Morning, morning, morning. Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times column. Hope it doesn’t make you itchy.


Revenge is a dish best served cold. Or at least that’s how the saying goes. Although, if this year’s news is anything to go by, these days revenge is being served hot. Very hot.

In January a couple in America who ‘unfriended’ a woman on Facebook were later murdered in their home by their unfriend. I mean I totally understand that the unfriended party’s feelings were a little hurt when she was unfriended, but shooting one unfriender in the head and cutting the other one’s throat seems a little on the extreme side to me.

According to the same newspaper, in a similar case in Iowa last year, a woman was charged with arson when she set fire to her friend’s garage after being unfriended on Facebook. Perhaps taking the unfriender off your Christmas card list, deleting their number from your cell phone, or badmouthing them to your friends is slightly more appropriate behaviour, but burning down a house? Surely not? Revenge is one thing, but arson is a whole other box of matches. But then perhaps people who live in Iowa live by a different code of conduct to the rest of us.

Is it just my imagination, or is our ‘civilisation’ getting more extreme by the second?

A group of university students in America have taken this thirst for revenge we seem to be cultivating to a whole new level, and they’ve turned it into big business. Their company is imaginatively named Revenge Crabs™. They have a website where you can purchase pubic lice, (commonly referred to as crabs, and uncommonly referred to as Pthirus Pubis). Which you can then plant in the bed or car seat of that certain special ex someone in your life.

Put in an order and they’ll send you an envelope full of semi-live creatures (mostly eggs, though they do warn that a few may hatch in transit), plus detailed instructions on how to give them to your one and only. They are also kind enough to include an ‘anti-crab solution’ in case of accidental self crabbifying. Itchy yet? I know, it’s totally revolting.

Murder, garage burning and crab ambushing, is this where we find ourselves in the twenty-first century?

Sure, over the years I’ve had my fair share of disappointments and betrayals. And I’d be lying if I said I’d never plotted revenge whilst crying into my teawhisky cup. But they were always just plans, ridiculous fantasies that dissipated in the sober hung-over light of late morning. I think the worst plan I’ve ever actually followed through on is a scathing text message, or a harshly worded email. Hardly crippling revenge that would strike fear into the heart of an adulterer.

Although a couple of weeks ago I found myself perfectly positioned for some unplanned revenge. Since my name starts with a ‘P’ which is then followed by an ‘A’, I’m generally the first ‘P’ in most people’s phones, which means I often get ass dialled, pocket dialled or handbag dialled by mistake.

A couple of times a week I’ll answer the phone and hear the insides of a handbag, or pocket, the keys rubbing up against an old lint-covered mint, bouncing up against a loose five rand coin. Or sometimes I can hear that I’m in someone’s pocket, or if I’m lucky, on a restaurant table where I can listen in on entire conversations.

So when my cell phone rang the other evening, I was surprised to see a particularly rude and duplicitous ex’s number show up on the screen. I answered nervously, curious as to why he’d be calling after our not so pretty ending. It only took me a second to realise that I’d clearly been ass dialled (in more ways than one). I could hear some random bar in the background, him chatting with his friends, the music pumping. I briefly considered putting the phone down, which is what I usually do when I’m ass dialled, but instead I managed to hold on for 49 minutes. Hey it’s no raging garage inferno, crabs, or baseball bat to the kneecaps, but at R2.79 per minute, that’s good enough revenge for me.

4 responses to “revenge”

  1. The sweet taste of revenge…

    A girlfriend of mine had a horrible breakup. Worst of it, the guy lived in the same apartment. His car (that they bought together) used to be parked right under her balcony. Told her to freeze water in a bag and dump the block on the windscreen…. Screen shatters, ice melts, no proof… Voila! The perfect revenge.
    She wasn’t one to appreciate good advice… Told me she’d be sorry if my dude ever left :p

  2. But rejection is so hard, David. I’ve been trying to decide which hurts more, romantic rejection, or rejection of your work… it’s a toss up for me. both sting.

  3. RK, your revenge story reminds me of those mystery riddles, like there’s a room with a man in it with no windows and the door is locked and when they go back the man is missing, and all that’s left is a carrot and two pieces of coal…

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