SOME people are plain stupid - or they just love to rough it up.
I do not stand in judgment of Xolani (not his real name), a childhood acquaintance who has spent the better part of his life in and out of jail for petty crap, most of the time.
In one of his first brushes with the law he was nabbed for breaking into an ice-making business in the township and stealing blocks of ice.
By the time the police nabbed him, which was just hours later, the evidence (the ice) had melted. Still, they locked him up.
At some stage he stole a couple of pigeons my dad had just bought me. He hid the damn things under the bed he shared with his brother, and they simply flew out of the window back to our house.
Hilarious rumours started doing the rounds about him, but for a while he seemed to walk the straight and narrow and ended up working in a bank. The rumours about him did not stop, though.
One outrageous story that did the rounds was that if he was your teller, chances are he would whisper to you: "Hoeveel het jy? Het jy 'n Five Tiger?" (Have you got R50?)
If the answer was yes, he would look around to see if the coast was clear, then slip you a R100 note and take your fifty. In effect, he was selling money at half price.
Rubbish, obviously, but nice banter to lighten up a boring drinking session.
He must have been caught because he did not last long in the job.
Xolani had a particularly short fuse, and always reminded those who crossed his path that he would be just too happy to do time for messing them up.
His favourite line was: "Tronk is fokol." (I am not scared of prison) He initiated and spread a rumour about his fearlessness, regaling whoever would listen with his dangerous adventures in pursuit of money.
Most of it was nonsense - like the one that he had once cut off a woman's ear to steal her earrings. But some believed it and suddenly everyone was scared of him.
A couple of weeks back someone told me Xolani was back in the chookie doing a long stretch for breaking into a dental surgery.
For heaven's sake just what does a thug - even one as dumb as Xolani - hope to steal from a dental surgery? False teeth?
He had written a letter in which he said he had "found" God and was doing a correspondence course in priesthood.
Funny, everybody thought, because the last time he came out of jail he had had a certificate of priesthood that he framed and put on his wardrobe.
Just days later he was back in the shebeens causing trouble and landed back behind bars for the umpteenth time.
Rough and tough as Xolani was on the outside, rumour has it that in jail he is a softie and is anyone's "wyfie".
He is either plain stupid, or loves to rough it up.