, I am afraid I must disappoint them. I am, in truth, not on a rant about Christmas. My problem is actually with the Christmas (or ‘festive’, if you like) season. Because it’s not the season of giving. It’s not the season of ‘goodwill to all men’. And, heartbreakingly often, it’s not time to ‘be with family’. Do you know why? Because, once again this year, for some, it will not be possible to be ‘with family’. It will be impossible for many folks to hug their sisters, brothers, or grand-children. Because they will be dead. Brutally, agonisingly and shockingly dead. On South African roads.

Killed by morons who think that overtaking on a blind rise is the right thing to do. Idiots who think that overtaking six cars on the trot and squeezing back into traffic at the last possible second in the face of an on-coming 60 ton super-link, is ‘cool’. And let’s not forget the Mensa candidates who are absolutely convinced that doing 160+ kmh. in heavy holiday traffic and poor visibility is perfectly safe because they happen to be driving the latest +R1 million German super car because “…it has state-of-the-art airbags, you know?” Eish.

When are South African drivers going to get the drift that driving is not mortal combat? When are we going to figure out that gaining a 10m. advantage over some other poor shnook stuck in the traffic (just like you) does not make you a hero. How many more people must die and how much longer must yours truly be subjected to the daily “death count” delivered up to me with ghoulish relish by newspapers and t.v. stations over the so-called “festive season”? Or, perhaps, most cuttingly (cringe), when will the mostly male, gung-ho, “hou vas my bier, kyk hierdie maneuvre” brigade finally realise that the ol’ “wedding tackle” is, most assuredly, NOT going to grow larger simply because they choose to endanger the lives of all they come across by driving like there’s no tomorrow? The hard reality is that, because, of these and other assorted killers and their actions, for hundreds of people travelling S.A.’s roads over the 2013 ‘festive season’, there will be no tomorrow. As my daughter would say to me: “Chill out Pops!” I think there’s a lot more value in that simple line than we think. We all need to ‘chill out’ this holiday season. We all need to ‘take a breath’ and realise that getting there 14 min. and 16 seconds earlier than everyone else is not going to earn anyone the ‘Driver of the Year 2013’ award.
This year, do yourself, your family and every other road user you will soon come across a favour. Give them the biggest, the best and the most wonderful Christmas present they will ever receive. Cut through all the nonsense, grand-standing, pretension, one-upmanship and my-dog’s-bigger-than-your-dog nonsense and drive like a human being. Give them the gift of life. Merry Christmas everybody.  

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