The apple and the tree

“He who knows not, but knows not he knows not – he is a fool. Shun him!”

These words of apparent wisdom spent a goodly portion of Saturday afternoon running through my mind, closely followed by the semi-rhetorical question, “If you hang out with an idiot, then what kind of an idiot does that make you?” (I say semi-rhetorical, because frankly, I don’t believe degrees of idiocy are all that important).

I’d been invited to a traditional South African burnt offering ceremony* and when the smoke cleared sufficiently for me to see who else was there, I discovered that one of the attendees was an individual whose company I would really rather avoid. Unfortunately, it was too late to flee without insulting the host, so I plastered a sickly grin across my face and tried to breathe normally, thinking, “Oh well, at least it can’t get any worse”. Of course I was wrong, because I soon discovered that the guy’s parents were also attending IdiotFest 2006.

I learned one thing, though. When a psychiatrist steeples his fingers and says, “Tell me about your mother”, he isn’t necessarily full of shit and / or playing for time.

* or ‘braai‘, which is an acronym for ‘Incinerate Various Cuts of Meat on an Open Fire While Drinking Your Brain Into Extinction’**

** Okay, so it’s not a particularly good acronym.


24 thoughts on “The apple and the tree

  1. There you go making fun of that venerable South African institution, the braai, whereas you don’t realise that the incinceration you refer to is a subtle smoking effect in comparison to the really incompetent BBQing they do over here.

    Ag sies, man!


  2. I guess I’m the only person who feels major guilt at despising well-meaning annoying muppets. I have a number of aquaintances who bug the shit out of me, every time I see them, but cant bring myself to make my dislike clear – unlike my boyfriend who is effeciently heartless about doing just that. Sometimes I give him trouble about being rude. Most of the time, I’m jealous of his confidence. know what i mean?


  3. But how was the food? (I have not had breakfast yet so I am famished … smoked something today, pancakes maybe?) Did the trio corner U into conversation?

    Hungry smooch,
    The Tart
    ; )


  4. Oh boy, which is worse going to a braai and bumping into a pec squeezing nipple rubbing self absorbed freak, or having a hunch that a certain someone you really fancy will be there only for that person to show up with your arch enemy perched on his arm like a great big skwaking parrot. I dodge the shrinks – that’s for sure….


  5. gah, it’s even worse when you are related to said moron and are required to spend regular time grinning and bearing their company for the sake of the family. Even worse when they move in with you for a year.

    I’m not scarred. Not at all. twitch


  6. I have more questions about the commenters than about your post! I, too, was at the Canadian equivalent of such on Saturday but my quick wits kept me away from those who might spoil my fun. I do avoidance workshops. Care to sign up?


  7. Nomad: That’s funny, I would have thought that with so many Safricans in the UK, the braai would be second nature by now.

    Kate: Where possible, I prefer to avoid the people I can’t stand to open displays of dislike. Sort of kills two birds with one stone.

    Jocelyn: The guy in charge of the cooking was not willing to accept suggestions, so the food was extra-extra-crispy. The trio didn’t so much corner me into conversation as conduct an interrogation. I hope breakfast was good.

    Spookie: Tough call. Fortunately, my arch enemies try to avoid me as much as I try to avoid my braai buddy, so I don’t really have to deal with scenario #2.

    moonflake: A year? My deepest sympathies. Tell you what, if you end up murdering said individual, you can stay in my spare room until the heat dies down.

    anne: A South Park party.

    andrea: Save yourself. It’s too late for me.

    Ol’ Hoss: Always. But sometimes incoherent sobbing is the better way to go.


  8. thanks for the offer, kyknoord. thankfully she moved out, and back in with our mother. Now i only have to see her on sundays (when we go round for a braai… haha). And there are always witnesses….


  9. I think I was at a similar function recently. 🙂 Regarding the note about the psychiatrist asking about a person’s mother, I think I am in deep, deep trouble!


  10. These tests of endurance are life’s way of finding out who the really good actors are…

    and was the psychiatrist interested in going out with the mother in question – seeing as they expect all their clients to fall in love with them but then have a code of conduct that makes it wrong to do anything about it they must have a hard time meeting potential partners…


  11. Hopefully Blogger will allow me to comment today..aha..
    Under those circumstances I would have allowed the drinking your brain into extinction clause to KYK in and quickly escalated the situation into one of utter disrepair (ie from charming to tedious) so good for you for trying.
    Shrinks are always looking up our Freudian Slips for their own self amusement. Cross your legs , it drives them CRAZY!.


  12. moonflake: That must have been quite a relief – well, maybe not for your mother.

    Katt: I don’t think your mother could be anywhere near as disturbingly disturbed as this guy’s mother.

    Caroline: That’s probably just as well.

    homo escapeons: One tiny problem – I don’t drink, so I have to wait for everyone else to get shitfaced before I can make good my escape.

    angel: See above. I think I might have to rethink the booze-free policy.


  13. A braai is the ultimate – my husband even braai’s in the snow!!! I am lost without pap n wors (and I don’t mean our sex life).
    Annoying people are a real treat – they give us something to write about!


  14. Unfortunately I tend to be the idiot that most people try to avoid. So much so that my enemies have bought a shirt for me that says: “Instant Idiot- Just Add Alcohol”- which was kind of touching really. I’m amazed at the lengths that some people will go to to avoid having a conversation with Yours Truly. The best effort would have to be Larry who actually jumped over the railings of a boat and into shark-infested waters just in order to not hear a tale about my efforts at cooking lasagna.


  15. Tammy: I’m never going to look at pap en wors in the same way again.

    Fatman: I’ve always wondered how many sharks are required for waters to be officially classified as ‘infested’.

    LiVEwiRe: Sit up straight! Good posture is so important.

    whatalotoffun: That’s enough to push anyone over the edge. We’re going to have to start calling you Smokey Celeste from now on.

    Peas: Maybe I should start my own cult.

    broadzilla: There goes the neighbourhood.


  16. May I use the term “braai” in honour of you, Mr Kyknoord, in future? I had understood it was a SA anacronism for Burnt – Ridiculously – Alcohol Always ‘ilps!


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