DON’T WE ALL

Enjoy this thought provoking piece I copied from a facebook page.

“I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car.

I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work.

Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a tramp.

From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money.

There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don’t want to be bothered.

This was one of those “don’t want to be bothered times.”

“I hope he doesn’t ask me for any money,” I thought.

He didn’t.

He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn’t look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.

After a few minutes he spoke.

“That’s a very pretty car,” he said.

He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him.

His scraggly blond beard keep more than his face warm.

I said, “thanks,” and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came.

As the silence between us widened something inside said, “ask him if he needs any help.”

I was sure that he would say “yes” but I held true to the inner voice.

“Do you need any help?” I asked.

He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget.

We often look for wisdom in great men and women.

We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments.

I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand.

He spoke the three words that shook me.

” **Don’t we all* ?” *he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a tramp in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

*Don’t we all?*

I needed help.

Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help.

I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day.

Those three little words still ring true.

No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too.

No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help.

Even if it’s just a compliment, you can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all.

They are waiting on you to give them what they don’t have –

*A different perspective on life,

*a glimpse at something beautiful,

* a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets.

Maybe he was more than that.

Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a tramp, then said, “go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help.”

**DON’T WE ALL?*

Help somebody, you are only a custodian of whatever you possess.

*Good morning. Have a pleasant day

*copied

Girls at War: A Review

This a personal & non-academic review of Chinua Achebe’s Short story ‘Girls at War’. Originally done for a Whatsapp book discussion group but which I’ve been encouraged to share far & wide. The Short Story ‘Girls at War’ is from the collection of Nigerian civil war time short stories of the same title by Chinua Achebe.

Let’s start with the title, I have always had thing for titles.

Have you ever seen teenage girls fight? Well, if you have then simply multiply the confused, abusive, scratchy, revealing spectacle a few times over & you have ‘Girls at War’. Girls play dirty & fight crazy. Maturity & civility goes out the window. Fairness remains a distant past, order is lost completely, wisdom a mirage & a ‘strip tease’ a strong possibility, very much expected by amused bystanders, who watch with keen selfish interest.

Even those who step in to separate the Waring ladies will have their motives questioned, especially if they are male. (And in these modern days, even female ‘referees’ get their sexual preferences scrutinized also).

Who to grab, where to hold, what to say, to laugh or not, how to behave, self preservation, (dangerously essential for guys with their two very fragile natural passengers to worry about).

Now if you’re the poor fellow the warring girls are in battle over, you’re not on your own for nobody minds their business anymore. Everyone is in your face nowadays. Blaming everyone & you, for the ‘hurt’ girl is always right by default these days.

‘Who rules the world?’, don’t ask Beyonce, just read the tabloids. “That time done pass. Now everybody want (their say). They call it (free speech). You put your number six; I put my number six.
Everything (is) all right.”

Nigeria was at war with Biafra, is the setting of the story & Biafra was doing quite badly. War is the art of survival. Which of the the two sexes is most dexterous in the practicalities of survival? Girls are at War, perpetually.

The manipulation in daily living is survival, one that is sired in us from that maiden race down a ‘penish’ tube, as we aim to win the fertilization laurel & indirectly cause the demise of millions of our first ‘spermy’ peers.

This a story of changing priorities, of changing times & changing people surprising themselves & but not really altering stereotypes & established perceptions.

The first hint of romance is carried through, ’till death do them part’. The young Gladys clad in khaki, searching cars at a roadblock in the early days of the war, changed into a reluctant battle field for troops to ‘not march in’. The privileged intellectualism of Reginald Nwankwo of the Biafran Ministry of Justice is reduced to the pettiness of the pursuit of luxuries everywhere, that will end with ‘drilling his troops’ in Gladys’ ‘battle field’.

The war efforts had commenced with enthusiast children ‘who marched up and down the streets at the time drilling with sticks and wearing their mothers’ soup bowls for steel helmets.’ Alongside them was the jest of the likes of ‘the contingent of girls from a local secondary school marching behind a banner: WE ARE IMPREGNABLE!’

By the time Gladys & Reginald crossed paths for a third & final time, eighteen months of ‘Death and starvation’ had long
chased out the headiness of the early days.’

Amidst the lackness in
blank suicidal resignation of multitudes, Reginald towed Gladys along to a party with the better-off few feeding off the war. Those ‘who had no other desire than whatever good things were still going and to enjoy themselves to the limit. ‘But unlike these strange lot, normalcy had not returned to the rest of the world. ‘Girls became girls once more and boys boys,’ only in the parties of these priviledges few, as the world around them ‘was a tight, blockaded and desperate world.’

