Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Snail Mail

Boredom is a terrible thing. It takes ordinary, average people and makes them dangerous. I spent most of my adolescence revelling in boredom, mostly because I was short of opportunities. In my days entertainment didn’t come in the form of driving your father’s car and cranking up the music so loud that you’re two decibels from being deaf…or engaging in any form of promiscuity...ah the debauched youth of today. Aside from Karate, there wasn’t much to do which inadvertently led to numerous ahem “activities”, some of which the legality and legitimacy can be disputed.

So when we weren’t walking to the Airport wrapped in our duvets, coffee in hand at 4am in the morning to watch the sun rise by the sitting in the middle of the runway; or swimming in strange uninhabited pools when no one was home; or ordering copious amounts of Pizza to be delivered to that chick we despised on 3rd Avenue; or repeatedly making prank phone calls to another distant relative we weren’t too fond of; or playing hop scotch, engaging in monopoly marathons, movie marathons, ogling and stalking the cute guys; I read a lot, at least two or three books a week. And when I wasn’t reading, I engaged in other more productive forms of entertainment in the form of constructive criticism.

There was a stage in my life where I became quite closely acquainted with the complaints department at MNET and SABC, so much so that we were on a first name basis. I use to call them and make requests or complain about their shitty programming almost daily. When I wasn’t making Telkom rich, I use to write letters:

To whom it may Concern (at the SABC)
(Yeah you, the one who authorises all the programming schedules)
Firstly, thank you for playing my request, “This one’s for the children” by New Kids on the Block. I LOVE them…please play more songs from them in the future ok? Secondly, when is “My So-Called Life” returning to our screens? I can’t wait to see if Angela and Jordan Catalano actually make it…I think he is SOOOO cute, the lucky bitch.
Thirdly, do we really HAVE to watch the news on ALL the channels at the same time? Can’t you re-schedule or something? And what is up with the Devil and Marlena on Days? What shit is that?
PS. Can you play some re-runs of the New Kids on the Block cartoon? Thanx.

To whom it may Concern (at MNET)
Thank you for playing those re-runs of the Looney Tunes…they are so cool. But what the Hell is up with all the sport? Man seriously, you’re killing me. Can’t you make another channel for all that crap? Some of us like good entertainment…like the Torkelsons, now that is one great show. I wish I was Dorothy Jane, she’s pretty. I use to watch Loving, but that Tricia just irritates me, so I’ve quit soapies.
PS. I still like Nick and Soenet in Egoli, what a great couple they make.

My opinions were not exclusive to those in the media or communications industry…on a trip to Cape Town, I went to a very nice Caltex Garage:

Dear Caltex
I must say that I’ve had one of the best experiences visiting one of your branches near Bloemfontein. Five stars for those guys on service and cleanliness. Now if only ALL the Caltex Garages could follow suit, that would be great. Thanks again.

As I got older, my interests varied…

Dear Cadbury
I bought the most delicious whole-nut chocolate from Pick ‘n Pay yesterday. The hazel nuts were roasted to perfection…I think they were slightly crunchier than usual. But man…it was divine. Please roast all your nuts that way, thank you.
A chocolate lover for life.

My most notable and consistent contributions were to Nestlé:

Dear Nestlé
I recently bought an Aero from one of the local shops in Auckland Park and it was all white inside…why is that? Some people tell me it’s because of the heat…well I hope so because I don’t want to be eating vrot (rotten) chocolate.

(Three weeks later I received a voucher for three slabs of Aero chocolate)

But it didn’t end there:

Dear Nestlé
I like most of your products, but that hot chocolate could do with some tweaking…it tastes horrible. Your coffee still rocks though...

Dear Nestlé
So I tried that new instant Cappuccino and well it’s ok, but there’s room for improvement. There’s a slight after-taste you might want to get rid of. Well good luck with that!

I didn't have to wait too long for Nestlé put me on their research panel :D

These days I only write letters when necessary:

Dear E-TV
Ten points for securing the “How I met your mother” series…its fantastic and gives me something to look forward to on an otherwise dreary Sunday night. But I have to say, minus 25 000 points for every 80’s inspired B-rated movie that you have ever screened. As a regular viewer, it’s insulting. I implore you, if I have to watch Anaconda or Streetfighter one more time, or any  other Jean Claude van Damme movie for that matter, I’m going to dig my fucking eyes out and feed them to the birds. I may just report you to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission for visual abuse and you will have to pay for my psychotherapy over the next three years.

