May 28, 2009


Friends. You gotta have ‘em.

I have a few, not many, but I know the ones I have are that special breed of person that’ll be there for me at the drop of a hat… if they can hear the hat fall and get a flight from moerengone where they might be at the time, that is. Thanks guys.

As friends do, we’re there with advice, support, a shoulder to cry on. We too appreciate the advice and support we get. It’s a give and take thing.

I gave a while back. A very good friend got married not so long ago and I chose to bestow onto him a little gem of wisdom I gained from being the “married for ages best friend”. Whether he wanted it or not, it was imperative that my innocent friend had the benefit of my worldly wisdom. I knew he would do the same for me one day – and I wasn’t disappointed. This letter then is about how he, let’s call him Nesbit (just because I recently got my poetic license), repaid my unselfish gesture.

Nesbit has been a true friend for years in every sense of the word – he’s been a better friend than I have been to him. Not that I didn’t try, but when your wife knows judo and says you’re spending time with her, who’s going to argue?

One thing I remember clearly from the first time we met, was how Nesbit steadfastly believed that his perfect mate was out there in the wide open world, roaming the earth aimlessly – waiting for the precise, perfect moment when their paths would cross. I tried the same, but there were so many others trying to cross paths that I got caught up in the confusion…
Nesbit traveled the world trying to find her – she was out there, he knew it, and he was not going to leave any stone unturned till he found her. And he was faithful to her in a way that I have never seen a man be faithful to a woman he’d never met before. It was inspiring… if I could I’d probably aspire to it… wouldn’t last a week.

He found her.

Amazing as it may sound, Nesbit persevered and was blessed with his perfect mate… we’ll call her Rowina (jeez, this license thing works, worth every penny!). And we love her.

I don’t know what it was, but I believe that after all that persevering Nesbit & Rowina knew that the proverbial knot was inevitable. And being the man of the world I am, I offered this little gem to him on the eve of his impending nuptials – I knew he needed it.

“Nesbit my longtime friend, on your wedding night when you arrive at your hotel after it’s all been said and done, and you’re eventually alone with her in the sanctity of marriage, there is a very important thing you have to remember on this holiest of holy nights. Something that’ll serve you for a lifetime to come, because if you screw this up this night, you’ll be screwed for life – and not in a good way.
When alone in your room, do the husbandly thing: make her feel comfortable and at ease. Draw her a warm bath – lots of bubbles. She may want a few minutes alone in the room to freshen up – give her the space she needs: focus on the bath and the bubbles.
And then dude, while she’s freshening up in the room, wip off those boxers, get in the tub, and make sure you don’t sit on the plug. Because if you sit on the plug this night, you’ll be sitting on the plug every night for the rest of your life!”

Sound advice I believe. And it’ll serve Nesbit even better if he ensures Rowina doesn’t read this letter!

Now think back – if you’re thinking about Creation, you’ve gone too far – just to the beginning of this letter: it’s still about the giving and taking thing (although I must admit even I almost got lost, what with all the persevering and criss-crossing of paths and stuff). I gave; Nesbit took (I hope)…

Well, many moons passed and Nesbit & Rowina were blessed with a baby.

And of course, we too were blessed with the wee man not too long ago. He’s doing very well thank you very much – had his first piece of biltong just the other day (yes, that revolting piece of dried meat you foreigners just can’t get your minds around – absolutely loves it). At night I put my ear to him when he sleeps and I’m sure I can actually hear him grow! He also loves his porridge mixed with butternut. Feeding him is a bit of a challenge though. Another friend put it well: feeding a baby is almost as easy as trying to ladle porridge into a suspended and spinning orange with a tennis racket, while standing on one leg with your arm behind your back and the other eye closed. Ronan’s a bit like that – only imagine the orange had four flapping appendages…
It’s true – life changes. I have no more cool t-shirts with logos and stuff. They’re just t-shirts with porridge stains on them.

Anyhoo, after sharing this piece of wonderfully South African news with friend Nesbit, he was happy to reciprocate with advice gained over months of torment and wonder that is a baby. It was short and sweet, to the point, with none of the ambiguous mirth that I may have bestowed upon him given the same opportunity: “Waynne (no, I really have two ‘n’s – nothing poetic about it), whatever you do, wherever you are, when Ronan produces that first nappy… dude, do not be the gentleman. Do not be idle, keep busy and out of sight, and under no circumstance offer to change that nappy.”

He gave; I took. That was it.

I didn’t really think much of it apart from the winter chills getting to him – lack of beer and all that… I’ve changed nappies before you know.

My wife’s a sly fox – she has better friends with superior persuasive powers. When that first nappy arrived she wasn’t even in the house!

Life is filled with experiences – my gosh, that nappy was full of life!

It is incomprehensible that something so foul can emanate from something so sweet. That nappy must’ve weighed almost as much as he did – and it wasn’t wee!

Ronan saw my “excitement” and smiled his little angel smile – he knew he’d done well. Dad looked proud! Bless him – he had a cold, wish I had too. My hands were trying to be everywhere at once, getting the nappy, the wipes, keeping his little feet in the air, my nose wiggling here and there and everywhere (like a champion bloodhound’s) trying to find a pocket of fresh air, clutching to keep his inquisitive little hands away from “that stuff”, fighting off the dog with a leg because he too thought this looked like a fun game – woof, woof – another wipe, head over the shoulder (air in, hold, back to the “business”) – woof, woof, GO AWAY! (air in… damn!) – old nappy, new nappy, old wipe, new wipe, oops….

Here’s another piece of free advice (use it, don’t use it, I don’t care): doesn’t matter how busy you are, never ever forget that you’re forgetting something.

Little angel smiling away at me – gurgle-gargle-goo-goo, weeeeeeeee…..! No, not “weeeeeee, look at me, cute baby watching my dad jump around like a clown”. Weeeeeee, as in all over the front of my t-shirt. It’s not a cool t-shirt anymore. Not at all – the stains have names and it’s starting to smell interesting. Who knows, in about a week I’ll put it on ebay under the modern art section. Woof, Woof…. let go my slipper you stupid dog!

Up to this point, changing nappies was about being a modern man, a metrosexual, an involved dad, mom’s pillar and support…... It’s just become a calling. I’m considering the plight (or flight) of many a successful man: I’m throwing myself into my career…

Nesbit, dear friend, advice like that is like telling me: dude, don’t get onto a landmine. You see Nesbit, getting ON a landmine is not the problem; it’s the getting off that causes the inconvenience.

Mom’s back. Yeah yeah funny ha-ha, whatever judo-girl. I’m off for a beer – yes, in this t-shirt!

Nesbit’s not big on beer… but at least he’s not sitting on the plug tonight!