A Metaphor For Courage

I am obliged to warn you that this post contains an unhealthy amount of syrup.

Read on at your own risk.

Sometime early last year I met a very fine woman on a typically cold and gloomy London day.
For someone who likes to write, I really struggle to summon courage to walk up to a woman more often than not. 
Dont ask why, It’s the way I have been wired.

That day we talked and I remember getting pretty excited [as is the norm with me]. It was one of the most controlled performances I had ever seen in a woman.
You could have attached one of those hospital graph machines [obviously I dont know what they are called] to her and it would have given you a straight line.
She never raised her voice or her arms or betray any kind of emotion.

She just talked very smoothly and was pretty good conversation…..the English language also rolled off her tongue very nicely. 

I am marrying her a week from today.

Between then and now there has been plenty to love, to talk about, to argue about and to disagree about.
She’s certainly changed, thankfully, from the woman I met that day [who could live with a woman who never betrayed any emotion???]

What I have come to know is that she’s got a mighty big heart and there’s plenty of life inside of her…far much more than what I saw that fine day.
A few months ago I asked her to marry me and she said yes.

Thinking about it now, it makes me realise how imperfect I am as a man.
I am alternately moody, aloof, cold, unsympathetic and even downright mean on any given day.
To all intents and purposes, I am a major work in progress….God’s still working on me.

But, if I can say so myself, there is some good in me.
I cannot honestly tell you what percent ‘good’ I am or how much of my person is right.

But she’s chosen to zero in on that part of me that is good and pitch her tent with me….for life.
She thinks I will grow into a great guy, a more succesful man, a good father, an excellent husband, a relevant guy…..and she’s decided to put everything she has on the line as a bet that everything she hopes and believes will come to pass.

Courage.

Why isnt that word used as often to describe women as it is with men?

I know that the woman I am about to marry is full of courage.
And it kind of humbles me.

I am under no illusions that I am some sort of great guy…the heir apparent to Don Juan DeMarco…the world’s greatest lover.
I see my imperfections everyday when I look in the mirror.
Confronted with these weaknesses I see in me, I elect not to bullsh*t myself.

I am getting married to a beautiful woman, in all the variations of that word you can think of.
She’s also very smart and isnt in any way scared of hard work.
She has an understanding of God which she knows can only be meaningful as a one-to-one relationship and not some religious going-through-the-motions.

She also knows how to feel…..how to basically be a girl when she needs to be.

But most of all it’s that courage of hers that strikes me.
She looks life in the eye and basically tells it to do as it’s told.

But this courage doesnt make her rash…not in the slightest.
If anything she’s my perfect foil…the voice of caution when I decide to wear my heart of on my sleeve and rush in like a fool.

But she also makes me bold. 
She makes me think that if she can trust me with everything, maybe there’s something about me she sees that I havent quite seen yet.
Like she’s telling me everyday without so much as using words…I think you have got plenty of good in you and I have no fears you will do very well.

But unlike any other friend who will say ‘ Oh you are a great guy….you will do very well….I believe in you…etc’, she’s actually taken her own belief in me one step further by putting her money where her mouth is…..by basically deciding to chill out with me for the rest of her life…forsaking all else.

I have thus decided to draw from her courage [weird and convoluted as it sounds] in me.

Segolene, I imagine you are reading this.
I love you and admire you for more reasons than you can imagine.

As sure as night follows day, I will work as hard as my strength will let me, to bring to reality all those dreams you, and we, have about us….the kind of home we want to build…how we want to deepen our relationship with God…the kind of kids we want to bring up….the places we want to go…the success we want to have.

We are starting a long journey that’s going to excite and surprise us in various ways, but what’s to fear when we serve an Awesome God?

I have tapped into your courage and I am sufficiently emboldened.
We’ll do very well together that much I know.

Thank you for agreeing to come along on this ride with me.

I promise to hold your hand……and never let it go.
So help me God.
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Potato Wedge Politics

As long as valuable airtime is spent discussing nonsense like this, then John McCain’s objective is at least being partly achieved.
In this time like no other, Senator McCain wants Americans to talk about guilt by association….classic Bob’s your uncle as opposed to Robert being your dad’s brother.

What has perhaps surprised me the most is how badly John McCain wants to win the Presidency.
I suppose to even deign to run for President you have to believe that you are such a great man to the point where no one else will do for the job……it’s not a task for humble people by any means.

28 days to go and it’s getting pretty ugly…..and the McCain campaign knows exactly what it’s doing.
They will seek to drive a massive wedge between Americans…it worked in 2000 and especially 2004.

I think this will be the biggest test of Obama’s nerve and temperament…….it’s not easy running against someone who is willing to fight like he has nothing to lose.

Credit Crunch 101

If you have wondered how supposedly big banks got into trouble with subprime mortgages, here’s a little education.
The moment these people couldn’t pay their oversized mortgages anymore, it was only a matter of time before the pack of cards started to crumble.

Unlike here in the UK where you are still liable for the shortfall if the value of your house drops and it’s repossessed, Stateside, any fall in value is the bank’s problem.
Hence the notorious Jingle Mail

When you live in a credit society [pretty much the whole of the west really] you begin to understand how the ripple effect of something that starts in a small town can reverberate round the world.

(Hat Tip: Culture 11 )

The Future’s Anything But Orange

I have really suffered at the hands of Orange.
Surely they must be the worst mobile phone provider in the UK, no?…..the last 18 months have been a nightmare with them and I cant wait for November to be rid of them.
Anyway I am thinking of moving back to T-mobile 3 years after leaving them.

