In my line of work, extraordinary events and people become ordinary.
As journalists, we chronicle triumphs, tragedies, ecstatic people, broken people, heroes, victims and scumbags; we celebrate judicial precedents and expose travesties of justice, we strive to highlight the beauty of humour and irony, also the bitter underbellies of bias and depravity.
Just yesterday, local reporters chased a hyena that escaped from Joburg Zoo, traced the alleged mastermind of the Nairobi mall massacre to a halaal pie factory in Lenasia, and feted former Bok coach Jake White’s return to South African rugby.
All in a day’s work.
In this strange realm where exception is the norm, where emotions are heightened as a rule, it’s exhilarating to still be moved by the daily grind; to meet story subjects who touch you deeply, to feel heartbroken while covering some tragic twist of fate.
Occasionally one is also blown away by spectacular levels of sheer stupidity.
Yesterday offered a perfect example of the latter.
One of Cape Town’s regional newspapers carried a front-page story on a man who injured himself after a two and a half day braai marathon took its toll.
The man’s ankle gave way after 67 hours of consecutive wors flipping at a sports complex in Parow, that brandy swigging bastion of sunshine and Chevrolet in the city’s northern suburbs.
The man broke the Guinness World Record for consecutive braaing (which was set at 62 hours and 6 minutes) and continued for another five hours, until he was forced to surrender his tongs when his body collapsed.
His mother must be proud! Or not.
Ag no man, please.
I don’t care to enter the debate on how South Africa’s heritage transcends meat sizzling away over braai coals. Of course it does.
But seriously now, all these sausage-swinging self-styled “braaimeisters” going to obscene lengths to outdo one another? Each one with a more ostentatious publicity plan than the next?
“Oh look. My braai is bigger than yours!” Whatever, man.
Just the other day I received a press release from the Johannesburg Good Food & Wine Show on a “braai-off” to determine South Africa’s team for an international barbeque tournament in Las Vegas next month.
South Africa’s national braai side will be captained by guys who refer to themselves as “Borries” and “BraaiBoy”. BraaiBoy claims that he’s been fanning braai fires daily since April 17 2009. Borries quite evidently took the mirth to his girth.
A brief internet search reveal that they are prone to gnawing at packages of raw sausage and like to extend their tongues for photographs. Nee sies man.
I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade. But can we braai with dignity, please?
A wise friend and braai enthusiast once said: “Don’t force your wors”. Ja, nê.
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