Six hundred million. Imagine having that much money. And imagine having that much to promise as a bribe!
Oh, Mcebisi Jonas, you’re a stronger man than me – although I suppose there was only a paltry R600 000 bribe on the table, a conceivable amount, enough for a nice car perhaps, which is very different from the shadowy promise of an inconceivable amount, especially when you look at who’s making the promises.
But still, it’s so much in rands that, converted, it manages to still remain a lot in dollars, in euros, in pounds, in yen.
What couldn’t you buy with R600 million? Grand houses with fabulous views, fancy cars, fine wines, gourmet food, warmth, education, holidays … Except happiness, you say – money doesn’t buy happiness.
Well, let’s think about that: I’m writing this in Kalk Bay during a storm, with ice crashing into the windows and rain flurrying from eight directions at once, yet I am snuggled up in my turret protected from it all, in a rented apartment aptly called The Crow’s Nest, safe and secure.
Thankfully, my travelling companions – my son and his girlfriend – are here with me too, because she was finally released from hospital after three days of being horribly ill.
That in itself was another storm, I suppose, sudden and unforecast. And expensive. I paid cash for the doctor, then I paid R2,600 at the emergency room, then R10,000 on my credit card at the hospital.
We were due to go to my house – with its free accommodation and home-cooked meals, which is far easier on the pocket than a rented holiday home in Kalk Bay. But we needed to be close to her, so we extended our stay in the guesthouse, first for one night, then for another; then finally we moved to this beautiful apartment close by.
I don’t want to tell you how much it’s all costing. I don’t want to tell Himself either! There’s going to be an implosion when the credit card bill comes, but ultimately I know it will be fine; things will be fine; the money will be found.
No, money can’t buy you happiness. Of course it can’t. But that old chestnut is surely a tired sop to the poor.
Because money can buy so many other things, like ease, comfort, and peace of mind.