Stan and Mr Goli, two of a kind but quite misunderstood

TO PARAPHRASE the legendary Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the US, you can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you can never please all of the people all of the time.

TO PARAPHRASE the legendary Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the US, you can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you can never please all of the people all of the time.

My point is, last week's column was a sincere call for respect for the mentally challenged among us but since then I have spent hours on the phone and email defending myself against hordes of readers who charge me with making fun of the sick.

It did not help that I laid it bare that in my own family, there are a few people who are err .. you get my drift?

What seems to have really riled some was my reference to a fellow outside our Rosebank offices who is obviously living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. My humble opinion is that he causes no-one any harm, and is seemingly happy. I often take issue with law enforcers who lock up such people in prisons, passed off as asylums, as if they were vermin, thus less deserving of existing among the human race.

If they are happy and cause no one harm, let them be.

I recall my late mate Stan Mhlongo, who has on several previous occasions served as fodder for this column.

Lest I be misunderstood (even by Stan himself from up yonder), you could never wish for a more sane being. But Stan had his moments.

He wore oversized sunglasses that gave his face the look of a tiny four-roomed house with super-large "big windows".

His false teeth were large, so large wannabe jokesmiths teased him that they were horse teeth.

It did not bother him. He was even less bothered by those who mocked his dress sense: floral shirts with floral ties, multi-coloured socks, baggy three-quarter length trousers and oversized jackets. He stuck everything imaginable into his pockets - from pens to remnants from his lunch.

One day, driving home with him, I remarked that I craved a salty snack. He looked at me with pity, gave me that "horsy" smile, dug a hand into his jacket pocket and took out a boiled egg .

I suddenly "remembered" I had an allergy for eggs, told him so, and politely declined.

In my home town, Evaton, folks enjoyed decades of morbid entertainment at the expense of one Mr Goli.

He was a lanky gentleman who carried heavily stacked paper bags in both hands, peddling peanuts and boiled eggs up and down the dusty streets of the township.

Ironically, his fame came from his insistence on speaking English - nasal - to the delight of his audiences. Every speech started thus: "It is due to the magnanimities of our own responsibilities, regardless of how we behave, that we are. It was not my desire to stand here, but due to certain unforeseen circumstances, I am bound."

He would then delve into lengthy prose which he must have gleaned from reading too much Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

Nobody seemed to understand what he was ranting on about - magnanimities (et al), but we loved it and applauded uproariously each time.

Word was that "education made him mad".

Both Stan and Mr Goli have gone the way of all flesh. They died free men, and for that I am happy.

More worthy men you will not easily encounter.

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