Johannesburg Water, famous for their inability to provide a stable water supply to various suburbs of the once proud City of Gold, and a frustrating body to try and contact in times of an emergency, employ many staff who like you and I are just trying to make a living, and in today’s very compressed market place, using every means at their disposal to survive!

Ouch Joburg city of gold

1 The once proud City of Gold, (Dubai has now taken over that mantle), Joburgers are often frustrated with water outages, we won’t mention power outages!

Two employees from the above corporation, proudly wearing their Johannesburg Water emblazoned overalls were sent to my workshop for assistance after they had installed a very expensive and complex flywheel assembly into a motor car and destroyed a vital bearing in the process. Cap in hand, and desperate for help the two asked if I could help, and never one to kick a man while he is down, I reckoned if I extracted the destroyed bearing they could possibly obtain a new bearing from the suppliers!

Ouch flywheel

2 In the centre is a bearing that, in retrospect, Danny Boy should have used the rule of thumb, and pressed the bearing out and not used a hammer!

Under all sorts of other pressures, I was a little hasty in my endeavours and as the bearing finally exited the flywheel, I whalloped my left thumb with the hammer!

Dan's thumb

3 Ouch!

Not clever, Danny Boy! After the usual holding together to stem the blood flow and Elastoplast to make it all the better, I covered up for my stupidity with the remark, “They build ‘em tough, where I come from!” The throbbing continues as I recollect a recent trip to Cabana Beach in Umhlanga Rocks, where apart from the healing roar of the sea, my toes being caressed by the sandy grains, and a full body massage in the wild surf, we also managed a few hours lounging around the picturesque resort pool.

Ouch Cabana Beach pool

4 The regular visitors to Cabana Beach call this their Paradise! If you look closely you might see the pool staff hammering in the umbrella support stakes, ouch!

As the sunny day starts and the sun worshippers place themselves strategically to soak up them rays of delight, and the senior and already once bitten, twice shy of the Sun’s rays ask for the shade of umbrellas, the pool staff hammer umbrella support stakes into the ground, using a piece of an old tyre to cushion the blows of the small club hammer onto the steel stake. One of the pool staff proudly wearing the name Phineas on his shirt, had his left thumb heavily bandaged and I went absolutely cold watching him at work, holding the rubber cushion with his left hand and whalloping away with the club hammer in his other hand! The two of us have added new meaning to the gestures “Hold your thumbs!” for good luck, and the Roman’s favourite, “Thumbs up!” to let him live or “Thumbs down!” to put him out of his misery!

Ouch Borat thumbs up

5 Today, like Borat, we use thumbs up when everything is going right!

My worst event happened one Saturday, working alongside a today, long gone employee Ernest. Racing as usual to get the job done, I had ducked out from under the hoist and raised my head too early, taking a massive chunk out of my chrome dome! Again the holding together process, aided by a large piece of cotton wool, and when I asked Ernest for help, he proffered his greasy hands saying, “What can I do?”

Ouch dirty hands

6 “I can’t really help you with these, can I?”

I sent Ernest to buy a burger and a Coke and called home, saying “Come and help now!” and when I got the usual excuses, I simply said “Just come!” and hung up! Linda was there within minutes, the then family car, a Citroen Picasso’s tyres squealing as she came to a stop! The Picasso ambulance raced off to Medi-clinic and being late Saturday afternoon, the Saturday evening of murder and mayhem had not yet filled the emergency room, so I was quickly ushered into a cubicle while Linda attended to the admin. The fresh out of medical school Doctor first checked my vitals as I sat with my hand and cotton wool holding my scalp together, then plucked up enough courage to lift my makeshift bandage to check the damage and as she did so was rewarded with a spurt of ruby red blood that not only splattered her face and white uniform, but the cubicle wall behind her! A little white in the face the Doctor faltered a little but managed to regain her composure and called for help from the nurse after replacing my homemade swab!

Ouch Doctor faints

7 My Doctor managed to control herself and didn’t faint like this one!

After managing to stem the healthy blood flow, the ER team working in layers, stitched my flap back down with some twenty stiches, sending me home later that evening with an arsenal of antibiotics and pain killers, as if I needed those! They build ‘em tough where I come from, don’t they?

Nazareth sang Love Hurts, Phineas and myself changed that to “Thumb Hurts!”:

St Vincent School For The Deaf “Thumbs up”:


Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:


Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:


The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades: