And the Lunatic is in the Room . . .

Marching to a different drummer & the sounds of madness

I’m convinced that I’m weird. I can always hear a different tune no matter what’s playing on the stereo, radio or tannoy. I’m very apt to march to a different drummer than the regular beatniks of day-to-day life. Lastly, I happen to think too, in alternative voices. Yes, characters who I’ve never met, engage in conversations inside my head.

Go on, be honest. The PC Police aren’t listening and I’m so far past being offended I’ve forgotten how. So, you CAN say it . . .

“You’re freaking nuts!”

Okay . . . That’s a bit harsh. I’m just a little weird. What’s so wrong with that? In the army I was tormented for being out of step. For writing fiction in letters to imaginary girlfriends. Well, real girls, just not my girlfriend per se, just in my imagination. I paid a price for it mind you. And it wasn’t value for money, I can tell you! After all, it’s not as if I was there out of some perverse sense of duty. I was there because the alternative was prison. Unthinkable. Just like the Army. What we call Hobson’s Choice, where you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Anyhow, I saw no real harm in embellishing my account of the drudge that is army life. After all, surely we were entitled to at least one fringe benefit in return for our indentured servitude. Really, force a teenager out of his parental home, fuck him around unmercifully at the hands of psychopathic sadists, and put him in Mortal Danger. Just for starters! And then; pay him R2.00 per day and expect normal behaviour from him? Who are the weirdos in that little scenario?

This is the life, for the foreseeable future; until November 10th at least, instead of prison. I was beginning to doubt my sanity. But there was more to come.

First thing I got told by some geezer with an insignia of rank on his arm was; “You’re from Cape Town! I know all about you! Smoking drugs and taking dagga! Just try your kak here and see what happens! I dare you!”

Well, did I take that as hot air? As a challenge perhaps? What to do? No too much as it turned out. Remember that fear I mentioned? Well it came home to roost and turned my bowels to jelly and me into a survivor. I didn’t care that some of the guys called me a chickenshit and many things worse than that. My mind was made up. I was going to apply for one of the cushy clerical jobs on the base and I was going to make myself indispensable to whichever PF (permanent force member) I got to work for. It didn’t matter what I had to do to get it, I was determined that I was not going to be sent to the Border where I stood a greater chance of being killed or maimed. It was the South West Africa border with Angola where all the unpleasantness, shooting, land-mining and the rest was taking place. And I wanted no part of the action.

Getting killed or maimed in a senseless conflict on foreign soil appealed to me about as much as being gang-raped in prison. I did mention Hobson’s choice, didn’t I?

The army was not my alma mater & I hated every minute of it.


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