“The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness,” wrote the reclusive 16th century essayist, Michel de Montaigne, while Rav Shammai, a first-century scholar, remarked that a person should “Make your [study of the] Torah a fixed practice; speak little but do much; and receive all [people] with a pleasant countenance”.
During my not-so-short, happy life, I haven’t done too well with the “fixing” of healthy and fruitful practices and I have, alas, spoken more than I have done (in the Shammaian sense). But I have mostly been a cheerful chappie. I’m one of those pesky okes next or close to whom you don’t want to wake up in the morning.
Know the type? While you’re trying to drink your coffee quietly and come to terms yet again with consciousness in this vale of tears, s/he’s full of bonhomie and exuberance when the sun rises, all the dark mental clouds of the previous night having blown away. No challenge too large for him or her to meet head-on – at least until 10am.
However, faced with having to write an article during 11 February, the day on which President Cyril Ramaphosa would deliver his 2021 state of the nation address (SONA) later in the day (7pm), I was a little put out.
I would have to write something about President Frogboiler’s address without having seen it and yet my article would only be published after or at roughly the same time the SONA address would be revealed. What could I write of any use or interest?
All the stuff that the pundits think the president should address, and all the reasons why he will or (more likely) won’t do so, have already been listed in or flighted on the various media; and we’ve perused or listened to these lists so many times before and – because no matter how we try, hope does spring eternal in the human breast – we also have been disappointed so many times before.