The Birthday Baboon

Three days ago I handed in my masters thesis and, now that I have my life back, I decided that one of the steps towards reintegration into normal life should be writing a blog post or two. Technically what follows is not a completely new post, merely the completion of a draft that I started on one of the rare occasions that I had spare brain-space over the last 2 years.

A while ago I was thinking about those big yearly events that mark our passage through another 365 days of life. All of them, as well as being important for families, are significant for businesses. Shops thrive at Christmas, around Valentine’s day and during Easter. Eggs, bunnies, hearts, cards and wrapping paper go flying off the shelves at a breathtaking pace.

An important aspect of each of these holidays is the branding. Christmas has Santa and his elves, Easter has the bunny, Valentine’s day has Cupid. Somewhat bizarrely, I think, there is no mythical character for birthdays. Surely this is a missed opportunity – an opportunity that I plan on benefiting from.Today I propose to you a mythical mascot for Birthdays: the Birthday Baboon. Now before you scoff and mock this admittedly odd idea you should let me explain: then you will marvel and wonder at my innovative brilliance…or not.

The Birthday Baboon delivers gifts to children around the world. He enters the house at night and poops out presents all over the house from his magical pink backside. In order to best benefit from this benevolent beast wrapping paper that ressembles poop will be sold so that on your birthday morning you can search the house for Baboon faeces. Parents will be able to say to their kids “If you want the baboon to poop all over the house you’d better be a good boy / girl!” If the rowdy ragamuffins fail to heed his warning then the parents can purchase ‘child-friendly’ baboon poop from their nearest retailer and strategically place it around the house.

Birthday cards will no longer have the banal “Happy Birthday” message on the inside. Instead you will read the much better “May the Birthday Baboon poop on your bed!” After a while it will become common for friends and family to wish one another similarly-worded blessings.

Coinciding with the launch of the products will be a children’s cartoon series that follows our beloved baboon travelling the world pooping presents from his pink posterior in the homes of the poor and marginalised – driving home the point that he’s benevolent and jolly. The theme tune of this show will become the official birthday song. Included below are some of the lyrics (sung to the tune of the regular ‘happy birthday’ song ) :

May the Baboon poop for you
Mat the Baboon poop for you
May the Baboon poop for …
May the Baboon poop for you.

May he poop on your floor
And take a dump on your bed
And fill your shoes with his faeces
May the Baboon poop for you!

Obviously there will be several similar verses, I haven’t even used the word ‘excrement’ yet.

Do you think that I’m overlooking another potentially lucrative holiday character?

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Dusk – The Movie

I was daydreaming during class the other day whilst my students were busy and I had an idea for a movie that was so coffee-percolatingly brilliant that I immediately came to the conclusion that I was wasting my time as a teacher and that I should make myself some coffee.

“But Luke,” you ask so reasonably, “don’t you think that you’re getting a little carried away?” Carried away? Carried away?! Perhaps I should explain my idea to you; then you would gush “Oh my! Luke! Your story makes Harry Potter look like an infant’s nonsensical crayon scribblings, and it kicks the butt of Eragon, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Twilight and Game of Thrones without even trying!” And I would say “Yes. Yes it does.” The idea is so good I’ve heard that Israel and Palestine have decided to combine and create a new country called ‘Israestine’, based purely on the vibes of awesomeness that have been emanating from Cape Town since that fateful day in the classroom.

I’m expecting Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, President Jacob Zuma and President Barack Obama to call by the end of the day.

I’m caught in two minds about whether or not I should share my idea with you, because I’m not sure your body will be able to handle the pure amazingness of it. If you are pregnant, suffer from epilepsy or have a nervous disposition you should probably look away now.

The book/movie will be a love story, but also a thriller and a horror, because it’s a love story between a teenage girl and a, wait for it…zombie. There. I did it. I told you. Now your brain just exploded.

Let me explain further, thereby rupturing your spleen. It will be a love story because the girl will be like, “OMG! My hot mysterious classmate from school is, like, totally a zombie!” It will be a thriller because there will be a psycho zombie-killer hunting the zombie and the girl. It will be a horror because at the end there will be a total zombie apocalypse like in Dawn of the Dead.

