Ways of seeing.

I used to think that I had an interesting sort of mind. One that saw the world in a different light to the unwashed masses. A unique perspective that set me apart. I used to think that this made me a special little star.

Then I arrived home from work to find my driveway full of opened umbrellas. Lots of them. Just lying there unattended, like an unanswered question.

England. Every day.

I started to fold them up, and instead found myself warding off a vicious attack from a small, naked, and very angry three-year old who appeared from nowhere to accuse me of “spoiling her hairstyles”. As she disappeared around the corner, half hidden by a rather fetching blue hairstyle with transparent panels, shouting  “you are making my heart bleed!” my delusions of having a unique perspective on life began to recede in the presence of a true master.

It took a further knock when I got ready for my bath that evening. I couldn’t find the soap. Having had a lot of practice looking for my wallet recently, it didn’t take me long to find it. Behind the toilet. Chewed into little pieces.

In his defence, it was ham flavoured soap. Thank god he didn’t find the bacon shampoo.

It was the goddamn dog. Another mind that makes mine look pedestrian. I can imagine that lots of dogs might be interested by soap. They might give it a sniff. Since it doesn’t smell like bacon, most would leave it alone. Not the goddamn dog. Some dogs might even take an exploratory bite. Since it doesn’t taste like bacon, almost all would leave it alone. Not the goddamn dog. The goddamn dog obviously took one bite and decided “this is awful.” Chomp. “Why on earth do humans even keep this stuff?” Chew. “There is just no way I’m going to get through this.” Gnaw. “It’s got a vile chemical taste.” Bite. “My whole mouth is filling up with bitter slime!” Crunch. “Oh look! Bubbles!”

I am very ordinary. Any further ideas on that score were dealt with later that night when I fired up my laptop to check on my blog. I have grown obsessed with my stats; how many people stopped by? Where did they come from? Did they like it?  I check up on these things every day (I’m still quite new at this, and it’s still all bright and shiny). What I had never done before, though, was to check on what search terms were being lead through to my blog. Wow. Most of them are fairly ordinary; searches for acacia trees or termites or celebrity mug shots. Some are slightly less so, like the ones looking for  “things in count four” or Victorian mug shots.

Some though, are different. Like footmarks on a beach, they reveal the passing of the truly unique minds out there. The special ones. The ones who effortlessly achieve what I can only strive for- their own, unparalleled perspective on the world.

Here are some of their finest moments:


A man sits alone in a darkened room. His face is lit blue by the glow of the screen in front of him. At his fingertips sits a tool that connects him to the world. With a few choice keystrokes, he can find anything. Anything he can dream of. Google is his key to this universe of information. Breath catching in his throat, he leans forward and begins to type.

“I picked up my glasses”

He hits the enter key. What treasures does he find? What new worlds open up to him? Does he check out just one or two choice personal spectacle elevation sites before nodding firmly to himself, shutting down and wandering off to bed, satisfied, or does he soldier on, heart beating faster, palms beginning to sweat, with “I took a sip of water”? Nervous now, but driven as if by some external force, does he turn around nervously, straining to hear if his wife is still sleeping, before typing in “I took a packet of peanuts through to the TV room and sat down”? Yes. Yes. Yes!

Internet gold!

Then there are the seekers after knowledge. Brave, inquisitive souls who just want to know more. Like the guy who spent a happy few moments looking for:

“Things that are 1 foot long”

How does this work. Was he shamed in front of his peers? Did the wag of the office call him out during a meeting with the CEO? “Hey Jenkins. Do you know what’s 1 foot long?” Did he look down at his empty notepad, face burning with shame, mumbling “No. No I don’t.” while silently vowing never to be caught out by this one again? Or is he just interested in things of particular lengths. Either way, I am saddened to think that he found no joy on my blog. Maybe soon I will write a couple of thousand words on the lengths of the world. The foot. The metre. The yard. The cubit. The furlong. Clearly there is an untapped market for this stuff.

There seems to be a whole subset of odd wildlife enthusiasts out there. First there is the person looking for “African wildlife humour”. I can only guess that there isn’t a lot of it out there. What disappointing evenings this person must have. Imagine what it must be like, going to bed every night have failed once again to find even one decent warthog joke. African wildlife just isn’t funny. Try Asia. Their wildlife is hilarious.

Not funny. Just ask the driver.

