Brainy Or What!

The brain is stupendously good at picking battles. Listen to this.

The sound of the news coming from the radio plucked me, against my will, from that calm sea of cataleptic forgetfulness we call sleep. Forgetfulness, some might say, is the wrong term for a state in which we spend up to a third of our brief lives comatosed like a patient about to undergo surgery and who’s just been injected with propofol or some other anaesthetic and asked to count slowly to ten. For even in this paralyzed state, eyes closed, we see the strangest apparitions, hear the scariest voices, confront our scatty demons and sometimes soar through the air or ocean wielding harmless battle axes against equally harmless bandits. Our brains, wired up with their one hundred trillion synapses or some such uncountable number, never to go to sleep!

“That is loud, I mean wtf on a Sunday morning. Now I can understand if the time was 10  o’clock”. I laid in bed and struggled to galvanize my feeble energies to go knock on my neighbour’s door and demand they turn the radio down.  I finally opened my eyes and turned to look at the clock and by gad it had just gone past 10 o’clock. Obviously this would not be worth retelling if this event happened every Sunday at the same time like clockwork but this, I swear, is the very first time I’ve been woken up in this fashion. Isn’t it amazing when our brains do this? We easily remember those countless times we go to bed thinking we really ought to wake up at six because [insert reason] and bam! at one minute to six we are wide awake. If this happens often enough we start to believe we are supermen eh, we think things and they come to pass. Just like they say in positive thinking circles or prosperity gospel sermons. Think and grow rich. It’s that easy.

Wait a minute. How come this never happens at bonus time? You can see the glum faces of colleagues as they come out of their reporting managers’ rooms after they’ve been recounted the same spiel as the year before: “You know with the economy as it is the company hasn’t done as well as we wanted BUT we really value your contribution and despite what’s happening in the business we’ve been able to find you a bonus of [.]” Like you, they probably did their best to mask the disappointment. All those neurons over the preceding days working up an expectation of a bonus large enough to pay off the mortgage or buy a Ferrari. Those neurons were wrong. They picked the wrong battle.

Culture, Musings, Politics

A Very Nigerian Miracle

A FaceBook friend of mine (says a lot right there doesn’t it) put up the following:
A very poor and unemployed man is encouraged by his wife to go visit one “big chief” who might be able to help. To his surprise he gets a job and three months later he is very rich with mansions and cars. He subsequently finds out that his wife had slept with the big chief prior to his getting the job. Posed question: if she was your wife would you forgive her?

There were over 6000 comments but all of the twenty or thirty that I read were of the “of course I’d forgive her” or “she is a good wife” variety. What I found quite distressing was that no one thought it odd that a salary man should go from being very poor to owning mansions and cars in a mere three months. But then again this was Nigeria; a land where God works miracles.

It is precisely this kind of outlook and unrealistic expectation (and the conservatism, religiosity, homophobia and a few dozen other ills) that bedevil any chance that I return to Nigeria to live as my parents would no doubt like. My sister often says that if I returned I probably would be unemployable because I wouldn’t allow people to “chop” (euphemism for dipping one’s hand in the till). I’d be sacked. A society predicated on God’s miracles (or the devil’s thievery) to bring to pass get-rich-quick wonders is a community of monumental corruption. They would drive me nuts so I think I’ll stay right here where I am.