Monday, November 5, 2012

Rodriguez, me and my Man Card

 I’m becoming a bit of a sissy these days.
            Look, I’m still a muscled beast of a guy, with a very valid Man Card. I have arms like shipping cables, voice like a bass bin, testosterone oozing out of me like salmonella from a bag of defrosting prawns… I’m just, I’m a bit sentimental.
            It started with that bloody Clint Eastwood and his Invictus movie about the 95 Rugby World Cup. God, I didn’t even cry when we won the actual World Cup, but somehow, watching the movie had me battling.
            There I was in the back of Cinema Nouveau, nose running like a tap, eyes damp as squibs, trying not to sob audibly as the Bok vories pushed for their lives in the last seconds of the final.
            It was all I could do to not sob audibly and alarm the granny in the purple cardigan next to me. It took me by surprise, that flick. I wasn’t expecting it to be so poignant.
            But then it happened again. Someone sent me a link to this web video about a kid who builds his own games arcade out of cardboard boxes. That thing broke me. I could barely post it on my blog through the sploshes of tears on my keyboard.
            The innocent idealism! Initiative! The triumph over adversity! Caine’s Arcade, man. If you come out of YouTubing that with dry eyes, you’re probably an axe murderer.
            Then the real world started getting to me. I saw a lightie helping his little sister onto her trike, and I got all poignant. I twisted my ankle on some stairs and had a little breakdown, with the cleaning lady patting me on the back.  “Shame, sorry bhuti. You must be careful.”
            Then Europe won the Ryder Cup. I got all misty eyed. The one lady died in Downton Abbey. Tears. Lions lose to Province. Tjanking like a Maltese with merthiolate on its bum.
            I was a mess.
            To avoid public embarrassment, I had to pinpoint the exact things that make me get emotional. This is what I came up with: children, old people, nostalgia, emotive music, sport, bleak weather, South Africa, really well prepared food, SAB beer ads and intense pain.
            So, to avoid having another sob fest, the thing for me would actually be spending every day in the municipal library. With evenings on the China TV channel.
            You’ve got to man up, though. You can’t hide away from life. And a man with shipping-cable biceps should be able to suppress his emotions for your basic poignant moments, saving them for traditional SA men’s emotional times like a screaming match with your lady in the road behind Kitcheners.
            So back into the breach. I thought I’d take myself off to watch that Searching For Sugarman movie. There’d been good reviews, I dig Rodriguez’s music, and I even met him that time he beat me at pool at the old Up The Khyber in PE.
            Should be interesting, I thought.
Boy, did I choose the wrong movie to be manly at. Searching For Sugarman features an old person, his children, nostalgia, SA, emotive music, some beer, emotional pain, and the bleakest weather this side of the Siberian tundra.
This dude was a superstar in SA, but didn’t know about it. So he kept working construction in freezing Detroit! The misery! Then they track him down and bring him to SA! The joy, the redemption! But still he prefers to keep it street in Detroit! The noble moral triumph! And “silver magic ships, we carry…” playing in the background the whole way through.
I had no chance. My only hope was to rustle my popcorn loudly every time I sniffed back the tears. And pretend to cough when I emitted an involuntary wail as Rodriguez played the Good Hope Centre.
What the hell. So I’m an emotional softie. At least I’m experiencing life in all its tender textures, savouring the passionate peaks and valleys of ecstasy and despair, riding the thrilling rollercoaster of sentiment and joy.
I’m handing in my Man Card on Monday.


Anonymous said...

Very funny as always ;-)

Hagen Engler said...

Cheers. We try. Thanks for the input!

Penny Manganyi said...

Enjoyed this kakhulu! Ps: Please don't cry when you hand in your man card ;) lol!

MrDeVil_909 said...

Hi Hagen, thought you may be interested in this little snippet about someone going to an Austin performance and being equally broken by the man in the flesh.

PS My little essay at the bottom is purely incidental. ;)

Hagen Engler said...

Thanks for the link, Dave. There's no shame in Rodgriguez bringing a tear to your eye. Whether through the quality of his music, or his position as a living South African icon returned from the dead. to have got a taste of his greatness is a privilege.