Thursday 28 October 2010

Is the apology you make to someone who has already apologised to you worth anything?

I am a keen follower of the Suburban Bushwacker and as a result, so is my eleven year old son, Dominic. In case you are unfamiliar with SBW’s blog, he talks all about the things boys love and are now, sadly, being deprived of as the nanny state increasingly wraps our offspring in cotton wool turning blind eyes to those who get up to the sometimes lethal mischief no longer restrained by a policeman’s friendly slap round hitherto unresponsive ears.

Having just mentioned the rot in our society one might be surprised that I encourage Dominic to read a blog all about guns, knives and killing fluffy little creatures. But SBW’s blog is so much more than that. In his casually eloquent and self effacing way, SBW enthuses about the sustainable exploitation of nature’s resources, engendering a respect for the countryside and its denizens and, by example, teaching us all how to behave responsibly.

I was appalled, then, when Dominic having downloaded a video SBW had posted, came to me with an ever more alarming set of questions, the reasons for which I could only fathom by watching the video, together with him and accompanied by an increasingly acute sense of discomfort.

Now most of us know that the man lampooned in the video happens to be a complete fop, one of these television survivalists with even less military experience than George Bush, who manages to cope with the deadly environments in which he and his couple of hundred strong support crew find themselves when they step out of their comfortable hotel in the morning. Observed in that light, the video has merit, even if, as one of SBW’s readers commented, it provokes an involuntary gagging response. If you are Bulemic, this video is so much more refined, in the most relative of senses, than a tonsil tickling index finger.

Considering that this had been posted by the Lord Baden-Powell of bloggers, the author of the modern Boy’s Own Journal; healthy and stimulating, nay, essential reading for all men, young and old, this was for any of us from the old school, just as shocking as Julie Andrews flashing her boobs in that awful film.

I had to dash off a comment.

On his blog, SBW encourages his readers to respond, going so far as to reassure them that they are welcome to disagree and that life would be too boring if we all agreed with each other. I never expected my comment to get past his moderation let alone receive a reply from him in return expressing regret for apparently having let me down. He did no such thing of course, it is his blog after all. He also made a fair admission that he had never considered anyone under thirty reading his blog and, by implication, be exposed to the sight of a man in congress with a fallen log (those of you reading this who have still not swung over to SBW’s post should do so at your earliest convenience or this article will make no sense whatsoever).

Dominic is an avid fan of SBW’s blog, and Rasch’s too, and I know he prints off some of the articles to show his friends, so there are rather more readers under thirty keen on SBW’s blog than he imagines, and I think that's a good thing.

Because of SBW, I had to get Dominic a Smith and Wesson hunting knife The knives SBW reviewed were not available here but Dominic doesn’t mind. The one I got him holds a good edge, easily slicing his biltong and it has S&W engraved on it, which is close enough, so I have convinced him it is an SBW Special.

Because of Rasch, I have had to promise Dominic that next year we will do a Spiral Horns Safari in South Africa. Not cheap at the best of times. Bleeding extortionate when you factor in the cost of a trip for Marcia to Canada to visit her brother, which was the only deal I could cut to ensure the Safari was boys only (c’mon guys, who takes cake to a party?).

Because of Amish Tom, and through his rather overwhelming generosity, a Genesis Reflex bow and broadheads are on the way to Angola so very soon Dominic will be able to slot the feral truffle hunters destroying my gardens.

All thanks to chance encounters in the ether.

The blog world is more influential than people might imagine. By the time I was Dominic’s age, I had lived in several different countries throughout Europe and even Libya where my brother happened to be born. US Immigration gave him so much of that 'Good 'ol 'Merican hospitality' every time he visited that he voluntarily transferred regions to, yes, you guessed it, the Middle East.

Granted, Dominic and now Alexander can watch National Geographic and the Travel channels but the musings of the disparate blog community give a much more personal insight to other cultures; the thoughts, feelings and motivations of people who, quite frankly, sound so affable in the written word Dominic would like to meet a select few. That latter point is to me, the mark of all good blogs. If the authors can engender enough empathy that the reader really would like to meet them, they can only be good. Besides, it improves the boy’s English and is a damn sight cheaper than using DHL to ship books out to Angola from Amazon UK.

Drifting away from this very veiled apology, I have to refer to yet another comment on SBW’s infamous video post, this one made by Albert Rasch.

Rasch, the archetype mountain man and a damn sight more convincing than Bear Grylls, expressed gratitude in his comment for being safely tucked away in Afghanistan. I am assuming he was referring to the video and not my somewhat intemperate remarks but just in case he had risen in defence of SBW, he probably is safer in Afghanistan after all and I might join him to enjoy similar levels of security. Marcia caught the maid stealing (I had long suspected as much but, as the reader will learn, it does not pay to argue with Marcia). Not unreasonably, she chased the maid off.

