The year that shook us our core. The year that made us reevaluate our beliefs and life choices. The year where plans went to nought and the need to stay alive trumped every other need. Stating that the year 2020 has been an unusual year would be an understatement. It’s been a gruelling year; one characterised by an avalanche of bad news. Many deaths recorded…many families thrown into mourning, jobs lost, economies in shambles. As 2020 grinds to a halt within the next two weeks, it’s instructive that we do not forget the lessons it taught us. I have chosen to share mine in this post.
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 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.
The feat is reminiscent of the one recorded 18 years ago when Agbani Darego became the first native African to win the Miss World Beauty pageant. The ecstasy and frenzied excitement that followed Zozibini Tunzi’s victory at the 2019 installment of the Miss Universe competition is understandable, This time around, it’s not just a black woman clinching the coveted crown, it’s a black woman with short, natural hair beating more than 90 other women whom society would have considered a better semblance of acceptable beauty in the modern world.
Individual mystery is getting scarcer by the day. Our lives are an open book because it is no longer fashionable to keep mum on one’s activities. The virtual community continues to prompt us to share— and we succumb— letting friends and foes alike into everything that defines our essence. Gone are the days when circumspection was an unwritten rule. The times when one made moves in silence are long forgotten, and though some people still hold onto the holy grail of a life void of incessant displays, these lots are a negligible percentage.
It starts at an early age: the dream and need to belong. To be one of the cool kids. The drive to be affiliated with wealth and recognition began in high school; children from average homes who did all they could to be friends with the kids from affluent backgrounds. They devised every means to be viewed as one of the creme de la cremes of the student society. Some of them went as far as denying their own parents or seeing them discreetly when they came visiting because they needed to keep up an appearance.
Ayo is an OND holder who now has a thriving business. He is dating Jane, a freshman in the university. Because Jane comes from a penurious background, Ayo has opted to foot all her school bills; and not only that, he takes care of her feeding and general welfare also. The lovers have an agreement to get married as soon as Jane concludes the mandatory National Youth Service Corps. Their parents are also aware of this, and Jane’s parents who live in the village are especially grateful to Ayo for the constant financial support he lends.
Two separate faux pas in vastly different climes stemming from posts in the virtual space produced regrettable outcomes—a police detainment—and a firing. Aftermaths that underscore the fact that social media isn’t an isolated platform or negligible medium and virtual recklessness in form of crass jokes or cheeky remarks are still liable to be punished. Recently, up-and-coming artiste, Naira Marley unwittingly initiated his own arrest when men of the anti-fraud agency, EFCC paid him an early morning visit and subsequently detained him because of his endorsement of fraudsters, popularly called “Yahoo Boys” while BBC radio and TV host, Danny Baker was fired by his employers on account of his apalling tweet regarding the royal newborn.