Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whose exams is it anyway? “Definitely not yours mom!”

“So what are you reading?” I asked as I bumped into Alex’s room
He jumped guiltily and tried to hide the Mad magazine he was reading, he then put a notebook in front of him. I pretended not to see the Mad that has just been pushed under his table and reached out for the notebook which had Social Studies on the cover, but was filled with drawings- spider/super/batman; rubber man and what looked like a cross between Sango and a rabbit.
“Oh! Sorry about that.” He said as he snatched the notebook from me and thrust another one with the title of ‘Social Studies’ written on it.
“Okay, hold on, let’s rewind and start from the very beginning.” I said as I picked up the Mad lying underneath the table.
My head was filled to overflowing with the thought that I have somehow failed my son. The sins of my youth have finally caught up with me; it must have been passed through the genes. Images of my mum and me in scenes horribly similar to this passed through my head …well except for the drawings…mine were stories. I had a sense of déja vu; I didn’t know how to proceed…should I start yelling or use the loving mum tactic?
“Well?” I asked again, basically because I didn’t know what to say next. Alex first stood up and put a healthy distance between us.
“Emm, which one?”
“Mad, that Mad under the table”
“…and I’ll prefer the original version of the story, not the remix.”
“I was tired of reading social studies, so I decided to take a break…”
“By reading a comic?”
“Should I have watched a movie?” he asked, all innocence.
“Don’t even start with that! I’m dead serious here!”
“Sorry mum, I’ve read it so many times I just wanted to read something aside from my notes.”
“Okay, what about the Social Studies notebook full of drawings?”
“Well, our Social Studies teacher is veeeeeery boooooring, and tends to go on and on about being a good boy or girl, so whenever he starts I draw in my fake social studies notebook.”
“You know you’re not supposed to do that!”
“Yes, I know I am supposed to pay attention in class, and yes I know how expensive the school is, and I know how I will disgrace YOU if I fail MY exams… mum you keep going on as if this is the ONLY exam I’ve ever done. Since the day I came back home and told you we were starting exams, you have been going on at me…and you made me scared.”
“Oh so now it’s my fault…” I asked, I was at a loss
“I am not blaming you, I’m just telling you that the way you have been going on scared me. I mean you keep sneaking up on me and asking me funny questions, and waking me up at 5am to read… I am still in JSS 1 you know, I’m not reading for SSCE or something...”

Whose exams is it anyway? (1)

Early Thursday morning I woke my son up and tried to hustle him into the bathroom and to school, but he wouldn’t budge. I finally managed to drag his bedclothes off him and I looked into his huge black eyes swimming with tears. I sighed, suspecting what was to come.
“So what is it this morning Alex?”
“Oooh mum I’m dying.” He groaned, dragging his bedclothes out of my hand
“Mmm … interesting, so what is killing you … this morning?” I asked rolling my eyes heavenwards.
“I can’t breathe, which is a sure sign that MY ASTHMA (notice the emphasis on the word MY) is back,” he coughed to prove it
“I also have malaria. If you feel my body you’ll realize that my temperature is veery high.” Whispering now and speaking slowly, I nodded in sympathy, ‘mmm-ing’ along with him.
“And mom, the worst thing is this headache…it is too much, in fact I can barely see right now.” He said as a tear rolled down his left cheek (God knows how long he practiced that move in front of a mirror).
“Awww, poor baby.” I cooed, feeling his forehead and the base of his neck (noting the lack of heat and presence of a steady pulse) he looked surprised, that was the last response he expected, “You can stay in bed all day long. Pele…”
“Wha..wha…what? But moooooom…”
“Yes honey” I said walking out of the room
“But I am starting my first term exams this morning.” He yelled, I didn’t even look back “Really? Don’t worry about that, you won’t need it.” I said with the same even tone I’ve been using with him. As I walked towards my room, I heard his footfall (quite springy for a boy who was about to die a few minutes earlier).
“But mooooooooom!” I turned back and smiled at my son
“You shouldn’t be out of bed you know Alex.” I said
“I have exams!”
“I have to go to school.”
“No you don’t…see those three things, the headache, fever and asthma are sure signs of death…”
“Noooo! It’s not asthma, it’s just a cough!”

