I had quite a few vulnerable moments during my university days. Days when I struggled to juggle the demands of school work and life outside of school. Days when I loathed hostel life and the idea of having a roommate because a girl just needs to be alone sometimes. There were many challenges, and of course, there were good times. But I can never forget that ONE time I was constipated.
They are not mutually exclusive. Not by any stretch. Yet, it’s a wonder how some of the greatest critics have nothing much going for them by way of achievements. I have always said I’d rather be the one doing something (even if mediocre) others get a chance to criticise rather than be the one who’s always on the lookout for the mistakes of others. It makes sense to carry out even the most mundane tasks with unfettered gusto. It makes sense because the attitude and diligence with which we execute the basest of tasks is a reflection of how well we’d do if we took up more complex assignments.
We need to demystify death. That trepidation and awe we feel when we think about the concept of death is not doing us plenty of good. In particular, the idea that once a person dies, they assume a god-like status that forbids the living from criticising them is ludicrous. It makes little sense because memories are what they are and cannot be twisted or erased on account of a person’s demise. The controversy around this issue often comes to the fore when a prominent person—usually a politician or government official—dies. As soon as the news filters to the public, opinions on how well they lived while on this side are divided.
He was on board a plane when turbulence hit. It wasn’t the more common moments of instability that last a few minutes. The aircraft bopped around for too long; long enough for passengers to get jittery. Soon enough, the forced calm, frantic gazes and whispered prayers mutated progressed to stifled shrieks and vocal prayers to higher powers. It was a local flight, which made things worse. No matter how often one flew and arrived safely, they still boarded flights with some measure of trepidation. For many, the heart-shattering images from the ruins of aircraft crashes remain etched in their memory.
I stumbled upon an interesting concept while reading an article on Medium. The writer, while giving tips for professional writers, advised that they try to identify their natural habitat when it comes to writing. She gave an example of A list Hollywood stars who have distinguished themselves by playing roles that only they could have given the best expression to. For instance, there’s a reason Steve Martin would excel far more in a comedy role than he would playing a superhero. In the same way, Wesley Snipes’ inimitable interpretation when he dons the hat of a villain is testament to his suitability for the character.
I remember when I was a newbie driver some 12 years ago. I was excited; I was thrilled because finally, I could get into a car and move it on the road by myself. Without the help of a driving instructor or friend. My “learner vehicle” was an old, hitherto abandoned Mazda 626 which had to be retrieved from the mechanic’s workshop for my driving lessons. It was a car none of my siblings would touch with a long pole because it would “demarket” them. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to drive and anything on wheels was good enough.
From the moment she’s born, the odds are stacked against her. The prejudice is unending. Her life is defined by rule after rule. She’s to conduct herself with the piety of a nun. Even then, she’s an endangered species. Her body, an object of torment; her aspirations, subject to the uncertainties of treading a treacherous path. All because she’s female. Being female the world over, just like being black, is an extreme sport. It takes a miracle to go through the darts that life throws unscathed when the essence of who you are is considered a limiting factor.
The average Nigerian despises the rich. There’s a pervading belief that every well-off person is in some way responsible for the widespread poverty in the land. As a result, the masses do not care whether the wealthy inherited their fat pockets on account of a line up of affluent ancestors or as a product of some business hocus pocus. The consensus is if they aren’t gnashing their teeth to put food on the table like the majority, they must have shortchanged the rest of us to attain such status. It’s a no-win situation for the well-to-do.
I had made a Facebook post about the former Chelsea player, Diego Costa sharing a striking resemblance in looks and temperament with the fictional comic character, Captain Haddock of the Adventures of TinTin series fame. It was an epiphany I thought to put out just as it hit me. A few minutes later, I got a notification that someone had responded to my post. It was a random Facebook friend. He commented with something along the lines of asking me to leave Chelsea alone since I was a Manchester United fan.
Time was when we were swamped to our necks. If you stayed in any of the crazy cities of the world; the Lagos’ and Newyork’s and the Tokyo’s and the London’s, attributing every shortcoming to the lack of time was a genuine excuse. In Lagos where I live, it’s the norm to leave home as early as four in the morning and return as late as eleven at night, so yes, saying you didn’t have enough time on your hands to meet yet another deadline or take a look at your child’s homework was acceptable.
Enter COVID-19, the game-changer.