More serious in her approach is the woman looking for “afternoon wildlife images”. Just imagine her, up on the carpet again, while her manager rants and raves. “For God’s sake Miranda. These are morning wildlife images. See how the shadows all fall to the left. Why don’t you try again, and this time pretend that you’re not mentally deficient. I swear to God, if your uncle wasn’t vice-president of internal marketing you wouldn’t even have made it through the door”.

They’re not all funny-odd. Some are nasty-odd. Ugly-odd. Like the guy Googling “Boerboels against wildlife” It looks funny at a glance, like “Women against plant abuse” or “Doctors against Kenny G”. But it’s not. Boeboels are dogs. Big, strong dogs. Sometimes, they are fighting dogs. Dogfighting obviously isn’t enough for this guy though. I would hope that he found nothing. But it would be a fool’s hope.

Oddly specific

I tend to blunder through life like a soporific Labrador puppy, blundering into situations without any plan or intention. I envy those out there who know what they want. Exactly what they want. Down to the last detail. Some of them have stumbled onto my page as well. How very sad it must have made them. I hope they went on to find what they were looking for. Exactly what they were looking for:

“Small ant holes”. Not big ones. Not even medium sized ones. Teeny tiny. Please.

“Scientist woman colouring pages”. Poor child. Poor, poor child. “Jim, I have no idea what could have happened, but little Suzie’s vegetarian achievers workbook seems to have burst into flames. Can you print her up a few scientist woman colouring pages to keep her busy while I go and buy her a new one.”

Yay! Thank you Daddy!

These two come across as being rather vague in comparison to the person who needs to find “little black worm eating alder bush leaves”. This must have been typed in by someone who had just seen a little black worm eating alder bush leaves. Was this a one-off, or is this a hobby? How rich their lives must be. See it, Google it, see it, Google it, every time you come in the door. “Large yellow bird eating juniper berries”, “Small blue butterfly drinking wild flower nectar”, “Large black bear eating neighbourhood child”. Just Googling what you see. See, see, see. Google, Google, Google.

Other people seem a tad more sinister. Worrying. Worthy of police attention. I’m not saying I’m absolutely positive that the person looking for “people who lied to Oprah” is up to no good. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if a police murder investigation leads to a basement shrine, complete with a life-sized inflatable/deflatable Oprah Winfrey statue, Remember-Your-Spirit® candles, a corkboard full of pictures (half of which have the eyes cut out), and a realistic James Frey mask. Let’s just wait and see.

They’ll pay, scary gold Oprah! I swear I’ll make them pay!


I wrote a post called “Ah, sex”. It wasn’t actually sexy or anything, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I got a hit or two from the internet’s tireless brigade of porn searchers. You would think that it would be easy enough to type in “porn” and sit back and wait for the results to roll in. If you had special needs, you could narrow it down. “High heeled redhead transgender dwarf porn”, for example. I only got the outsiders though.

It started with “my first caning”. Nice. I only hope they weren’t going for authenticity. Apart from my sadly porn free blog, they must have hit on an awful number of meth raddled streetwalkers who were quite clearly not having their first caning.

Then it narrows down a little. “Ah-sex”. I am cheerfully naïve. Is ah-sex a thing? It must be. The intrepid searcher in question paused to hunt down the elusive hyphen key (think about it- you have to pause and hunt it down every time you need it). It does sound fun though, just that tiny bit more exciting than that boring old vanilla sex.

If you are keen to give it a try, you could always get onto Craigslist and try to find the guy (it can only be a guy) who was searching for an “oh ah sex friend”. He wouldn’t even be satisfied with an ah-sex friend. He needs some “oh” in there too. Good luck to him. I’m sorry he wasted his time with me. Eventually, when I run out of ideas, I might blog about ah-sex. I might even stretch as far as oh-sex. But together? That’s just inflammatory. But I suppose that (apart from good times, and bad times) that’s what friends are for.

Not just any sex friend. An oh ah sex friend.

I simply cannot think of anything to say about the guy (again, it’s a guy. It just is.) who took the time out of his busy day to type in “knickers found in gym bag sniff”. I’m not judging or anything, I’ve just never found any knickers in my gym bag. If I did, guess what I wouldn’t do?

Advice and information

Not all of us are thinking with the wrong parts of our anatomies. Some of us just want answers. Or a little guidance. Here at last I think I may be able to help. A couple of questions came up, and I will do my best to answer them.

I’ll start with an easy one first.

“Where did the serpent come from in the garden of Eden?”

