BUTTON AND BUSH
It’s my birthday. I am reflecting on my 67 years of life on earth. Reflection at this age is mixed with looking forward; and so my thoughts immediately went to my favourite, deceased uncle. He taught me two important lessons.
Lesson one: Doing what Jesus did will help to find you a place in heaven. My uncle preached that he should go to heaven because if per chance they made an error and he descended into hell, all he had to do was to call up to Jesus and remind him that he, my uncle, was a carpenter too, and tradesmen should look after each other; a sort of union thing.
So what about all those who did something or try to do something that Jesus did, will they be able to get the same passport into heaven? Those who give you cheap wine, as if they made it from water; those doctors who think they alone can heal the sick; those pathologists who raise the dead by taking the body from a lower to a higher tray in the morgue; those school bullies who take away your lunch of bread and salt fish to feed a multitude of school children; those who have to walk on water when the heavy rains come; those who are anointed by prostitutes on and off Popeshead street.
Lesson two: Addiction comes in all forms. When his drinking was destroying his liver and swelling his feet, I was silly to try to show off my medical student knowledge about the effects of alcohol. After my dissertation, he calmly directed my attention to a plant in the house and, taking me back to one of my duties as a child, reminded me that plants need water. My tears were almost enough to soak the plant. We should all have plants inside and outside the house.
Can it be that you learn your most memorable lessons early in life? If so, what lessons did I learn from bullies in school? They will never stop until something drastic, more drastic, happens. For example, when you are confronted one night by two of them, you surprise them, and yourself, by thumping one of them in the face, and pushing the other one into the gutter. And run away to fight another day.
But why did they do these seemingly strange things? Like; put a piece of bush on your shoulder and dared you to brush it off! It was not my bush so I didn’t want to touch it, even though it looked freshly plucked and clean. But it was my shoulder; given to me by my mother and father. Was I a breech birth with troublesome shoulder delivery? Confused, I stood still, shoulder square and broad, lest the bush fell off, in the blowing wind (with no answer).
So now, at a certain workplace, some nearga will put glass bottles on the property on the shoulder of the grassy knoll , where vehicles can park. And I am suppose to remove them? That this will happen to me one day, decades later, is what my school bush-bullies were trying to teach me?
And too, they will waltz up to you, three or four of them, as if they knew that the waltz is in three-four time. Then they commanded me to touch my button (“If you think you bad”). Now, this was more serious and confusing than the bush on the shoulder. With all the hand washing my school clothes had to endure, my granny, with her aging body but seemingly microscopic eyes, will regularly sew buttons onto my shirt. Why then should I interfere with my granny’s handy work, other than when putting on and taking off my shirt? Plus, I did not think I was a bad person, who had to do bad things like touch one’s own button on the command of someone else.
So now, again at a certain workplace, the same place, some nearga will deliberately park their vehicle behind mine, in such a way, and so close, that I cannot move. They refuse to drive around the building to find trouble-free parking waiting for them. They must the descendants of the button bullies, now telling me to get in my vehicle, my very own vehicle, and reverse (“If you think you bad”.)
Growing old has it virtues, the single most important one being, no longer in my younger, more effervescent days, I am a little calmer; I think. I take almost all matters with a pinch of salt; or I do away with the salt altogether and drink more water. My birthday coming always at Carnival, water will serve me well in the Burning Flames after passing through Hell’s Gate. I am not a carpenter.