Sod’s Law and Silver Linings: A Book by Gavin Bingë
Sod’s Law and Silver Linings: A Book by Gavin Binge
Review by Liz Millership
It would be fair to say that Gavin has had his share of close shaves. Coming from a country with an extraordinarily high crime rate, South Africa has doled out armed robberies, exploding cars and subsequent deep depression to this one individual. He’s lucky, and grateful to be alive. So what does one do after such experiences? Write a book, share it, work through it.
Gavin’s book ‘Sod’s Law and Silver Linings: My Path to the JET Programme’ is about the altered perspective he gained after dodging death, and quite simply, how he got here without dying. Within a 12 month period he experienced an exploding car coolant system, and a separate gearbox sudden malfunction, both whilst travelling at 100km/h on a busy highway thus losing all power and control of the vehicle. Shortly after, Gavin was attacked one evening at gunpoint. At first it seemed as though they wanted his car, but instead they took his phone and wallet. Relieved that ‘that was all’ and no shots were fired, Gavin can count himself incredibly lucky on this score – many in South Africa are not as fortunate.
Then 2 years later, Gavin’s home was broken into and his things stolen. And we’re just scratching the surface. The book details the range of his mishaps and misadventures with gusto and surprising good humour (at one point, he thinks his attackers want his balls) considering the awful events that happened, and the extremely serious injuries he sustained. When talking to him about what happened, he jokingly imagined himself emerging CSI-style from the flaming wreckage, suit still pristine before uttering an appalling one-liner as he smoothly dons some shades…”that car really…fired me up”.
(NB – the reality, however, was both a little less spectacular and much more painful).
But aside from physical injuries, Gavin also faced a problem that touches all of us – the difficulty of being a new graduate in an economic crisis. Frustration and an overwhelming sensation of inadequacy follows him on a sojourn into London, and when this doesn’t work out, back in Johannesburg, into an unsuitable job and into unemployment.
After the weight of these mental and physical struggles, anxiety and crushing worry set in. But, there was a silver lining. The JET programme. By his own admission, the process took 10 years from first hearing about it at university, but ultimately the signs pointed to Japan. Gavin even takes the time to give new JET’s some tips and pointers! As a fellow JET, I could only groan in agreement as I read about the worries and exasperation he experienced before and during that initial process, but agree enthusiastically at the happiness it’s brought him, and the potential that the programme has to give you that space of self-discovery.
Gavin wrote this book to work through his past and so it’s a personal journey, but its relevance to JETs old and new, to struggling graduates, and to anyone who has ever had bad luck is startling. What was I left with as I finished reading? “Life is certainly, spectacularly, magically and happily worth living” – Gavin Bingë.
Editors note: ‘Sod’s Law and Silver Linings: My path to the JET Programme‘ is available on Amazon in a Kindle edition, follow the link to get hold of a copy. Art work and cover created by Marissa Trierweiler. To see more of Marissa’s art work, click here.