Living in these war days made
heads of stockfish & tinned meat a very privileged luxury and the likes of ‘the dreadful American stuff called Formula Two’ heaped on the populace by international relief bringers. Reginald’s contacts kept him within easy reach of a variety of relief stuffs like ‘rice, beans and that excellent cereal commonly called Gabon gari.’ He has an official car & a driver to ferry him through the land & a bomb shelter within reach of his home to weather the horrific fear of air-raids.

Reginald Nwankwo is fortunate and not one of ‘the starved scarecrow crowd of rags and floating ribs’, reduced ‘by the independent accusation of their wasted bodies and sunken eyes’ as they perpetually hung around relief centres, making crude, ungracious remarks like “War Can Continue!”

Reginald did the best he could to keep the clutches of kwashiokor out of the reach of his driver’s (Johnson) home by making sure that whenever he got sizeable supplies he gave some to Johnson, for his wife and six or
seven kids.

At one pound per cigarette cup in the market, Gari might as well be caviar for most ordinary folks. Something has to give & always did. Priorities changed & things like respect & sympathy lowered in standard, so much that only pretty girls get rides in staff cars, not begging old women.

When gentleman say to a pretty girl, ‘I broke my rule today to give you a lift. I never give lifts these
days”, it’s not love or fondness, it is good old sweaty panting lust. When a girl braves bomb raids on the road to a major city during a war & tells you ;“I am going to visit my girlfriend,” it’s good old fashioned survival hunting.

Gladys got the bush meat she came out for in a comfy bed, party fun, good food & scarce money. Reginald got the ‘match’ he wanted to win for a looooooooong time.

“But your family is not there with you?” “No,” he said. “Nobody has his family there. We like to say it is because of air-raids but I can assure you there is more to it. Owerri is a real swinging town and we live the life of gay bachelors.” “That is what I have heard.” Gladys heard the hunting is good in the Owerri metropolitan bush and she came to get lucky.

In a real swinging party hosted by a Lieutenant-Colonel, in the real fun of the moment, she saw someone better than Reginald and fell in-love with what she saw in a man for the first time in Owerri & as it turned out, for the last time. While Reginald was ashamed of himself, hating the parties and frivolities to which his friends clung like drowning men, Gladys found her mojo.

Still it was always about taking a girl home for the classy dude & Reginald was always a classic guy who wants to get the babe. ‘And this particular girl too, who had once had such beautiful faith in the struggle and was betrayed (no doubt about it) by some man like him out for a good time.’

This personified the entire story for me. Gladys is the ‘Girl at War’ with the circumstances she has found herself in & setting out to make the best of it. Just like a young controversial nation at war with the circumstances it found itselt & making a whole mess of it. And five decades later, that region of the nation is still making a mess of the politics of it, playing the blame game still.

Their last morning together, Reginald felt better as he saw Gladys as ‘a mirror reflecting a society that had gone completely rotten and maggoty at the centre. The mirror itself was intact; a lot of smudge but no more. All that was needed was a clean duster.’ One that is still being awaited over fifty years later. And like the bold Biafran experience, Gladys ventured to be bold & heroic at the moment that called for it. Like Biafra, she ended her in a monumental crash of her world in a charred, smoking and entangled remains of the girl and that didn’t what ‘troops to match’ in her insides.

Sadly, the story is a comical but romantic take on how wrong it could be when it feels so right, like fighting a war to regain the peace the war shattered.

Yas Niger

Kaduna, Nigeria

Sculptor of God

By an Anonymous Writer

Enjoy & meditate on it….

“A German once visited a temple under
construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God.

Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you need two statues of the same idol?”
“No,” said the sculptor
without looking up, “We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage.”

The gentleman
examined the idol and found no apparent damage.
“Where is the damage?” he asked.
“There is a scratch on the nose of the idol,” said the sculptor, still
busy with his work.

“Where are you going to install the idol?”
The sculptor replied that it would be
installed on a
pillar twenty feet high.

“If the idol is that far who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?” The gentleman asked.

The sculptor stopped work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, “I will know it.”

The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not.

“Excellence” is a
drive from inside, not outside. Excellence is not for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction and efficiency.

Don’t Climb a Mountain with an Intention that the World Should See You,
Climb the Mountain with the Intention to See the World.