I often think about what I would be like if I were not going through life as a hapless wanderer. Had I been born 100 years ago would I have made a fine herds boy? If I had been born in 10,000 B.C. would I have been the man that my woman required me to be?
Would I have been the bravest man in the village, raiding the neighboring village and returning with 12 heads and a child’s skull? I ask myself if I would have had the courage to stand and say “I challenge you to fight me to the death!!” to a seven-foot-tall Acholi warrior and not wet the little sheepskin wrapped around my waist.
I wonder whether if I had been born 50 years ahead of now if I would have been able to cope knowing that white bread had been phased out for whole grains? Would I have coped in a world without dool? And that’s not without mentioning the all-important lessons learnt in school as you scrimmage for Membe (the layer stuck at the bottom of the pan when you make posho); throwing punches for a single bun…
I am sorry but I have to break to tell this…
At which juncture I must now tell you about a classmate of mine. When I was in St. Mary’s, that all so prestigious school, I was a lot of things but the one thing I was not was a errant law breaker. Twice a week every class got the number of buns equal to the number of its students. This statement meaning that not all 42 always got their buns.
Every class nominated a leader.
The leader collected the buns.
The leader distributed the buns.
Our class leader was a guy who was called
O’scar. No, call him Ndikito [suffice that he was of the northern connection]. Ndikito was a rugby player with some semblance of muscle. In class, like most villages, we had a class clown: Rogers. Classic. Fool. Most irksome bastard ever.
One day in that ever so serene place called our dinning hall at break amid the porridge and tea O‘scar came in with the little buns that looked like a whole sachet of little new-born babies’ feet. I mean each individually. As he served the buns someone caused some commotion, there was a scuffle and out of the panic everyone grabbed in to get a piece of the bread before it got finished. And a melee ensued. Trust me you don’t want to be scrimmaging with 40 adolescents who fancy themselves gentlemen and are about to starve.
Rogers jumped in, classically, and holding onto one section of the polythene bag never let go.
And so it came to pass that while the melee went on he escaped out of it. With one bun. One measly bun. Uno. He slowly unwrapped it out of the bag that had clung to it like a film and quickly popped it into his mouth.
Now unbeknown to our hero, Oscar had escaped from the other side of the melee too. Without a bun. No bun. Zero. Nada. As he circled the melee, he came up behind Roger popping his baby foot into his mouth.he circled Roger. In a flash motion, and i mean in a flash motion, Oscar’s hand flew to Roger’s face and struck with a thundering stop as it made contact.
The colors of the rainbow flashed across Roger’s face in pain, anguish, shock, horror, humiliation[because the melee suddenly stopped], and the finally that little emotion called resignation flashed. For Oscar this was perfect. And as the last wisps of the emotion flashed across Roger’s face, his massetta [jaw] muscles released and unclenched to open his mouth out of which the bun fell. Unchewed. Undigested. Right into Oscar’s waiting hands. He put the bun in his mouth and watched Roger in defiance. He was taller, faster, stronger, higher pedigree, better in class. Roger was beaten.
Yeah St. Mary’s was a dog-eat-dog world. I quietly slipped my bun into my pocket to be eaten later.
And now resuming the main story…
or sometimes planning a heist from a whole bread van and eventually a whole bakery. [yeah yeah I’ll tell you my story up country and the bakery next time]. would i be able to live in a world where sex was 1984-esque only for procreation? Robbed of the pleasure of the one night stand?
Could I have lived without experiencing such near death experiences? Knowing what I know now I think I would never have given that up. Knowing that I could never shoot another rubber-band-bullet; sniping an unsuspecting sleeper out of his bliss into his piss? I don’t know.
Now as I stand here looking I think things could have turned out much better or equally worse. And the very possibility that I might not be here but for a series of accidents makes me savour each moment even more and I almost feel like I am walking on wings.
!! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!