Made in Broom Closet, meet Going Through the Lötschberg Tunnel
One of my favourite pastimes is making up stories about people I don’t know. It’s right up there with another secret pleasure of mine — eavesdropping on people’s conversations in public spaces. Let me explain. I consider it my job to sit and observe people, in the same way that my paranoid friend Tsunami believes that State Security Agency agents go through his WhatsApp chats, Facebook inbox and Pornhub stash. I watch them, and then I employ my supernatural powers of deduction to figure out what they do for a living, their marital status, age, where they live and where they’re flying to.
So when, while I was driving on an isolated road in Nigel last week, I saw a Hyundai i10 parked between the rows of a maize field with two occupants inside, I tapped into my super powers and figured out that a Christmas baby was in the manufacturing process. The reaction of most wholesome, God-fearing folks would be outrage and disgust. But I’m wired slightly differently. My first thought was that when their baby is born in December, they should name her/him Mbileni (Made in a maize field).
When I was done sniggering privately, my next thought was just how revealing it would be if everyone was named after the venue of their conception. I think that most of us would be mortified if we discovered our conception-venue names. Imagine discovering that you should be named Middle Stall because your parents met in the
Club Xanadu restrooms.
But before you’re mortified, consider this. Human brains are the most efficient manufacturers of selfdelusions. One of these spectacular delusions is that we’re a fundamentally rational species that exercises free will to make decisions in our daily lives. This is despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And few things provide us with more concrete proof of the fact that our decisions are the outcome of simple cause-and-effect, stimulus-response mechanisms than our sexual conduct. Depending on who you believe, the rate of unplanned pregnancies globally is between 45% and 71%. I’m inclined to lean towards the latter figure because it supports my claims about humans behaving like robots when it comes to when to shed our drawers.
Flame-haired tennis superstar Boris Becker, the youngest man to ever win Wimbledon, filed for bankruptcy a few years later. Nowadays he’s just another ashhaired, podgy, middle-aged used-tobe on the periphery of the tennis men’s tour, getting paid to reminisce about past glories. How did he achieve such an impressive feat, you ask? Well, he was having dinner at the posh Nobu restaurant in London one evening when he spotted a Russian model, Angela Ermakova, with legs longer than the Westcliff steps. The flame in his hair made its way down to his loins. Becker, a multimillionaire, could have just taken her number and organised a discreet liaison for the following day. Or he could have come up with an excuse for his wife, Barbara, and booked a room at a discreet hotel. But no, it was far more pressing than that. What does “Boom Boom” Becker do? He goes into a broom cupboard with the model and proceeds to serve an unreturnable ace that culminates in a daughter, nine months later. Between the divorce settlement from his wife, alimony and the maintenance settlement he had to pay the Russian model, he parted with $20m, which he called “the most expensive five seconds of my life”. His daughter’s name is Anna, but she might as well have been christened Broom Cupboard Ermakova.
As a species, we’re generally operating at the same level as the “lower life forms” around us, as we stride purposefully towards the attainment of a civilised order. This is why we have laws against public fornication. If we didn’t, we’d witness a lot of scenes such as the bull I saw playing Lego with a cow in full view of the rest of the herd while I was driving on the N3, in the
Villiers area. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, for instance, shared a delicious story on The Graham Norton Show about how he and his wife were caught in flagrante on a train while travelling through the Swiss Alps by an Italian couple. And more recently, a video clip of a guest of the state in orange overalls playing the Energizer Bunny with a correctional officer in her brown uniform made the rounds on the WhatsApp circuit. If that liaison ever produces offspring, it would be very difficult to resist the temptation to name that kid Orange Is The New Brown.
I can imagine the look of disgust on the face of Marieke from Oudtshoorn as she reads this. Until someone reminds her that her firstborn Gerhardus, who was born in 1974, should not be called Gerhardus at all. If all was equal, he would have been named Pampoenlappie Viljoen because he was conceived in the pumpkin patch behind the barn on the ostrich farm.
Few things provide us with more concrete proof of the fact that our decisions are simple stimulus responses than our sexual conduct