Category: friends and enemas

Nature scene

“I wish I had the balls to do that, I thought, as I enviously watched the juggler.” [Brett Andy]


My favourite saying guy in the world is a guy called Jack Handey… if you don’t know who he is, then you probably have not hung out with me long enough.

Classics such as:

I guess of all my uncles, I liked Uncle Cave Man the best. We called him Uncle Cave Man because he lived in a cave and because sometimes he’d eat one of us. Later on we found out he was a bear.

Why do the caterpillar and the ant have to be enemies? One eats leaves, and the other eats caterpillars. Oh, I see now.

I remember how, in college, I got that part-time job as a circus clown, and how the children would laugh and laugh at me. I vowed, then and there, that I would get revenge.

And probably a life time favourite: “Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, you’ll be a while away and have his shoes.”

That inspired me a couple of years ago when i was in Americaland to try and come up with my own Jack Handey styled comments and while the majority of them were not nearly as good as the majority of Jack’s, i did have a lot of fun and a number of them came pretty close. Thus Brett Andy’s were born:

‘Do you think if minutes were edible, they’d taste good enough that we’d want to go back for seconds?’
[Brett Andy]

‘I would imagine a horse drawn carriage would be a really ugly thing. For starters, it must be almost impossible to grip a pencil with hooves. Plus there is all that fine detail around the edges to consider.’ [Brett Andy]

‘People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t.’ [Brett Andy]

‘I heard “Thyme heals all wounds” but when I rubbed some of it into my cut last night it just left me with this nasty rash.’ [Brett Andy]

‘I started a business designing and manufacturing shoes for circus clowns using the lead from discarded pencils. But I had to stop once I was made aware of the huge carbon footprint I was creating.’ [Brett Andy]

i have not come up with any new Brett Andy’s for a long time and perhaps i should because it was fun to play around with words and in particular puns and misdirection. i do have a Brett Andy site where they all live and started improving it by adding random nature pics alongside the thoughts, but it still has a long way to go.


i also enjoy coming up with my own sayings and back when i was a youth leader at Claremont Baptist there were a couple of guys called Taylor [Julian and Stephen] and also a Fritz and Mark Baker and some others who we used to come up with these with. One of my favourite and most successful at the time was, ‘Hey mann’.

i know a lot of people. i used to write for a very popular Christian magazine in South Africa called ‘Truth’, at one time i was a DJ called The Penitent Guppy [i know!] on a Christian radio station called CCFM and i used to do a lot of youth, school and church speaks… but i didn’t always know their names. This has always been one of the toughest lines of maintaining integrity for me [which i often get badly wrong] as Honesty is one of my biggest values, but when someone comes up and so obviously remembers you and greets you with a huge, “Hey, Brett Fish!” and you respond with, “i’m sorry i don’t remember you” that can be tough, and people get disappointed to.

So the more generic ‘Hey mann’ which incidentally worked for women two as double-M man was the gender-neutral ‘guys’ type word. And any time someone walked up to us we would be like ‘Hey mann’ and it became a warm and you’re-part-of-the-group inclusive greeting. And saved me a lot of lying. Because once you’ve been ‘Hey mann’d you feel like you are known.


We actually came up with a whole bunch of other fun sayings as well. One of my favourites was to randomly point wildly behind someone and as they turned to look, shout, “LOOK, A DISTRACTION!”

Another one we used to do when we’d be in a restaurant with a bunch of mates and a really obviously particular band song would start playing, say Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and one of us would loudly exclaim, “Aw man, I LOVE The Pet Shop Boys” or some band clearly far removed from the actual one. Private little joke for us but often people will explain and point it out which makes the joke funnier as you sincerely, “Oh? Wow. Flip. Cool” their ‘knowledge’.

The third one that comes to mind that we had a number of variations of, was to look at someone and say, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but…’ and then follow it up with a compliment that was virtually impossible to take the wrong way:

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but i really like your shoes.

And it was so great cos people didn’t know what to do with it. You brace yourself for the insult that is obviously coming and then you hear a compliment and then you get confused and typically peoples’ response would be, “How could i take that the wrong way?” by which time the laugh was already there. These always worked much better if a Julian or a Stephen or Fritz was nearby to enjoy it with you, but sometimes it was worth whipping it out on other occasions.


i love making sayings up. If i was completely honest i guess i would love for there to be people all over the country or world quoting me like Jack Handey, which may have happened if Brett Andy had taken off a little more.

