What I like about living where I live is that it is secure without being too obvious. It has several kilometres of razor wire, many kilometres of electrified wire, a 12km-long wall, an outer perimeter steel-mesh fence, two dozen security guards who are graduates from an advanced College of Meanness and who are on 24-hour duty, two heavily boomed entrances and (coming soon) entry by finger prints only…
It’s your typical, normal suburban stockade.
But, of course, not all suburban complexes are so relaxed. Some take security very seriously indeed.
Felicity (a new bride in full glow sitting in a car next to her husband who is at the wheel. Her cutesy voice is pitched plaintively two octaves above middle C):
“Oh darling, just look – ‘COUNTRY STYLE – THE VILLAGE SECURE! NEWLY-WEDS, START HERE!’ Isn’t that sweet? Shall we drive in?”
Bert (running his eye along the extra-high walls topped with razor wire): “No, hold it, I think, my little wifey, you have things wrong. I think this is a nuclear arms research establishment. Look at the guards on the gate.”
Felicity: “No, angel-face, this is normal nowadays. Every complex has its own security force. And oh, this is soooo Bryanston! It’s even got retractable spikes across the road.”
Bert: “What are they afraid of, doll? Panzers?”
Felicity: “No, my kidney pie, it’s just that people like to feel well protected. It’s the trend all over the Western world – exclusive little walled communities.”
Bert: “But surely, sweetness, this is but one step from installing watchtowers with searchlights and mounted machine guns?”
Felicity: “Dear heart, there’s nothing wrong with elitist living.”
Bert: “But what happens, gorgeous, if the resentful underprivileged – like the people of Randburg – choose to seek revenge and bribe the guards to lock everybody in? I can just see it: ‘New Treblinka – The Village Secure.’ ”
Felicity: “Sweetie, don’t be absurd!”
Bert: “OK, dear heart, let’s go inside. Look, there’s a nice little duplex – and it’s on show. Let’s see what it’s like inside. But hang on, look at all the cobwebs around the windows.”
Felicity: “Honey-bunsy, that’s the burglar-proofing.”
Bert: (inside house) “Sweetness, look at that back door. It would take me eight weeks to go solo on those locks.”
Felicity: “Snookums, don’t be so negative. At least we would be able to sleep securely.”
Bert: “Sleep! My precious, how can we possibly sleep when every five minutes some distant blue flash tells us another hapless passer-by has run into the perimeter fence and is now stuck to it all crisp and brown? Why can’t we buy in Parkhurst and just wire a mad dog sign to the gate?”
Felicity (trying not to show her irritation): “Baby shoes… I think we’re having our first little tiff.”
Bert: “Cutiepie! You mean you’re pregnant? That does it! No kid of mine is going to be born behind bars. It’s Parkhurst for us!”
WAY TO GO, JULIUS?
Several readers tell me that Julius Malema said: “I want the people of South Africa to treat me the same way they treated Nelson Mandela.”
Apparently Evita Bezuidenhout responded: “What a great idea. Let’s start with 27 years in jail.”
Poor old Julius. A great rabble rouser; a terrible politician.
LETTER TO THE STOEP
You wrote recently that a lot of today’s problems with society were due to the fact that people no longer respected their elders. I can only tell you that at my age (87) it’s getting harder and harder to find one.