Mendacity will keep you out of the dog box

HAPPY new year. If you've had reason to say so, do please continue mouthing off with gusto. As for me, there's not been a single happy thing about my new year.

After two nights in a police cell during a festive season you'd planned to enjoy, there's very little to be chuffed about getting into the new year.

It was Toni Morrison who said that if there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

I have the perfect book idea, which is going to be a biblical manual for all men who want to be truly happy at home. You must apologise, especially if you are right and your spouse, as at most times, isn't.

You listen, at all times, and never succumb to the temptation to speak your mind. Get it out of your head to say "this is my house", even when you are the person the bank has the closest relationship with between the two of you.

The only possessive you can allow yourself is in such mundane things as the golf bag, running shoes and the side of the bed.

If you are slow off the blocks you will learn, much to your detriment, that "my" and "house" are two of the most unfortunate words to pair together in heated repartee with your significant other.

It has taken me 25 years to learn this simple lesson and two nights in the company of lice and small-time crooks, who have no idea what constitutes decent conversation.

Say only the nicest things about her family, even when you're struggling to come up with any. Be creative.

You must understand that your eldest son will always take sides and you will not be in his team.

His siblings will innocently, as is the nature of children, repeat everything that was said about you in your absence and you must chide them for lying about their mother. How could they?

You will do it at your peril if you show just one jot of believing that Makatile Jnr said he overheard mommy say you were a donkey. Of course, reassure her, you know it is a term of endearment.

You go to every get-together on her side of the family even if it is a lazy Saturday afternoon affair to get the matriarch a new set of false teeth. Bringing a shiny digital camera along to capture the "say cheese" moment on film will earn you a truck-load of brownie points.

Stop pushing your luck. The only contraption you should learn to push - and without complaint - is the supermarket trolley. Every single one of the mall trips you miss at month-end will come back to haunt you when you're in the dog box.

While there, stop and chat to her friends and learn to call them "family friends".

Every outing where there's a good chance for you to be paraded, be there.

And say "I love you" as often as you say your own name when taking calls on your phone.

Read this book when it comes, follow every piece of advice because it will be from an expert and, trust me with your life, you will be guaranteed the most fantabulous December breaks for life.

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