Sunday, 9 July 2017


It’s been a bit of a rough week for me, but luckily I have a very short attention span and am already getting bored with wallowing in my misery. Besides, it’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? 

And what better way to deal with piss than taking the piss... especially of yourself! Sometimes you just gotta take one for the team!

The selfie injury

We get them a lot at work – the selfie injury. A diagnosis unique to the 21st century. People who, armed with phone and selfie stick, injure themselves in the pursuit of attaining the perfect digital self-portrait to post to social media. Just moving back one step to get a better angle, and they plunge off cliffs, get swept away by king waves, get bitten by snakes or mauled by lions (ok, not a real problem in our area, but it does happen elsewhere). 

I never understood such blatant disregard for personal safety until I joined bookstagram. Suddenly and inexplicably my brain has gone to mush! Soon my ordinary, everyday photos were no longer good enough. Have you been on Instagram lately? There is some tough competition out there! I needed to get better quickly, and adopt a more interesting persona than my otherwise rather unremarkable existence. 

Steve Irwin? Nah – don’t really do wild animals (and you saw how that one turned out for him).  Bear Grylls? Hmmm, as long as I don’t need to eat elephant sperm or shelter in the stomach cavity of a rotted camel, I could possibly get to a few rugged places that would  lend me a certain watered down adventure vibe. The key is rugged. Cliffs, waves, steep granite boulders. Where before the D for Danger warning light would have set all my senses on high alert, I can now picture the perfect background for my bookstagram photo. A high cliff – perfect! If I support my weight on one toe and stretch up a little bit hiiiiiigher, I will get just the right amount of cloudy sky peeking out from behind the rock to add interesting texture.

In pursuit of the perfect photo

There is an old farm shack down the road from us, a short bike ride along a dusty trail away. Rustic boards with old lead paint peeling from them, the glint of shattered glass littering the ground around it, a moss stained tin rook perched like a witches’ hat atop its crooked frame. Atmospheric. Spooky. Perfect. Except that it is surrounded by a tall fence, designed to keep bulls in the paddock. Plus, it borders a fairly busy country road.

I am totally pathetic when it comes to being a law-abiding citizen, and just the thought of a speeding ticket can give me an anxiety attack. So even though trespassing onto a deserted farm property to take a photo would be relatively minor transgression in the big scheme of things, planning it immediately took on the dimensions of plotting a diamond heist. Trying to adopt an inconspicuous pose may as well have seen me wearing a balaclava with a bright neon signs flashing over my head: “Burglar!” A burglar clutching a book under one arm – who says that criminals can’t be literate? 

Cars are now slowing down and people are looking at me.

My palms are sweaty.

My heart is beating at about 200 bpm every time I hear a car in the distance.

I am actually having chest pains (I mentally triage myself as an ATS2 and rehearse how I will explain this to my colleagues when I am being brought to the ER in an ambulance).

Suddenly this whole adventure seems like a bad idea. My courage is flagging. After a lot of mental pep-talk, and satisfied that there is no car approaching, I finally muster up the courage to grip the top rung of the fence, ready to haul myself over to claim my photo opportunity.

Bang! An almighty flash. A tearing pain in my right arm. I am being flung through the air. Lying on my back and dazedly staring at the sky a fleeting thought flashes through my mind: “F*#K! Someone SHOT ME!” The photo shows a piece of sky at a weird angle and the concerned face of a motorist leaning over me: “You’re all right, mate?”

When planning my photo heist, I hadn't figured in the electric fence!

The moral of the story – in the DRSABCD of a bookstagrammer, I failed at D!

What lengths will you go to to get that perfect bookstagram photo?

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