The Spartan with Christopher
I recently found myself standing next to and talking to Christopher Othieno. One of only two men in the region known as Johnnie Walker Ambassadors. A peerless connoisseur, and a teacher by training, Othieno is a fine speaker. Kenyan-born. Standing in his presence feels like a lot of the things I know matter little to the man I wanted to become. He has class, is irreverent, takes no hostages, and does what he does ruthlessly.
As we talked about how he was selected to become an ambassador, from his stay in Scotland, to his endeavours to teach a timeless tradition of exclusivity, passion, pursuit of excellence and desire for recognition, I see in this man a lot of the things I want to be, or at least , i hope to become.
As the end of the evening draws nigh, I see him gleam like a pastor preaching to new converts; like a mentor to a fresh batch of proteges. He is steady, firm, unflinching and a damn good speaker!
I think about mentors and proteges and how possibly the greatest mentor I have ever admired might leave me soon. The idea that the one person for whom you would move half the world will just up and go – creating panic, insecurity, heartache and disrepute looms over me. Like an axe over Antoinette.
I muse on the preponderance that if nothing else I will learn to be the best if nothing at all. But its not enough. Its not enough that they teach you to be the best. The movies lie to us when they say mentors hate their proteges outwardly but secretly love them. Mentors should be your friends, care about you enough to try and avoid breaking your heart. This is betrayal, of a high calibre, and there will be recriminations.
I look again at Christopher and I understand his dilemma. Tomorrow he will be on a flight back home and he might never remeber any of what happened here tonight. But for this chance I will to speak with him and ask him why he is the Ambassador for the Johnnie Walker Striding Man Society.
What drives him to be part of something so exclusive that even the people who should be part of it don’t even know it exists? It is a society of men who appreciate that life is not easy but they have done their due diligence and paid their dues. Now they sit and ‘exhale’ [is what my mentor called it] and say
“I might not have achieved all my goals and targets but for today I will rest here and start tomorrow.” They are driven by the idea that through perseverance any dream
can be realised.
We love our mentors. We are loyal. We are diligent because we believe in them; sometimes more than in ourselves. They have found their light and we hope that maybe, just maybe, we can borrow their light too; just a glimmer. But alas, we never can.
No We Can’t