The north. The serpent in the Garden of Eden came from the north. Magnetic north.  Not true north.

I feel like I’m on a roll here. I’m going to move on to something a little more tricky.

“What are you supposed to do with colouring pages?”

I’m no expert, but I would imagine you’re supposed to colour them in.

“How to forgive a sister-in-law who attacked me”

I’m going to need a little more detail here. Did she launch herself out of a shrubbery, screaming for blood and brandishing a sharpened stick, or did she say something mean at a family dinner? If it’s the former, I would suggest sitting down with her and trying to sort out what made her do such a thing. You guys are family. Talk through your feelings and try to find some common ground. If it’s the latter, have her arrested. Nobody should have to put up with that shit.

You’re going down, Marlene. The cops are on the way as we speak. Please pass the gravy.

“My wife has had sex abroad with a stranger what should I do”

This one just makes me sad. The rules of overseas infidelity, like the rules of punctuation, are very complicated. If she had had domestic sex with a stranger, you would need to decide whether you really loved each other, and maybe go for some counselling. Sex abroad, however, involves getting hold of some very expensive ointments and an effigy of Karl Marx. Get a divorce.

Like I say, I’m still fairly new at this. I can only hope that in the future, this sort of thing carries on. While I do find these people quite intimidating in their uniqueness, I want to learn. I want to get better. One day maybe I can be a special little star. It has just occurred to me, though, that I might be able to start a little closer to home.

I’ve never bought an umbrella. There are only four of us, and two of us see rain as an excuse to strip off and run outside (my wife has always been a little eccentric). We have seven umbrellas. One is shaped like a pig, complete with ears and a nose. There’s a dinosaur too, with a long spiky tail. There’s a double-layered Victorian parasol. One of us keeps buying umbrellas. It’s not me. The children don’t have any money. My wife is obviously a very particular (and peculiar) sort of shopaholic. Right now we’re up to seven, but spring is just starting. I can’t wait to see what surprises the summer may hold.

I think I may have found my guru. As soon as it stops raining, and my wife comes back inside and puts some clothes on, I’m going to sit her down and make her show me how to see the world differently.

28 thoughts on “Ways of seeing.

  1. I’ve so far read two of your posts, and I’m in. All in. God help me. (I would insert a winky face, or something, but I generally run from cutesy.)
    For I am Kaukab’s daughter. ;- )

  2. Maia says:

    Thank you for the “like” on my post on thesaltwatertwin. I’m glad it led me to this very delightful and amusing place to visit. My dog, too, often enjoys getting his snoot on things that were not meant to be ingested. I’ll certainly be back to read more!

  3. Rob Purves says:

    When I am doing odd bits of carpentry, I keep an ancient bar of soap in my toolbox – its good for lubricating wood-screws, amongst other things. Our moronic dog munched his way through the entire bar a few days ago. At least I had the pleasure of watching him slide around on his stomach, face to the floor, bum in the air, trying to wipe his tongue clean on the wet grass…

  4. Great shot of the England umbrellas! Nice work, great writing, nice site. Thanks so much for liking my “Calf Creek, Utah” post. Appreciate that very much. Have a great week!

  5. Without a doubt, you are a gifted and entertaining writer. Thank you for your posts (they have saved me a lot of money – no need to go to the cinema etc). Now, if you could post more than one installment every day…possibly covering politics, sport, a bit of drama, action and comedy…oh yes, and a slot for the news, then perhaps I can sell my tv and stop having to pay for cable. <– another saving! lol

    • 23thorns says:

      Be careful what you wish for. As a South African, surely you can see that if we look too closely at the news, we’re both going to end up gibbering and weeping in the corner!

      • Touché. Although, I have also experienced the alternative: pointed and laughed while thinking, “frikking clowns!” Perhaps we should join forces and take over the world (or even just SA). I can see it now: ‘The Invisible Avenger and the Pissed off Sidekick,’ ooooor perhaps the white labcoats should take me away and put me in an “I-love-myself” jacket. Happy Friday!

  6. Judy says:

    I am most grateful you stopped by my blog, because I sure as heck am enjoying yours!! I cannot wait to explore more posts!! Honestly your worries on ordinaryness are wasted…..your way of seeing is so much fun!! I am not glad that book sales are down since I am a confirmed print book person, but if that is what made you decide to write online….I’m not fighting it. But, if you do write a book…I want a print copy!!

