A scandalously long time ago, when I was scandalously young enough not to know anything between A and Z of the mischief in which Adam and Eve reportedly engaged in a garden whose name I have forgotten, something of titanic proportions took place in my home village.
A huge rock that had become unbearably bored of being stuck on one spot for scandalously many years, decided to do something revolutionary.
It shook itself vigorously, freed itself from where it had been imprisoned, and started rolling downwards, and collided with its stationary cousin. The resultant, atomic bomb-like explosion caused something that can best be abbreviated as MC: Maximum Confusion.
I was most fascinated by the spectacle related to a man slightly 10 times older than me. His surname was Tintinisibwa, which translates as someone who is never scared, by anyone or anything. But first, a little background.
A rumour I had researched thoroughly, and had conclusively established was at least 97.5 per cent factual (no wonder I eventually became a journalist – though a third-rate one) was a drama centred on a skill he claimed he possessed.
He boasted about it during a boozing session a few years previously. He declared that he didn’t fear death, and was confident that he would live forever if he so wished. But since endless life would bore him to death at some stage, he would die voluntarily on a day and time of his choice.
He reportedly remarked: “If death dares come within a one metre radius of where I am standing, it will promptly make a U-turn and speed off like someone scared of being speared to death by someone who had caught him making love to his wife; then…
” The speech was interrupted by a lizard – a baby rather than an adult – which fell on his head. He stormed from the pombe shop like someone fleeing from a charging rhinoceros. As he sprinted towards God-knew-where, he repeatedly exclaimed: “Mother save your loving son; mother save your loving son…!
” The drama turned Tintinisibwa into a laughing stock, and thereafter, by 60 against 40 per cent, he turned his head southwards like a dull sheep, rather than straight ahead along village paths. He avoided eye contact with fellow villagers, who he fully knew, rather than merely suspected, mocked him. In the wake of the rock explosion, Tintinisibwa, who was passing close to my family’s shamba, jumped into a pit that grandpa had dug, to scoop soil for repairs of our house.
Then, loudly, he addressed God: “Holy Father, take my soul and rest it in peace forever.” He didn’t die, but I almost laughed myself to death.
A little later, grandpa, to whom he had filed a complaint – like someone who does so at a police station and gets an RB - whipped me almost to death. Grandpa told me that certain kinds of information weren’t for public consumption and were best kept top, never-to-be-leaked secrets.
On the afternoon of the other day – never mind which, because any day is a day like any other day – I decided to move around in circles, in a residential neighbourhood about a mile from mine, to recharge my tired muscles.
Dare you suggest that I was no different from a rabid dog, I will report you to the nearest police station, to set in motion, the process of suing you. Hopefully, you would be deposited in prison for undermining my long-cultivated integrity.
Some ten minutes later, a gigantic explosion rent the air. Miracles never cease. Mysterious steam was pumped into my legs aged 60 plus. As a little boy, I wasn’t scared of even death-threatening things like lightning. That bravado had vanished. I silently offered apologies to (the now late) Mzee Tintinisibwa for having perceived him as a coward.
Filbert Bayi-Suleiman Nyambui-Juma Ikangaa style of the glorious athletic heroism of the bygone era, I sprinted towards Godknew- where.
I fell into a pit, from which merciful young men literally dug me. It transpired that the explosion wasn’t caused by Mbagala-Gongo-la-Mbotolike bombs, but the impact caused by a lorry whose driver had crashed into a semi-finished house.
A potential regional champion liar, if such a contest were organized, claimed that he did so because the house was being built by a man who had ‘nationalized’ his wife. Most people laughed, but I didn’t. As my grandpa would have put it, not everything is worth provoking laughter.
A naughty chap suggested that, I had deliberately thrown myself into the pit as a suicide attempt, after hearing that a close relative of mine was on the list of academic certificate forgers.
He philosophized that I wanted to avoid the agony stemming from the relative being jobless and a potential prisoner !Some people burst into laughter; for me, it wasn’t a laughing matter – of course !