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Hidden knots in the grass

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The timing is also regrettable, just a few months before the financial year was supposed to end. This prank was sudden and brutal

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It came as no surprise to me that there’s an old Yiddish proverb that goes: “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh? I mean, immediately following a good belly-laugh one does feel so much lighter.

According to research done by cardiologist Dr. Cynthia Thaik, it was found that a good belly-laugh exercises the muscles, it gets the blood flowing, it also apparently decreases blood pressure and calms stress hormones. Additionally it is said to boost the immune system, as well as even improve sleep.

Personally, I sleep like a log almost every night, and my doctor has assured me that my heart is still working fine. Perhaps I can give credit to the comedies I enjoy watching. And nowadays, since the advent of online video clips, there’s piles and piles of funny videos that can really brighten one’s day; from people failing spectacularly whilst attempting stupid stunts to other folk just acting stupid.

However, one type of “funny” video that I do not enjoy is the currently popular prank videos that are constantly being churned out. The internet is awash with people scaring, traumatising and petrifying unsuspecting victims all for the purpose of filming them and posting the video online.

One popular trend these days sees adults meticulously setting up a camera and carefully planning to scare toddlers. They then jump out or make a noise to scare the poop out of the trusting victim, and scream with laughter as the terrified child heads for the hills.

Look, I’ll admit that I am no saint. In primary school I was one of the lads who would – during recess – go into the vast field of waist-high weeds between the rugby field and the school, grab two clumps of these weeds, about 30 centimetres apart, and tie the tops into a knot. The knotted weeds would now be invisible to someone moving through the field.

Then we’d go and sit against the wall of the classroom and wait for the bell to signal the end of break.

In those days you had to be in line before teacher got to the class from the staffroom, so children would run from the rugby field through the weeds.

Watching children drop like they were being mowed down with a Gatling gun produced belly-laughs in my mates and I.

If I had a smartphone, I probably would have had a YouTube channel with millions of schadenfreude junkies as subscribers.

In my defence I was young. I never thought of the consequences if someone really got hurt tripping over the weeds; all I was interested in was having fun at someone else’s expense. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Come to think of it, isn’t that just how society works these days? We are so geared at making our own lives pleasant that we’ll without thought pursue that agenda no matter what it costs the next person.

Yesterday’s DFA gave me something to think about. Around 2 500 registered community health workers (CHWs) were absorbed by the NC Department of Health as of November 1. Besides the obvious financial benefit to these CHWs, I wondered where it leaves the NGOs that trained them – NGOs have now lost 2 500 workers, and many of these NGOs will be forced to close down as their funding from the department is probably also being withdrawn.

The timing is also regrettable, just a few months before the financial year was supposed to end. This prank was sudden and brutal.

I am genuinely happy that all those absorbed CHWs will have a better Christmas and 2019; but my concern is for those – the admin staff and nurses at the NGOs – who suddenly find themselves without an income.

Even they’ll have to admit though, this was an amazingly clever prank, and they never saw the knots hidden in the grass.