One of my more random sayings i came up with years ago, which is completely ridiculous, but which i love and made into a Brett Andy by association, is this one:

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it throw stones in glass houses.

i’m not sure why but i just dig it.

i would love to say stuff more deeply that lines from my talks would become sayings in cards and on bumper stickers as well, but i’m not sure that’s going to happen either. If you’re saying stuff for the purpose of people repeating it, then you’re probably quite misdirected anyways, so probably not a good one to aim at. And totally a feel-good pride thing of ‘hey that person said my thing’ so completely unnecessary.

i did ALMOST get a Hip Hop Dance video made of the one saying i often start camps with though:

God, you’re bigger than my box

You’re bigger than my theology

You’re bigger than my understanding

You’re bigger than me

We got the demonstration [Houseboat Camp 2014 on Lake Shasta] but never quite got the video, which is probably for the better cos it was one of the most bizarre things that has ever happened to me. But it was also completely GREAT so i’ll file that in the memory box.

i just suddenly thought about movie quotes and in particular, Monty Python, but i think that will have to be saved for a different Highlight Post cos that will be a long one by itself.

No, it won’t.

Yes it will.

I’ll come in again…

Jack Handey quote

[For others of the 100 Highlight Moments of My Life, click here]

i have been enjoying these conversations with Trevor Black from Swart Donkey. Back and forth five times on a topic with about 100 words a time. This is our third collaborative blog conversation, this time with a focus on Listening to the Listeners. i hope you will enjoy it.

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Trev: I loved the Free Speech board at my university residence. Most of the time it was empty, but occasionally it would burst into activity. Continue reading

Mumford and Fish

Mumford and Fish

These are three of my best friends: Dunc, Majay and Rob. And missing from that pic is Reegs who is also one of my longest life buddies. And of course my wife, the beautiful Val [aka tbV, which so many of you keep thinking stands for The Lovely Val because of, um, the B, obviously] who made this photo [taken at my 40th after these clowns performed a satirical rendition of one of my favourite Mumford songs complete with homemade pizza box guitar and changed up lyrics] possible, plus of course let’s not forget the boob cake. Continue reading


This week has been a little fighty fighty on the Facebook and i’m not sure why.

i strongly suspect it is linked to the Rugby World Cup that has been happening as touching on that ‘holy grail’ in a country so passionate about the sport definitely touches a nerve. As does most conversation about race.

So in the midst of three days of more ‘taking people on’ than i am typically used to, i had someone post on my wall that he was “troubled by the fact that you have an opinion about everyone and everything” and concerned about something i’d called someone and suggesting i was not being consistent in my beliefs and actions.

Which hurt me a little bit?

WHAT? Brett ‘Fish’ Anderson hurt by something someone said? Well… you know… there’s a difference between ‘Not caring what people think’ and ‘Not caring what people think’.

i think everyone likes to be liked by people. And so when there is a moment of that not happening, it bums us out. Or maybe that’s just me, but there is definitely a moment of: ‘Oh no, someone doesn’t like me’.

When a second person jumped on the first person’s comment to back him up on the fact that i do have rather a lot to say on Facebook and i could be less rude, that didn’t help. [Although we did manage to talk it out and come to a bit more of a happy ending i believe].


i’m okay though. i didn’t cry myself to sleep. She may have turned me into a newt, but… i got better! [obscure but brilliant Monty Python reference]

There are a couple of things i feel might be worth mentioning around this, especially for people who constantly challenge and question and wrestle and invite others to do the same: There will be pushback. Not all of that pushback is going to be good or accurate or helpful. But not all of it is going to be bad. Some of it might even be a little bit of both.

So what do you do? Well there is this amazing line in one of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian church where he talks about ‘Testing the spirits. Holding on to the good and avoiding every kind of evil.’ Which is excellent advice.

Was what was said about me true? Was it totally true or was there any truth in there? If so, pay attention to it, learn and move on. [Maybe thank the person for pointing it out!]

If it’s not true at all, then let it go. i was talking to tbV about it in the car a little later and she reminded me about some things some other people had been saying to me recently which were helpful and true. They helped me to put both of these things in perspective.


One thing that was interesting was that both comments on this particular thread came from people i don’t think i’ve had any interaction with for years. Which doesn’t mean what they said was not true. But it does suggest that there is a lack of relationship and so i hold it a little more loosely than when my good buddy Bruce Collins challenged me on a stance i was taking on Facebook a few weeks ago and warned me that he thought i had crossed a line.

You see, i have invited Bruce to speak into my life. i have no doubt that he loves me and he has championed me and encouraged me and cheered when i have done well and loved me so much that when he questions something, it still hurts [who likes to be told they are wrong?] but i know it can be trusted. i won’t necessarily always agree with him either [because we’re different people although we definitely agree on more than we disagree on] but i will listen and really dig deeply into what i said and question it because i know it was spoken in love.


i imagine everyone’s process works differently. But the way it typically works for me is that if someone challenges me i will probably give immediate reaction push-back, but i will go and think about it later and it might take a day or two for me to process and realise, ‘Oh wait, actually they were right’ which means having to go back, tail between my legs and apologise to them and thank them for challenging me. But it happens.

