“Youth is a fever, the sleep of reason.”
- My Gran, in a letter to me at Rhodes (1991)
Rhodes was a bubble, perfect for unfettered feats of youthful folly.
Rat had a bee in his bonnet about becoming Jesus. So, he locked himself in a blacked out room for two days, with a litre of water, and three Golden Buddhas, a potent brand of lysergic acid diethylamide that peeled your head like an orange and vomited the Encyclopaedia Britannica into your skull. Half of one would have Marilyn Manson convinced he was The Man From Galilee. Rat emerged unshaven, a bit thinner, and with a distinct lack of Christ-like superpowers. I believe he’s a barrister in London now. I somehow don’t see a “Previously Jesus” post script on the brass plaque on his law office door.
We all did it, at one time or another. Thing was, the average drive was no more than three km, and Grahamstown’s narrow, sleepy streets seemed to guide you, snug as a marble run. True drunk drivers could never really go faster than about 60 km/h. The stoners drove freaked out slow as a 45rpm record at 33.
In 67 African street, disputes between gentlemen were settled with a duel. The combatants would stand back-to-back, the weapons of choice a Black Label quart and a spatula. At a signal from their seconds, each would walk ten paces apart, turn round, flick the lid off the quart with a deft flick of the spatula, and down the beer. Last one to finish lost the duel, and had to down a mug of Buddie’s Liquor Store No-name Brand Tequila™.
The Duly Performed Certificate (DP) was as anathema to a tardy scholar as soap to an art student . Skip too many lectures, and you’d lose your DP. No DP meant you couldn’t write exams, you'd fail, and your parents would kill you and bury you in an unmarked grave.