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Snoring Thomas can tell a book by its cover

One morning, on my to work, I bought a newspaper. Then I jumped on the train. I could not breathe because the train was so full. I tried to open my newspaper, but I did not have enough space.

Anyway I squeezed myself between two fat ‘aunties’ in front of me. Now I could open my newspaper. By mis­take I opened the wrong pages—the jobs page. Anyway, maybe there was a really interesting job going, I thought to myself. But it was not an in­teresting job that caught my eye. It was this ad: “ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A JOB? We can provide you with a step-by-step guide on Who, How, and Which job to find. This service is available at R30,00 only. Write to Job Finding…….”

That sounded good. Lots of my friends don’t have jobs. So I thought I would send thirty rand of my ‘back­pay’. Then I could help all my friends. So, that afternoon, before I caught the train home, I sent my thirty rand to “Job Finding”.

I didn’t know what to expect. What services come through the post? After a few weeks, I got a note in the post. There was a parcel for me at the post office. I went to fetch it. When I got home, I opened the parcel. It was a book from Job Finding and it was called….Job Finding.

I thought that this book looked a bit small for R30. But then I thought — you can’t judge a book by its cover. I told all my friends to wait. By the time I finished the book, they would all have jobs.

So I sat down on the sofa to read it. The first chapter of the book is on how to choose a career. The book tells you about the good and bad things of different jobs — from a worker, to an office worker, to a manager. This is very funny, I thought. If I tell my friends about choosing, they will laugh at me. Jobs are so short today. Also if you are black in this place, you cannot choose, no matter what PW Botha says.

I tried chapter two. Chapter two is about looking for a job. This will be more useful than chapter one, I said to myself. The book shows you how to write a letter to a boss. But, I thought, these letters look very funny. They are not like the letters that I learnt at school. Something is wrong somewhere.

Then I looked at the cover. I saw that the book was not South African. It was about looking for jobs in Britain. The book talks about O-levels, Government Job centres, Industrial Tribunals. “What are all these things?” I asked myself.

Maybe this book is very useful in Bri­tain. And maybe it can help people a little here, telling you to look smart if you go for a job but any fool knows that. So it was thirty rand for nothing. You can buy new trousers and look very smart, for thirty rand. That will help you get a job, more than this silly book.

Then I saw the price of the book on the cover — one pound ninety in Britain. Now, I don’t know much about money — but I know that one pound ninety is not thirty rand.

I phoned a friend who works in a book shop. I asked her about the price.

She said, “If the book cost one pound ninety in Britain, at the most, it will cost R10 here. It sounds like someone is cheating you again.”

My friends came to see me — they were tired of waiting for my help. When I told them about the book, they were very angry. They said, “How can you waste your money like that? If we had thirty rand to spare , we would go to town and look for work ourselves.

“As for me, I will just read my comics. You see, comics don’t cheat. No-one gets angry when you read comics. Comics don’t promise to help people — and they don’t cost thirty rand.

These “Job Finding” people think that we are fools.

Heyta daar. See you next time.


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