Tag Archives: Charles Williams

The Demons of Dents and other Minor Scratches in Nigeria

Some Demons in Nigeria
Some Demons in Nigeria

The Greeks had a god for almost everything. Each one of their gods controlled one of the elements or some phase of life. Apollo was the god of poetry; Ares was the god of war; Posedion was god of the sea; Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

But unlike the Greeks, Nigerians have a demon for every misfortune. Household demons, those who follow you from your village to the city and ensure you never do well in life; Neighbourhood demons, those who take charge of your ill-luck in case your household demons are too busy in the villages; women demon, those who ensure all your savings go down the drain of some women’s loins etc

I don’t know whether the Greeks or the Nigerians had one or not, but there must be a god or a demon who controls dents and scratches that always shows up on new things. Where else would they come from? Who else but an all-powerful master of imperfections could possibly put all these little dents on all new cars in Lagos?

Last week I bought a new pair of shoes. Never mind how much they cost, I bought a new pair of shoes. On the second day I had them, I was climbing up on the stairs leading to my apartment, which is shared by my generator set, but somehow the generator decided for the first time in a year to demand for legroom only this time a part of it made a cut in the leather of my new shoe that looked as if it was done by a razor blade. I’ve put polish on the shoes several times since then, and the rip doesn’t show much, but I know it’s there and the shoes will never be new again. They lost their newness the second day.

I’ve not seen a new car that didn’t pick up some little scratch or dent in its first few weeks on Lagos roads. In fact, everyone seems to be reconciled to this around here. My uncle got KIA Sorento 2013 in July but by August we visited KIA centre for bodywork. It was so new there were no available parts at the warehouse. Looking around in traffic there seems to be a contracted denter in town who gives new cars a dent, scratch or bash no matter how careful one is.

It couldn’t have been more than three weeks after I got my new watch that the ding demon put a scratch in the crystal. Have you ever wondered how you manage to clash your watch with another’s on Broad Street? It’s not much, mind you; just enough to remind me that I no longer have a brand new watch.

Talking about clothes, the ding demons have so much aversion for mortals wearing white. As Nigerians are white loving people you can’t see these demons at their best anywhere else. Wear a white shirt on a given day and brave the odds of rain and mud-splash from vehicles. Or, if it were a party you went for, I can bet you would not return until you have spilled some palm-oil on your attire. My father had a ritual of dipping a finger in the soup and showing it to the cloth before having a taste of the meal. It works for him, but I hardly have time for such fetishes.

Another thing about these demons is their hatred for anything that makes us happy. I have owned several clothes but like a few really much. Those few somehow find a way of being caught in the bus seat, stained with engine oil or accidentally bleached. Recently, a bus conductor stained my new ash coloured trousers with his engine-oil-smeared-hands.

‘Oga no vex, the dry cleaners would make it as good as new.’ He said

But I knew, when the ding demon, dents and scratches gets through with something, it’s never as new again.

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November Night

Feeling poetic
Feeling poetic

Nights like this

I want to

Strike away

At the keyboard

Like a player

Against a goalpost

I want to

Burst

A vein and bleed

Feelings

Like a cow

At the dairy

I want to

Punch away

Every stroke

In sync with beats

Rocking out

In my head

On a night like this

I want to

Abandon the sheets

and run into the embrace of the stars

SO YOU THINK THE WORLD IS AGAINST YOU? ME TOO.

A Depressed soul
A Depressed soul

If you’ve wandered along this plane long enough to come to that realization that the world is up against you but have had no sympathy from anyone yet, I welcome you to the pity cathedral.

Honestly, I have been there and back – felt it all. That feeling of overwhelming crush, the weight that builds the muscles of your heart and makes its contraction difficult, the sigh that plays a monotonous hum and the clap-cheering of imaginary mockery.

What baffles me is how your loved ones fail to reckon with your struggles. Can’t they see? Couldn’t they come to your rescue against the conspiracy of nature? Oh, you think the world turns them against you too? Now, I see you are in the valley of reckoning. You see how much the world owes you and how badly it defaults in payment. Has any of those you went miles for denied you the pleasure of coming a foot close to your destiny?

And, suddenly, you feel like quitting the scene. No, not like the misguided fundamentalist, only the method equals you and them.

There are so many ways of exiting the scene, some at the end of a cheering performance with a bow and standing ovation from the audience; some others, through the emergence doors are the slightest smoking within the cinema. The choice of which route to take is entirely yours as with many choices that life deals you on every round of the game.

But take a moment to meet some dignitaries in this cathedral for we take pleasure in sympathizing with one another and affirming the suffering of others.

Our priest is a man who suffered a devastating stroke at the peak of his prime but the funny dude went on to survive the plague and became the voice of reasoning to his generation, bringing words of hope and enlightenment to the youths. This guy could have given up and quietly ceded defeat as many did but he just thrived on for a day like this.

Oh, have you met our Deacon? That Dude is another case entirely. He lost his investment in the great depression of 2009, in a world worst than that of Job. Imagine the media mockery, the societal snubbing, his family all didn’t die but his wife divorced him and married a thriving businessman, his children were taken over by the social welfare and he was wanted for unpaid loans. This man rose to become the CEO of a new generation bank and serves aptly as our counsellor in this cathedral.

Wait a second, our choir mistress’ case is so pitiable you could have volunteered to help end her miserable life were you in close quarters then. She had sponsored her first lover, from a poor background, through the university against her parents’ will. The husband-to-be paid her back handsomely by eloping with her best friend a fortnight to their marriage. This never-say-ever lady went on to marry the most adorable man ever to trend the surface of the earth according to her.

As you can see, life is never ending. Defeat is never final.

That you are where you are today is not a guarantee that you would be there tomorrow. Life is an act not a science. Your actions and inactions determine your destination in life.

Life is neutral.

That you are out on a raining day, even if you were beaten by the rain days earlier, don’t guarantee you to be dry at the end of the day.

Life doesn’t owe anyone anything other than shared graces.

If you are in a position to render any help, you have better do it for those who can’t pay you back.

The same rain shall pour on the farm of the indolent and the industrious. The same wind shall blow the way of the fragile and the sure-footed foundation the only differentiator is our level of preparation.

Principles are static, but man is dynamic. You can pattern your life after manners it will profit you in alignment with the stated principle of life.

Life is about sowing and reaping, give and take and sacrifices in between.

So, you think the world is against you? Think again!