More to the point I have been really impressed by the G1 and since they are the only ones currently offering it….
I’ll do my best never to sign an 18month contract again though..even if it means paying more monthly or paying for the phone even.
None of these phones on offer now is really designed to last for 18 months so I dont really see the point.

Anyway if you have any horror stories about T-mobile do let me know before I take the plunge with them.
I guess they are all the same arent they?

At the 48th time of asking

Contrary to what some of our leaders appear to believe [certainly by their conduct], Nigeria is not getting any younger.
It’s all too familiar now…every year precisely on the 1st of October the President or whoever is in charge declares it to be a time of sober reflection.
We are instructed to take stock and inevitably conclude that we haven’t quite achieved as much as we should.
And then we are told to pray for our country, grin and bear it.

By 2nd of October, it’s back to the status quo.
Repeat every year till further notice.

Yesterday Mr Yar’Adua told us ‘there will be no easy solutions’ to Nigeria’s problems.
Delivered with what was perhaps meant to be grave concern but translated as remarkable insouciance.

Why must a nation’s independence always be a time of sober reflection?…like the drunk who experiences sobriety long enough to discover he’s now 40 years old and unmarried.

Most Nigerians I know with a modicum of intelligence, admit that we have squandered so much so recklessly over the years.
And they will also admit that we cant neccesarily continue as we are and expect different results.

One of the things that amazes me about the Nigerian nation is the way in which people now choose to measure success.

You are doing ok, if you work in a bank and they pay you certain amount of millions.
You are doing even better if you have a generator and a newish car [never mind the roads].
It would seem you have arrived if you drive a 2008 Honda Accord [Continuation of Discussion?].

So far gone are our value systems now after 48 years.
Is it any wonder then that in the quest for these markers of success no one really stops to think of the Nigerian state?

I have never forgotten the quote I first heard from Dr Pat Utomi:

The individual selfish end is best met when the common good is advanced

This is something which successive administrations have never quite grasped or even bothered to understand.
I am infinitely better off in the long run if my brother is secure in his own success.

The way the Nigerian system is currently built does not do much to stop the ‘get rich or die tryin’ attitude of the average Nigerian.
A system with not even a semblance of social security is merely storing up trouble for the future.
How do you begin to survive in a society like Nigeria if you happen to be poor?

This system which consigns the poor in society to their own fate resulting in an existence that is altogether inhuman most of the time will get us nowhere in time.

What’s our perennial problem with making even the simplest dream become reality?

The job of any serious leader is to have a vision and more importantly get the people he/she leads to buy into that vision to the point where they feel like they are a part of something important and consequently take ownership of their own piece of the larger dream.

Contrary to what many believe, the job of a President is not only to appoint ministers, award contracts and visit foreign countries.
The President needs to be consumed day and night by the vision he has for the Nigerian nation.
After 16 months in office, most Nigerians should have an idea of where the President is leading the country and how exactly he plans to take us there.

But instead we spend so much time wondering where he is and then wondering if he will make it back in one piece from his latest stint in hospital.
We also fret about political brinkmanship that may deny the Vice President the chance of succeeding the President in the event of the President passing on.

We are better than this.
There’s nothing wrong with being ill I dont imagine there is any enjoyment to be derived from frequent visits to the hospital.
But the Nigerian people deserve far better than this.
We need to know that the person leading us is physically up to the job and even if not we should know what the limitations are.
We cant continue wasting time worrying about this kind of stuff while the Niger Delta continues to entrench lawlessness.
48 years is enough.

We cant continue in a system that turns our young men and women into people who chase after money and material security with all their energy and will increasingly push the boundaries of what is acceptable conduct in this pursuit.

We cant continue in a system that makes the have-nots to live a life so debasing and demeaning to the point where they are almost non-human beings.

Every single government policy from now on should be one that includes as many people as possible because even if I am rich I want to be able to sleep well at night and drive through Lagos traffic with my windows down.

We need to get serious and act like we are building for the next 48 years….like we want to leave something decent for those not yet born.

As well, the general citizenry needs to begin holding up it’s leaders to higher standards.
I am sick of us glorifying mediocrity like it’s the real deal.

Until people begin to question their existence and the deal they are getting from their elected leaders we will remain stuck in this cycle.
Until we get to the point where we look at ourselves and say ‘I think I can do better than this….I think there should be more to this nation than what is currently available’…until then….that very foolish consistency will remain the hobglobin of our very small minds.

We need to reject the mediocrity on offer..wherever it is offered and demand better.

At the 48th time of asking we need to do infinitely better than we are currently doing.

God bless Nigeria.

Parody? What Parody?

For me, this was the most amazing thing about Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin on SNL last week.

I still expect the McCain campaign to pull at least one stunt before Thursday’s debate……or immediately after.

86

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Here’s the dude who has put Nigeria on the map once again for comical reasons this time.
Why in the world anyone would want 86 wives beats me hollow.

But then again he may have been performing a ‘public service’.
Why didnt the 84th wife for instance, say no when he asked?
Does he even ask?

Apparently, despite being in prison the guy is still running the show from his prison cell

Family sources told Vanguard yesterday at his Masaba Quarters residence that the man who is currently in detention over his refusal to divorce any of his 86 wives still controls the happenings in his home from prison.

According to a family member who spoke with Vanguard on condition of anonymity, “Baba runs this family from where he is on the telephone.

“It is a pity that you have arrived at a time that all those with his express permission to call him are currently on their way to meet with him at the Minna Prisons.