Your Monday night schedules are unrivalled. Kudo’s for that. But what the fuck is up with screening all the new series’ after 10pm? That’s my precious internet time when I devote a good hour to YouTube to watch EVERYTHING that you DON’T broadcast. And those pesky hours in the middle? I thought 7pm to 10pm was Prime Time viewing…so enough with the seven variations of “Top Billing”…I like the show, but come on, to watch it three days out of the week...and then to catch the Afrikaans version “Pasella” when I try to switch channels? Is this the kind of entertainment what you beg us to pay TV Licenses for? Then lock me up please, I’d rather be in prison with Wentworth Miller…he’s delicious, kudos for that too.

Dear Oprah
Thank you for highlighting the plight of most Africans with your frequent visits to our country. However, I have to ask, are you out of topics to discuss that you have to turn your talk show into a cheap reality series with the “Give Big” campaign? I must say, I don’t find Poverty or Charity very entertaining and since I’m from your brand of “Africa”, you’ll understand why. I feel these issues should be dealt with on ground level, there’s nothing funny or entertaining about the seriousness of this matter. I also don’t appreciate how you’ve managed to turn “Africa” into one of your commodities, like we are some kind of alien nation that the West can poke and prod to see if we’re human…that we breathe and feel too.
I’ve noticed that throughout your years on television all your shows reflect and coincide with what you’re experiencing in your personal life. There was the self-help phase where every shrink on earth – including Dr. Phil – jumped on the bandwagon to help people “find and be true to themselves” when in reality, it was just therapy for you…so that you could learn to love yourself after years of abuse, torment and abject self-loathing had left you emotionally crippled. 

Then there's the continual "healthy-living" phase where you preach one thing but practice another…every reputable doctor, dietician and physical fitness instructor has made their debut on these shows too. You religiously advocate the adoption of healthy lifestyles…in other words “lose weight or die”…it is all a farce to cover your life-long need to be a size 0. You send out messages that people have to be comfortable in their own skin, but then you applaud them for losing 50 pounds…because being comfortable in your own skin does not mean being fat. You guys wouldn't even have these problems if it wasn't for the American culture of consumerism. Everything in the American way of life has to be "super-sized", and if you can't get what you want for whatever reason, you have to resort to stealing from other nations under various guises like "weapons of mass destruction".

Now lately, after having gained a few pounds yourself, I find it amazing how your thyroid gland has started acting up…keeping up with the Joneses is never easy even if you do earn $100 million+ a year. For all your money and wisdom though, I do believe that at the core, you have good intentions. But I must point out to you that you have issues…and every now and then, it filters through the cracks of that perfectly made up façade that is your life.
Another thing…your opinion in this world is not the only one that counts. I wish you could conduct some of your shows with that in mind.
PS. Your friend Gail rocks though…you should be more like her.

Kind Regards,



  1. ahhhh.... the good ol snail mail days... lol... the aero one had scenes of the adverts playin in my head! good marketing or unforgettable chocolate? :P

  2. I can easily imagine you as the charo Ben Trovato:)

  3. Bwhahahaha

    Hilarious! I must admit I feel exactly the same way(thank heavens for PVR though)

    Would be great though if you could post the replies!

  4. this made me snort with laughter.

    esp the bit about vrot chocolate.

    nice one!

  5. I am sitting in my office totally giggling at this....

    Cool post...


  6. You made me laugh. I needed that. Feeling vrot, no voice to speak with :P Laryngitis sucks.

    But of course you also proved the bit about free time in the wrong hands being a dangerous thing. lucky your father had shares in Telkom.

  7. KS- Lovely chocolate...much to our addictive personalities detriment.

    SaalehaBM - LOL...I have too much passion for just one person :)

    Mini - I would seriously post the replies if I could... :D
    We haven't had MNET for a while because for a long time we were never home long enough to watch anything...but I'll have to rethink that and get PVR too.

    EMCT - Thanx...I was really worried that day too :) Thought it's Anthrax or something like that.

    Blue - Thanx :D

    Saaleha - Hope you get better Dad use to give us a weekly allowance and my mother use to have the Telkom bill printed and every month each of us had to sit and underline our telephone calls, add the total with 14% Vat and use our allowance money to pay for it! No kidding :)

  8. opinionated little bugger weren't you
    i feel a reality tv show coming on :P

  9. Thanks for making me smile :-)
    My Uncle likes doing this too---writing to companies and such...anytime I want to as well, I ask him for advice.