The brutal purge of hilarious novelty T-shirts and other Marie Kondo tips

When Rebecca Davis decided to quit drinking, she made it her mission to find 'alternative' options to stay sane in an insane world. Here's Part X of our conversation with her about this arduous odyssey

20 June 2019 - 15:07 By Mila de Villiers
Rebecca Davis, author of 'Self-Helpless'.
Rebecca Davis, author of 'Self-Helpless'.
Image: Leila Dougan

Think "Rebecca Davis".

Adjectives including "SA's very best white" (merci for that one, Marianne Thamm), "award-winning journalist" and "the woman who puts the 'wit' in Twitter" ought to be conjured.

But "self-help author"?

If "nah, bru" is your initial response, not to worry - this born cynic would agree hands down.

Self-Helpless - Davis's latest contribution to the local literary scene which chronicles her year-long "journey" of immersing herself in the world of auras, chakras, sweat lodges, mindfulness and (much) more - was spawned when she resolved to undertake "one of the most difficult things I've ever done": Quit Drinking.

'Self-Helpless: A Cynic's Search for Sanity'.
'Self-Helpless: A Cynic's Search for Sanity'.
Image: Pan Macmillan

Intrigued as to why the struggle was so onerous? Take a look at the facts:

The former Rhodent (all together now: "eat, sleep, mare, repeat!") discovered alcohol at 18 and pursued her newfound hobby with such a "passionate intensity" that by the time she reached 34 she calculated that she had spent roughly 9,984 hours of her 16 years as dopper, well, drinking.

Abstaining from the Demon Drink made Davis question How. The. Hell. sober people cope with an increasingly insane world?

(And she has plenty to worry about - giraffes are facing extinction, Day Zero remains a shaky reality, the world is running out of sand... Things are even bleaker now than in '87, R.E.M.)

Cue the alternative method quest to stay sane inside insanity.

Keen to hear how that went down?

Take a deep breath ... Hold for three ... Exhale ...

Aaaaand read:

That time Haji lost the battle with her beau's hilarious novelty slogan T-shirts...

One of the numerous attempts Davis undertook to remain compos mentis was that of decluttering, à la zen guru Marie Kondo. (And yes, that involved chucking out books as well.)

"Kondo says you have to start your decluttering process with clothes. Don't ask why, just do," Davis writes in the chapter titled 'What Would Marie Kondo Do?'

Unfortunately this "ruthless purge" (Davis's words...) included having to part with her beloved "Everything Related to Elephants is Irrelephant" T-shirt.

While Haji had no qualms with Davis ridding herself of this lolz shirt, Davis despondently concedes that "I really do miss it. I really do. Ag, man...

"Although," she perks up, "I was just in New York and I bought this replacement T-shirt," she says with a mischievous glint in her eye.

"It has a picture of a cat on it and the cat is writing an exam, but it's really sad because it doesn't know any of the answers and it's just going 'meow, meow, meow' and then it says 'Stop Animal Testing'," she grins with a look of pure satisfaction.

Haji was "delighted" about her decision to replace "hilarious novelty slogan T-shirts with other novelty slogan T-shirts," Davis cheekily smiles.

"She thinks my wardrobe is puerile and immature and I need to grow up in that respect, and I have to start wearing age-appropriate clothes." *cue slight eye-roll*

"But there is something about a hilarious slogan T-shirt that just brings a smile to my day," Davis nods, dragging out "hilarious" in a pseudo-Texan drawl.


Stay tuned for the final part of our conversation: risking mall jail for the sake of self-improvement...