This morning the ex maid reappeared and with an audacity so brazen it left the crew wide eyed and slack jawed, demanded the rest of her remaining month’s salary. Now the maid is a big woman, easily able to straight lift a 25 litre water container from the ground and onto her head with one pull. I tried that once and was only able to struggle the bucket up to my midriff giving boots and trousers a good soaking in the process. As well as successfully lifting large quantities of water, the maid was also probably guilty of lifting the equivalent of several month's salary if the evidence of my frequently denuded wallet and Marcia’s hopelessly unsecret envelope were anything to go by. Worse still, she had cleverly engineered resultant enquiries so that suspicion fell alternately on Christina or Dominic, something I could never accept and I developed a healthy loathing for the woman as a result. I couldn’t argue with Marcia’s contention that she was good with Alex, though, so the summary execution I favoured was repeatedly stayed. 'Auntie' Madu would never steal and that was that.

Now blessed with irrefutable evidence to the contrary (despite what many of you irreverent bastards say and until this morning I included myself, there is a God), Marcia told the maid, by now howling like a fishwife, to eff off. In Portuguese, naturally.

It sounded so much more satisfying in Portuguese. The F word has been so abused that even vulgar, failed footballers reduced to failing celebrity chefs get their own prime time slot, slap in the middle of children’s viewing hours, just for its over use.

‘Vai-ti Fuder’, (Go Fuck Yourself). Miles better. It allows two opportunities rather than just the one afforded by ‘fuck off’ to spit your bottom lip out from under your upper teeth for extra menacing emphasis. Try it in front of a mirror at home, which one sprays more venom?

It obviously plugged the maid into the mains because in a flash she was swinging a meaty fist backed by a hundred or so Kilos of muscle toned by years of hard labour towards a face supported by a slender fraction of that weight. Both I and the driver, little more than amused observers ‘til then, launched forward, if only to catch Marcia on her way down and restrain the maid when, in the blink of an eye, Marcia ducked the assault and returned with an uppercut that snapped the maid’s screaming gob shut with a sickening clatter of teeth, a blow so unexpected and vicious the awe it inspired was only surpassed by its effectiveness. I couldn’t have been more surprised if I had just witnessed Amir Khan drop Wladimir Klitschko with the first punch of the bout.

Marcia was always terribly upset with me if I got into a fight so I was amused, no cackling with glee when she tried all the same excuses on me that I had used on her. By the time she got to the term, ‘unforgivable lack of respect’, I was roaring with laughter. Those of us who are not psychopaths have all suffered from post pugilistic remorse as the red mist clears, especially when cleaning someone else’s blood off a favorite shirt, so I could easily recognize the same emotion when I saw it.

Driver Jorge and I helped a very subdued maid to her feet and suggested it might be best if she left. I could not understand exactly what she was trying to say, lockjaw evidently having set in but I think she means to come back with her husband in the morning.

Having seen Marcia in action, I don’t rate his chances but, sadly in a way, I don’t think things will pan out like that. Jorge is very loyal, especially to Marcia so I wasn’t all that surprised to catch him taking the heavy jack handle out from under the seat of the truck this evening and position it within easy reach on the veranda.

All this does beg the question though, which is worse for an impressionable young lad? SBW’s video, or the sight of his Dad’s girlfriend decking the thief who framed him…

Having considered this carefully, I think the latter will leave the most indelible and, let's face it, comforting impression.


  1. do you realise I am the ONLY person to undersnd iyour comment!!!
    bug breaths!!

  2. Figured as much.

    U and I, keyboard neighbours

    (get it?)

  3. SBW! You are alive!!!

    When a poster as prolific as yourself suddenly drops off the radar, naturaly we worry.

    The rendering is complete so in a few days I can start the final touches.

    I cannot afford to take a holiday in Europe, both for financial reasons and because of the restaurant opening so I am determined that we can enjoy Christmas around the pool.

    Seems that the neighbourhood kids are equally keen 'cos they keep appearing in the garden asking if there is anything they can do, presumably to hurry the process along.

  4. Is there anything I can do to hurry the process along...?;)

    Hey Tom:) you do know we're maki g our way there soon right...that pool gonna be ready for us?

    By the sound (look) of these posts, you've had quite an eventful year haha. Tell tia marcia I always knew she was hardcore lmao!

    Hope you're all well:)

  5. I've read enough. You write extremely well. An occasional misplaced apostrophe. Doesn't make you a nice person you know...

  6. Anonymous,

    I am glad you like the writing style but am a bit bemused about exactly what doesn't make me a nice person? A few misplaced apostophes or is it something else?

    In the meantime, I have spotted one errant bit of punctuation but am still looking for more (your choice of word 'few' implying multiple errors). I would be grateful if you could help me out, I was always lousy at English.

    Although not entirely clear what it was I said or indicated of my personality that leads you to conclude I am a bad person, I respect your right to say so and am glad you took the time to comment.

    You say that you have read enough, I do hope you will find the energy to read more and comment with as much refreshing honesty.


Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.