However, it won’t just be the plot that’s good; the dialogue will be phenomenal! Below I’ve decided to spoil you with a selection of some of the best lines:

Quote 1

Girl: Oh Zombie Boy! We’re just 2 star-crossed lovers with the world against us! Do you think we’re gonna make it?

Zombie Boy: Uuurgh….[gurgle]…braaaains.

 Quote 2

Girl’s Father: You can’t see her anymore, we don’t want any of your kind around here!

Zombie Boy: Braaaaiiiiinnnnsss.

Girl’s Father: Aaaaarrrgghhh! My spleen!

Girl’s [now zombie] Father: Braaaaaaiiiiins.

Quote 3

Girl [has just become a zombie so she can eat brains with her boy forever]: Braaaiiins?

Zombie Boy: Braaaaiiins!

I really should apologise to you now because the rest of your life is going to be downhill from here.

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The Open Sandwich Ordeal

Recently my wife and I went to one of our favourite lunch spots; a place called Knead. They’re known for their pizzas, good home-made ginger beer and, most importantly, their coffee is quite tasty.

It was the end of the school term so I was starting to relax and unwind and, fatally, I allowed this to diminish my usual culinary vigilance. I was merrily meandering through the various options on the menu when my brain said to me “Hey, they do open sandwiches here. You haven’t had one of those in a while!” So I chose an over-enthusiastically described open sandwich which claimed would melt my brain with its tantalising tastes and take me to a new realm of deliciousness. Damn brain.

When my order arrived I immediately regretted my decision. Now my brain reminded me why I haven’t ordered an open sandwich in a while; they make me feel like a monkey that’s expected to write the complete works of Shakespeare on Windows Vista.

So whilst my wonderful wife tucked in to her open sandwich with glee and surgeon-like skill, I was busy staring at my quite beautiful meal and puzzling over how to eat it. Should I adopt the Gung-Ho approach and attack the middle? Do I employ the Caveman technique and use my hands? Or do I try not to embarrass my wife and copy her?

I decided on the latter and, armed with a fork and a blunt knife, I diligently copied Claire. What resulted was less meal and more war of attrition. I have never concentrated that hard whilst eating a meal before. It felt like I was back in school writing an impossible exam that the person sitting next to me had already finished. This obviously meant that I didn’t really enjoy the meal.

I only have two categories that I put a meal into. Either you eat it with your hands or you eat it with a knife and fork. For example, burgers and sandwiches are hand-food, pasta is cutlery-food but an open sandwich completely messes up my system, neither approach is really suitable but you have to choose one.

It was my wife who first introduced me to open sandwiches one day shortly after our wedding day when we were making ourselves some lunch. I had gone for a pretty regular sandwich and had almost finished eating it by the time Claire finally sat down with her exquisite-looking creation. I was a little confused and asked her why she was only having half a sandwich. She graciously told me that it was not, in fact, a half sandwich, it was an open sandwich and I was a philistine for not knowing this. After consulting my dictionary I was slightly offended but decided that, since I am a Modern Man, I could easily de-philistine myself and enjoy an open sandwich too. I was wrong.

Fortunately, last week I was able to defeat my flat foe, but my confidence took a bit of a knock so I soothed it with a nice coffee, which does not require much concentration. While I was waiting for the caffeine to hit my bloodstream I had an epiphany about open-sandwiches; they are for girls.

Let me explain my thinking before you accuse me of being an open-sandwichist. Open sandwiches are pretty sandwiches. They are not functional. You don’t order one simply because it tastes nice, you order it because it looks beautiful. Generally, women are into pretty things more than men. Men are quite functional: we just want a delicious, easy to eat meal and aren’t too bothered by how it looks, which is why we don’t mind eating at pubs.

Men, if you are reading this I advise you to steer clear of open sandwiches. Women, if you have a man and you don’t hate him then encourage him to go for the pizza if he’s ever tempted by one of these confusing culinary creations.


