Instead of following the lemmings to the gym, take up a vice this new year

A vice may not do your body good, but it can do wonders for your soul

12 January 2020 - 00:00 By
Vegan, schmegan.
Vegan, schmegan.
Image: 123RF/Roman Stetsyk

Planet Earth has just run a circle around the sun for the however many billionth time and, as subjects of the Dictatorship of Self Improvement, that means we're all now compelled to make New Year's resolutions.

Gyms will be clogged, diet plans shall be peddled like Lance Armstrong after a fresh hit of EPO and the air filled with the stench of self-satisfaction as well-meaning civilians go through the charade of thinking that any of these things will make us happy.

The prevailing wisdom sold to us by the marketing team at Health Industry Inc seems to be that all this shiny health will transform you from a creepy Rasputin knock-off into some kind of luminescent brand ambassador of "You", a walking billboard flaunting the benefits of living your best life.

What the sales team invariably neglect to mention, however, is that while vice may not do the body good, it can do wonders for the soul and at the very least make you more interesting than your friend who just joined Virgin Active and now can't stop yapping about glutes. So instead of pitching the top five best resolutions for blah blah blah, we present to you a few good ideas to keep your inner rebel happy:


Greta what's-her-face will almost certainly be upset with you, as will all your newly-vegan friends who just saw that documentary, The Game Changers, on Netflix. But so what. Meat is delicious. This is an anecdotally proven fact. Animal flesh is so tasty that disciples of the vegan agenda masquerading as scientists have spent billions of dollars creating artificial meat.

We're not talking about that lean, flavourless chicken breast malarkey that diet Nazis are so fond of either. Eat the kind of meat that gets lathered in something. The kind that fills a room with a beautiful, saucy smell that makes your arteries tingle with excitement.

Before you fall victim to the healthy living power-point presentation, remember that while vegan food can be tasty, tracking it down is often harder than finding water in the Karoo and far less satisfying.

Furthermore, what happiness are you going to derive from filling you body with all this high-octane, super-efficient but ultimately boring plant matter when a plate full of well-marinated pork ribs will not only fill that hole in your gut but also the one in your soul.


Here is the thing; gyms are cesspools.

Imagine, in a country with as much beautiful weather as ours, stuffing yourself into active wear and walking into a mirrored torture chamber where all the inhabitants are either trying to out-sweat or out-grunt each other. The machines are confusing and the men leer like teenage boys in a girls' changing room. Woe betide anyone who is not well-versed in the intricacies of a Smith machine or does not own the correct pair of Lululemon stretchy pants thingies.

Then you get to the actual changing room and are confronted with aggressive nudity as elderly gym rats cavort and socialise as if having a conversation with your distended testicles on display is the most natural thing in the world.

People actually pay for this.

It seems to me that a much more enjoyable thing to do would be to set up camp in your living room, open YouTube, find a vlogger who looks like they talk about trapezoids or whatever they're called and do his/her work-out while you watch The Handmaid's Tale. Complete your routine with nice glass of wine.


This is not the same as getting drunk more, but drinking, in and of itself, is a singularly wonderful exercise. When done moderately it coats your brain in a soothing layer of confident relaxation. It's not a coincidence that so many cultures around the world stumbled upon alcohol while humanity was still in its infancy.

Furthermore, current trends mean that there are so many new and tasty concoctions to try, thus it's a great way to practise your creativity. Have you ever tried a Pineapple Julep? Or a tequila Old Fashioned? No? Well now you have something fun to try next time you get home from work.


The world is unbearably full of things that absolutely require all that our emotional petrol tanks have to give. Herr Trump wants to start WW3. Australia is burning. Al-Shabaab is blowing people up in Somalia. Brazil is burning. The Japanese aren't reproducing. Turtles can't stop swallowing straws. Greta Thunberg is upset with everyone over 25. Rhino horns are being used as Viagra. The DRC is a hot mess. Your wife is cheating. The kids are not as smart as Baby Einstein promised they would be. Cisgender people can't stop violating LGBTQIA+ rights. Patriarchy. The list goes on ad infinitum.

Thanks to social media and the legions of angry people it puts us in touch with, we are all now inundated with things to care about, and frankly it is exhausting. Caring less does not mean you need to become some cartoon villain about the things you couldn't be bothered about; remember empathy is easily faked and greatly appreciated. Rather pick a couple of bees that you are going to allow into your bonnet and then close off all entry.

Trying to care about everything is probably why we're all depressed and making therapists richer than Croesus. People often say caring about something is not a zero-sum game and perhaps for those people it isn't. Some of us, however, only have so many dogs and must judiciously pick which fights to put them in. All those clumsy cliches are just another way of saying sometimes it's OK not to be arsed.