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Driving in Nigeria Made Easy

First, I want to say ‘congratulations’ on the acquisition of your new ‘tokunbo tear rubber car’, we go wash am, many more to come o! Next, I want to advice you not to take driving lessons, they are WAY too expensive and those driving instructors don’t know what they are doing anyway. The only thing to do is purchase your drivers license from your favorite ‘hawker’ at the licensing office…it ranges between N5,000 and N10,000 naira…depending on your ‘mugun’ status. Oh and forget that big ‘L’(learner) thingy they ask you to hang on your car…everybody will then be looking at you in a funny way because how can you just be learning how to drive at your age? (Shameless agbaya) so, please to save face, don’t use it.

Now ask one of your friends who can drive to take you to a football field, you can practice there and if there are people on the field, all the better to learn how to be a ‘hit and run’ driver.

Before you leave home…

B. ALL DANFO DRIVERS ARE YOUR ENEMIES. They are actually not human, once they get behind that danfo steering wheel they become acolytes of the devil, they mutate into…emm…emm cyborgs, no Smiggle…no something worse…I leave the rest to your imagination, but believe me, they are out to get you!

C. Get your road rage in place, so u ask me what road rage is …mmm okay, think of all the bad things that have happened to you recently, if none comes to mind think of the Nigerian government…now you are in the right mood yep! You are VERY angry, angry enough to hit someone, deliberately, in rage. “Yep that’s road rage.”

As you enter your car
a. Try to remember the exact place you’re going, bring out your hand drawn map and stick it to your dashboard “what’s a dashboard? Emmm, emmm that thing in front of you silly! No? What do you mean by no! I’m telling you some…oh that’s your steering wheel silly! Yeah, every other thing is called a dashboard…I think.”

b. Practice the abuses in your ‘Yapping Danfo drivers in Ten Nigerian languages’.

c. Take a deep breath and wish your family members a fond farewell, don’t forget to tell your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/whatever that you love them but Jesus loves them more.

d. Wait! Don’t forget your “Yapping Danfo drivers in Ten Nigerian languages”at home; (enquiries about purchasing the book should be directed to me, thank you) you can put that on your dashboard… “what do you mean by what is a dashboard? Abeg no start again o!”

As you enter the main road
a. Play road hockey with Okadas and their riders, it is allowed. In fact it’s the latest rage in keeping fit.

b. Bring out your dictionary, although the abuses are best in your native language, but for those of us who can’t speak our native tongues because we are too Ajebotaish (better still too dumb) to learn it please bring it out. The abuses are to be rained quickly and with flair.

…to be continued. Watch out for part 2…Grab your copy NOW!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Politics of Inequality

As George Orwell said in his book, Animal Farm, and I paraphrase “All animals are equal, but luckily for us, some are more equal than others.”
Equality is a noble ideal, treatise have been written on it, people have killed (and have been killed) for it – “Plebeians arise and strike down the aristocrats! All men shall be equal!”
History is full of examples of the majority arising to cast off the yoke of enslavement placed upon them by a powerful minority – China, Russia, France, India, China and our very own Zimbabwe.
Men have endured unimaginable ills, inflicted upon them on them by this powerful minority, until they are pushed to the wall – then they face their foes in a blind rage and smite! They maim! Murder! Burn! – Until the minority flees or die.
“We’ve had enough.” Their actions say, for words would have become useless tools at this point.
When man reaches this stage, the scene is at once both glorious and gory, sensitive men ignore the gore and focus on the glory. The best and basest of human character comes to play – the musicians sing lustfully of heroic deeds, the drummers beat out primordial rhythms on drums made out of human skin – and the people sway to the beats as one, they are on a mission, they have a higher calling.
They want, no they beg to be martyred, the shout of “Liberté, egalité, fraternité et justice!” rents the air. “Gimme my motherland or I die!” At this point man always win, they win the war and they always lose the battle.
Because after the dust settles and the rubble is cleared…and George Orwell said in his book, Animal Farm, and I paraphrase – “All men are equal, unfortunately (and forevermore) some are simply more equal than others!”
…it’s a vicious cycle…