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What school kids say and what they mean

It’s been a few months since I last posted but I finally got around to making  note of my latest idea. Here it is:

What School kids say and what they mean

Today a student of mine used one of these phrases on me and I decided that it would be therapeutic to air my grievances in the most passive-aggressive way possible: on the internet. Then I thought better of it and decided to make a list of the most common dual-meaning phrases that I’ve come across as a High School teacher. Obviously, some of these are only used by some of my not-so-academically-minded learners and I’m fortunate enough to teach a lot of brilliant teenagers. However, I’m sure that there are a few that you remember using when you were at High School too…

  1. “My Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister/Aunt/Uncle/Dog/Google Translate helped me with the project a bit” = “They did the entire thing whilst I played FIFA 2012 on my Xbox/PS3/phone.”
  2. (During exams and study times) “Sir, can I go to the toilet please?” = “I’m bored and want to draw a penis on the wall of the bathroom stall.”
  3. “But sir, I slid the paper that I wrote my lines on under your door!” = “Ha! I never even thought about doing those lines. I spent four hours last night playing drawing pictures of a unicorn/dragon hybrid that I called a ‘Dragnicorn’ and decided this morning that this would be a foolproof lie. This is because I think that you are stupid and therefore incapable of breaking through my intricate web of deceit that would totally fool Batman, Spiderman and Superman.”
  4. Teacher: Did you study for today’s test?                                                                      Student: Erm, Yes ? = “Yes… for five minutes before the lesson / Yes… for 15 minutes last night whilst also watching [Insert reality show here].”
  5. Student: (After the teacher has just painstakingly explained the next activity) What are we doing sir? = “I am a moron. Please ignore me/publicly ridicule me/chase me from the school with a pitchfork and flaming torch.”
  6. “Sir, someone threw a piece of eraser/paper/a pen at me!” = “Sir, someone just threw it back at me and I don’t like it.’
  7. “Sir! Pick him/her!” = “For the love of God please don’t pick me. I only learned to tie my shoelaces last week and I wasn’t listening in the first place.” (see point 5)
  8. “I don’t know” = “I’m too lazy to try and understand so please spoon-feed me so that I never have to use my own brain and actually learn something”
  9. Teacher: Why haven’t you started yet?                                                                          School Kid: I’m thinking. = “I’m daydreaming  about Megan Fox / being serenaded by Justin Bieber.”
  10. “Can we have a free lesson sir? / How come we always work in your lessons Sir? / I’m tired sir” = “Life is about doing what you want and I don’t feel like working.  I’m going to be successful despite a complete lack of discipline, self-control and work-ethic. Life will have the privilege of joyfully presenting itself to me on a silver platter!”



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Old Year’s Resolutions

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions for this year. Not one. Nada. Aucunes. “But Luke!” I hear you gasp, “Don’t you know that you must make a New Year’s resolution in order to appease the god of New-Yearness?! At least make one, preferably involving fluffy creatures or self-improvement, otherwise he’ll climb down your chimney every night and  curse you to a year’s worth of instant coffee and stale corn flakes before carefully putting holes in your socks and farting on your crockery!”

That may be, dear reader, but I am already a step ahead of you and your imaginary Santa/student hybrid deity: I already have holes in my socks and I am presently halfway through the side-plates…

I am not completely against New Year’s resolutions; I just have decided that a New Year’s resolution is best not made when one is still coming down from the binge-fest-sugar-high that is the Christmas period. In such a state we mustn’t be surprised that we make such overly-optimistic statements such as “I’m going to invent an alternative to petrol by using pixie dust, unicorn hoof-clippings and Tyrannosaurus-Rex!” or “I’m going to eat healthier by eating nothing but fruit, vegetables and low GI bread even though I haven’t gone a day without meat since before I started teething!”. These kind of wild and borderline-delusional oaths will soon fall flat once the reality of normal life hits us. I give this type of resolution a 1 month life-span before you either give up or end up munching dried prunes in a car that, curiously, you never need to top up with petrol…

This means that right about now you are feeling guilty about having broken some, if not all, of your resolutions. It’s not the end of the world, but you probably feel a little disappointed with yourself.