And you don’t have to have good relationship with me to hold me accountable. i expect and invite everyone to hold me accountable for everything i say and do – i realise i live a bit of a public life and so that is completely necessary. But then there are certain people who i love and trust and have no doubt they love and trust me who i have invited to jump in when they see me out of line and bring rebuke and caution and challenge and so i am more likely to listen to them more easily and quickly than someone who is not.

Which makes a lot of sense. Because as i mentioned before, i am speaking/writing/sharing a lot about Race and Reconciliation and Christianity and Relationships and more and some of these topics get pretty heated. It would not be wise to agree with everything said to me in response to conversations had around those topics. But it is good to have some trustworthy people specifically watching my back on these to help keep me in line.

i am so grateful that my pool of people i trust to speak this kind of Truth in Love into my life is so huge. It is not easy being the person who brings the caution/challenge/rebuke as it is not easy being the person who receives it. But it is so crucially important and necessary to ensure a life that is consistent with beliefs, that will hopefully be used to be a part of significant conversation and action.

What has your experience with accountability been? Giving it or receiving it? Who are the people who you have invited to speak Truth in Love when it counts? 

[For some other thoughts on Friendship, click here]

How to be a better ally text

When i was looking for an image to reflect the idea of becoming an Ally i found this poster and really liked it. Because the question that i am wrestling with at the moment is just that: How to Be a Better Ally, specifically when it comes to matters of Race.

And possibly one of the biggest pieces of this puzzle is that the answer should not have to come from people of colour. Which is a little confusing to me, but also is starting to make more and more sense. How typically privileged and entitled of me to expect that my friends of colour must do the hard work of figuring out the answer so they can tell me and i can just do it.

i represent the consequence of the problem [apartheid and the attached mindsets and systems that empowered it] and so it makes sense that i do some of the hard work and face getting uncomfortable and things being a little awkward [or a lot] and for there to be some kind of cost involved and so i am committing to doing just that and trying to figure out and share some helpful ways of how we can be better allies.

At the same time, the white guy coming up with the solution is also not helpful. So balancing those two, while tricky, feels doable. i am going to need help and advice and sounding boards and maybe a nudge in the right direction from my friends of colour, i am going to need grace and patience and perseverance and kindness. So please feel free to tell me where i am getting it wrong. i don’t easily take that kind of information from anyone, but i am sure it will happen and i hope you will help me out.

Thank you to so many people who have helped me on this journey. And continue to. i have so much hope for South Africa. And refuse to give up on it now. Let’s figure this out together…

Starting with this helpful chart i found on the internets:


Part 1: The Ten Commandments of Communication

Part 2: Handing Over The Mic


Let’s face it, most of us are going to be late occasionally. But it’s when you make it a consistent habit that it becomes annoying and it is another character trait that can really affect a friendship. Especially if you do it enough that you become known as ‘that guy/that girl’.

[And it might be important to throw in a cultural disclaimer here cos this is definitely a very western time-focused mindset to have and other cultures have different ways of viewing time which are not worse just because they are not mine so that would be an interesting conversation to have – any thoughts on time?]

But going back to those who know and understand the cultural norm and continue to disregard it. STOPPIT! i imagine a lot of people are unaware that they are doing it or just don’t care enough to make a change.

And at the very least you can send a text or a call to let the people know you are running late – especially when it’s a movie or a function and people might be waiting for you to start. It is just a lot of rudeness to know that you are running late and not inform the person organising the event and your lateness affects their plans.

This is something Cape Town people seem to be particularly bad at. We really have to get better. It can be incredibly frustrating.



A little p.s on this one for all the Facebookers out there. While Facebook Event ‘Yesses’ are definitely far from being a complete science, it would be a lot more helpful if we could become more honest with our responses.

The way i interpret a Facebook event “Yes” is as a maybe and a “Maybe” is definitely a no. It would be helpful if we just say what we mean. No one is going to lose a friendship over you saying ‘No’ to their event – they have invited 100 people and probably won’t even notice. But when you “maybe” it gives hope, and when you “yes” it gives expectation and so rather just stick to your actual anticipated answer to make things that little bit easier for those trying to run an event.

If i accidentally invited you to an event forgetting you are currently in another country, your “yes” really is unhelpful.

This is quite an easy one to change all around – being late is usually solved through a bit of pre-planning or organisation of the day in advance. And being more accurate on Facebook events feels like a no brainer.

What about you? What bad habits do people have that make it hard for you to be friends with them? Share them in the comments.


