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RIP free calendars

Cape Argus logo Cape Argus 2020-01-24 David Biggs

a close up of a clock: Until quite recently local business people handed them out to all their regular clients. This year I have not received a single one. © Provided by Independent Media Until quite recently local business people handed them out to all their regular clients. This year I have not received a single one. Whatever happened to calendars? Until quite recently local business people handed them out to all their regular clients. This year I have not received a single one.

I believe those free calendars were a rather good form of advertising. I would hang one on the fridge and one in my bathroom, and every time I went to check what appointments I had for the day I’d be reminded to shop at Smith’s Outfitters, or whatever. 

I always noted family birthdays, anniversaries, dentist appointments and meetings on my calendar. This year it seemed nobody was handing out free calendars, so I bought one with a picture of a cat on it. The cat doesn’t represent any local business so I’m not tempted to go shopping.

I wonder whether this lack of calendars is because everybody’s gone digital?

Instead of glancing at the calendar pinned to the bathroom door, people switch on their smartphones and receive instant reminders of the day’s appointments.

I know I receive a shipload of reminders on my phone every day, whether I want them or not. I am reminded of the birthdays of people I don’t know and invited to celebrate “work anniversaries” with strangers who have managed to stay in the same job for three years.

The trouble with all those electronic reminders us that there are so many of them, and so few that actually interest me, that I hardly even glance at them. The pencilled-in reminders on my paper calendar were put there by me, so I know they mean something to me.

There’s another worrying point to consider. All these clever electronic devices run on battery power, which means they have to be recharged regularly. That means my life is ultimately governed my Eskom. Eskom’s reliably is not something I’d care to entrust with my daily planning.

So here I am, planning my days with a stubby 2B pencil and a paper calendar hanging on my wall, when the rest of the world relies on a few key slick strokes of a computer.

Anyway I believe that writing reminders on the wall is a South African tradition that goes right back to before Eskom was even perpetrated. On the family farm in the Karoo, there’s an old cave where early inhabitants once lived and decorated the rocks with paintings that are now faded with age.

Most of the painting consists of rows of ochre-coloured dots and I’ve often imagined a wizened little man running a finger along the line and muttering: “Fourteen days since I last brought home a buck. That’s bad. I’d better get out the bow and arrows or the missus will have some harsh words for me.”

His calendar worked with no help from Eskom. I prefer it that way.

Last Laugh

The patient complained that he had a constant pain in his right knee.

“How old are you?” asked the doctor.

“I’m 84 years old,” answered the patient.”

“Well that sore knee could possibly be just a matter of age.”

“No, doc, I don’t believe it is,” came the reply.

“My left knee is exactly the same age and it doesn’t hurt at all.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at dbiggs@glolink.co.za

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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