But there is hope! You can redeem your resolutions! I decided to make some New Year’s resolutions this week that are not face-meltingly unrealistic, and I’ve decided to share mine with you out of the goodness of my own heart. However, should you plagiarise (which you will want to do as soon as you read them because they are coffee-percolatingly good) please reference me:

1) Get fit and have a six pack that I can open beer bottles with.

2) Buy new socks.

3) Eat healthier (you know, vegetables and stuff).

4) Lose weight (to lose the christmas belly).

5) Get new crockery.


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I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Sometimes. Sort of.

In fact I have come up with a name for this new condition: Temporary Ticket-Induced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (TeTIObCoD). It is a condition that strikes whenever you buy a ticket with a seat number on it. For me it strikes every time I go to the cinema. Every. Time. Even when I obsess about not doing it before I purchase the ticket, I do it.

The typical scenario goes like this for me:

  1. Arrive at cinema as a normal person with wife and friends, (friends optional).
  2. Skip the queue and go to the self-service terminal that people over the age of 30 think is powered by voodoo and will therefore eat their souls.
  3. Feel smug about beating the queue.
  4. Check seat number.
  5. When leaving the ticket machine check seat number again.
  6. Start to feel a bit retarded about forgetting your ticket number again and having to check it so soon.
  7. Check seat number again before giving your ticket to the ticket-checker-person because obviously it might change whilst in their possession for the ticket-tearing ritual that they perform.
  8. Check once more when you get your ticket stub back because you can’t trust those squinty-eyed, unshaven, mumbling ticket-checker-people.
  9. Wander to the correct screen feeling like a full-blown retard who is incapable of remembering a seat number.
  10. in the last patch of good light before walking through the doors check seat number again.
  11. Sit in the wrong seat.
  12. Check ticket stub again and move to the correct seat.
  13. Forget about your retardedness as soon as the second movie trailer has finished.
  14. Watch the movie and leave with popcorn pieces on your lap feeling warm and fuzzy/entertained/terrified/thoughtful/like slitting your wrists depending on what movie you’ve just seen.
  15. Repeat next time you watch a movie.

I also do this with plane tickets.

I have found that the best way of curing TeTIObCoD is to give my ticket to my wife. That way I’m less crazy and I get to watch her go through it. Mwahahaha!


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New Year Conspiracy

Apparently 2012 has arrived. When my wife first told me this ‘fact’ I was a little skeptical and quietly told myself that she must have finally lost control of her brain and was now just talking nonsense. However, others started saying the same thing and there was even mention of it in the newspapers. So either everyone had gone crazy due to high levels of calcium in the drinking water or I was wrong. Obviously I went for the first option because I am never wrong.

So I did what any normal person would do and started stocking up on Red Bull and tins of fruit cocktail, turning our garage into a bunker in which we could shield ourselves from the crazies outside (I say ‘we’ because my wife would join me [I’m pretty sure that I could cure her with some tin foil, needles and lots of lentils as I saw something similar in the A-Team once I think]).

Unfortunately, my activities had not gone unnoticed and Claire soon discovered my plans and confronted me.
The conversation went something like this:

Claire: Luke, why are you building a pillow-fort in our garage?

Luke: Shmeneshmushdush (I was mumbling nonsense in an attempt to distract her whilst       I edged toward her with the tin-foil and lentils).

Claire: Why are you shaking? Are those cans of Red Bull on the floor? Don’t you remember what happened the last time you drank it?

And then I either blanked out or my memory for that time was erased.

After being discharged from the hospital Claire patiently showed me the calendar app on my phone and explained that it was December, and that at the end of December it is January and the start of a New Year. I decided to write off this New Year thing as a glitch
in the Matrix or that someone had spiked my water with calcium and that, for the safety of both my wife and myself, I’d go along with it.

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