    I am still trying to figure out this world of blogging. Its having an odd effect on me too. I had a mission with the photo journal but feel myself loosing focus (npi) wanting to write poetry and other things as I encounter all the variety of possibilities out there. Oh, saw the poem on touch somewhere around here. You are wonderful at poetry too if that is an indicator!!

    Thanks again!!

  7. patriciaddrury says:

    okay, you got me… hooked I mean… what a lovely trip in my mind from the driveway, to the bath to the omg… need I say more. Thanks for the trip. I loved it and will definitely be back!!! Cheers!

  8. Nylabluesmum says:

    Another brilliant blog…in fact I am sure you are a genius hiding out on the African continent waiting to be swept away by MI-5 & used for some of their covert operations…..why you ask?? I reply, “Because they can..”
    Why do dogs eat soap??? YUCK!!!
    Keep an eye on that daughter of yours…..she IS a mastermind already…..the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…..LUCKY YOU!!!!! 🙂

  9. Joanna says:

    You are delightful! One of the most bizarre things I know about blogging is that if you write a post entitled ‘How to uninstall a velux blind’ you will get more hits and searches and comments than any carefully crafted bread post. I don’t do DIY, it was a one-off. I am curious how you found me, because I am rubbish at humour (unless of course you wanted to uninstall your blind…)

    • 23thorns says:

      I tend to do most of my DIY with a hammer. My post on “how to uninstall a velux blind would have been very short.
      As for your blog, I loved the old mill. I’m a frustrated gardener who wishes he could afford to live in an old stone house.

  10. You are still uniformly unique in your way of thinking – and I loved what you wrote!!! The dog chewing the soap – that is magnificent! Thanks for the blog like!! and here’s a sneak peek at a secret in my mind : I like stats too!!!

    • 23thorns says:

      Washing with the soap was slightly less magnificent. Luckily, if life in my home has taught me anything, it’s that life is easier if you lower your standards.

      • Oh dear child of Life – that is so true to any home that actually has life 🙂 Currently, my chaos consists of the end of dining room table – my laptop on the table, a cup of some drink to my left, my open Micro textbook with a reusable ziploc container on a page about microbes and disease sitting on it, a fork in the container bc it had the last of my bday cake – bills that need filed just above that and an open box of security envelopes haphazardly balanced to my right … it is all perfectly chaotic order 🙂

  11. Sandi says:

    This is great. I love how you communicate the inanities of life. And the “spoiling my hairstyles” comment – ah, a future humorist in the making. Or stylist. You never know. 🙂

  12. metan says:

    “Spoiling her hairstyles” 😀 I love the way kids see the world. Again you have made me laugh loudly enough for the family look at me strangely.

    The search terms people find me with never fail to amuse; ‘a corpse by evening’, ‘zombie bunny’, ‘frog eating a man’, ‘snake odile’ (All more than once).

    As I have done posts relating to all of these things it doesn’t surprise me that seach engines have directed people to me, it just surprises me that there is someone in the world who had nothing better to do than google something like ‘frog eating a man’. What on earth did they expect to find?

    Actually the strangest search term I think I have ever had was ‘sexey words for lovers’. I don’t think I have ever written anything even vaguely resembling that term, and old newspapers aren’t really sexy (or sexey) so I just wonder how many search pages the determined googler had to slog through before they got to me.

    When I am in the zone searching for a particular fact to go with one of the strange stories I have found some of the search terms I use myself are pretty weird. I would hate for the authorities to go through my history and try to reconstruct my mental state… padded cell and a tightly fitting jacket for me!

  13. What an amazing original thinker of a daughter you have there. Protect that creativity at every step and go buy the kid another brolly! Something yellow I’m thinking.

  14. I think the three year old gave you ample warning, mess with her art your parade will be rained upon.
    You just gave me an idea for a pet care product, “Aroma of Bacon Pet Shampoo” for your pet who hates baths What do you think? 🙂
    Thanks for the great post, got me smiling.

  15. This made me laugh, and I don’t want to laugh right now because I’m ill and when I laugh, I fall into a coughing fit that makes my head spin. If I pass out, it’s your fault.

    The word “shrubbery” makes me think of Monty Python. Now I must go home and watch The Holy Grail.

    My favorite search term that lead someone to my blog was “deadly fart.” Was that you?

    • 23thorns says:

      Look on the bright side- there are people out there paying good money for illegal substances to make them feel that way.
      As for the “deadly fart”, I will have to go back and read some of your older posts, Google is obviously picking up something that I am missing.

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