[For other bad habits that people have which make them less than stellar friends, click here]

Aaron Fullerton pic

Continuing to share some of Aaron’s story of his journey with and away from testicular cancer which you can find in full over here, i decided to grab three sections from three longer posts to share some of the insights he gained along the way as well as some of the challenges he faced and encouragements he received along the way. There is something for us all to learn here:

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With no power comes much less responsibility [which is nice]

Mind over matter extends to attitude and optimism, and I still feel very optimistic about this whole cancer thing. But mind over matter isn’t about control, and it’s been truly humbling to learn that. Cancer and chemo are going to battle inside my body for awhile – that’s the deal. I can view it through whatever-colored lenses I choose, but I can’t control the process. I can’t make the pain submit to my will. I’m not an Expendable.

I’ve touched on this before, but recognizing how little you’re in control? It’s a valuable experience. More than ever, I have to accept that I’m not in charge. I’m not God and my plans may not be His.

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It’s cancer but you can call it “Terriballs” if you want to

“Cancer’s not the bad word it used to be.” That’s what one of the lab technicians told me as I had to do insane breathing exercises that simulated blowing up balloons underwater or something. “Yes,” I told her, “you can even say it on network television now.” We went on to discuss health care, our faith lives, and how much she loves Bones, but I keep thinking about how she casually downgraded the word “cancer”… and how badly I needed to hear it.

Cancer. That dang word has been one of my biggest obstacles. I fear pity and I hate worry, so I want to distance myself from a word that carries such weight and stigma. I wish I could call my condition something like testiculitis, or terriballs, or a bad case of the nutz. (Probably the first one.) Most of the time, when you drop the word cancer, it lands on the floor with a shatter, sending shock waves of seriousness through the conversation. It hints at mortality and suffering. It turns goofy laughter into tight, serious smiles with sympathetic eyes. That never happens when you just have terriballs.

Chemo, too. The moment I name drop “chemo,” I know people are trying to imagine me 20 pounds lighter and minus a head of hair. In movies, characters who go through chemo almost always die at the end, especially if Abigail Breslin won’t give them her bone marrow. American vernacular has given the word a ring of hopelessness.

I’m not trying to say chemo and cancer aren’t serious or difficult. They are. But they’re large, encompassing words that include a variety of experiences. I’ve been feeling owned by these words, by their ability to put me in a box, to define me in the eyes of others.

But now I’m realizing: I’m the one with the mouth. I’m the one with the pen, the keyboard. I get to define cancer as it applies to me. I don’t have to write “cancer” or “chemo” apologetically. I don’t have to say them carefully, with a wince. They’re my words now and I will use them in whatever flippant fashion I SO PLEASE. “Yeah, dude, just zippin’ on over to chemo to do a little cancer blastin’, then we can ron-day at Chili’s and watch the sports contest.” I don’t really talk like that, but I think you get the idea. Cancer? Chemo? You guys are mere nouns to me right now.

Maybe it’ll still stop others in their tracks. Maybe the words will grow heavier on me as time passes. I’m not sure yet. But if I precede those nouns with odd, pregnant pauses, then I’m giving power to something that doesn’t deserve it. For now, the only time I’ll say “cancer” with a somber tone is if I’m trying to get a free appetizer at Chili’s.

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Hairless & Magically Healing like E.T.

I’ve spent most of 2013 either in bed or in a medically reclining chair. Chemo, especially as you get deeper into your cycles, zaps you of energy. And when you’re lacking energy, you start to feel like you’re lacking your own personhood. Narcissism creeps in and you start to believe that the world won’t really keep going while you’re down. Nothing all that important will happen without you – you write topical tweets about the news, for Pete’s sake! But the world forgets and the days fall by the wayside and when time passes without you and you’ve contributed nothing to the world, you feel like the disease is stealing some of your personality. (I mean, looking through these tumblr posts chronologically, I can see my joke-to-paragraph ratio fall to a point where I worry if solemnity is becoming me.)

But then, like E.T., something comes along with a magical healing touch (and bald head) and helps remind you who you are. As you may have seen in my twitter feed, my co-workers made the incredibly touching decisions of shaving their heads. It’s a tried-and-true move of solidarity, but it still feels (and is) incredibly personal. As they sent me pictures of their half-shorn heads through the evening, a tear may have formed in the crinkle of my eye. It’s not just that it was for me – it’s that it had the goofiness, whimsy, and, yes, ballsiness I would have wanted it to have. It reminded me of who I am day-to-day, when I’m not stuck in a bed. It was a welcome jolt, a refreshing laugh. It was a deeply felt and appreciated act. It made me feel like maybe the world is spinning without me, but damn it there are people who are determined to make sure my mark on it doesn’t easily disappear. Somehow, I keep getting luckier.

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You can follow Aaron Fullerton on the Twitterer at @AaronFullerton

[To read some more of the posts i have shared from Aaron’s blog, click here]

[For other Taboo Topic stories of people struggling with cancer, click here]


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