I was thinking on my way from church this afternoon. It was one of those deeply introspective moments where you are staring out the taxi window at the passing gala and La casera hawkers while your stomach roils with ASH.
ASH (ay-sh) (abbreviation)
meaning: After Service Hunger. The mysterious hunger known to afflict churchgoers every Sunday immediately after service. eg. Omo na to go Bola house go chop after service o! This ASH no be here
Anyway, the thought struck me: Why the bloody hell do optometrists wear lab coats? And for that matter, why do physicists do? Why do professionals in some fields of science bother with wearing lab coats? As far as I can tell, lab coats serve as a form of protection for the wearer, against spills and splashes from dangerous chemicals or bacteria, splatters of human or animal blood or fluids and other stuff of the like. what the hell do physicists and optometrists have to screen against? Wayward rays of light? Untoward refractions from recalcitrant prisms and lenses? Convex aberrations on *insert scary-sounding optometric word here*?
After deciding the powers that be had been bribed to allow all practitioners of the science disciplines (including *spits* optometrists and physicists) to wear lab coats, I was suddenly struck by two flashes (one of brilliance, one of immediate discard).
The first of course was an image of a dozen computer techies all hunched over flickering screens, their gloved fingers tapping away at strings of incomprehensible code, and girded around their fat and skinny (for the most part) frames, glistening white, buttoned down lab coats. And on the wall a sign proclaiming:
“Computer Science test in progress, do not disturb”.
This was the thought I discarded.
The second one was: “Holy Emmanuel and Saint Oghenebrume Patricia’s eleven sisters! Writers should have lab coats too!”
And now, here are my reasons why.
Writing is a science
If scientists are wearing lab coats, writers should too because na the same thing we dey do. Here it is. There is art, which is the expression of talent, portrayed before an audience and recognized for the mysterious quality it delivers (in sighs of appreciations, flashes of intuitive visions, screams of “Correeeect guy!” etc. etc.). Then, there is the aim to put out a work of absolute perfection, the science of observation (of the environment and its inhabitants), drafting and modifications by the dozen, and then the presentation of the bound (or e-published) work, which is the process by which the art of writing is delivered. The process of writing is scientific in its very nature. Every angle is analysed (consciously or subconsciously), discarded or penned down. If other scientists are gerrin it, give a writer lab coats abeg.
Lab coats are for screening
Very few individuals face as much criticism, or to coin a very apt phrase, “have as much shit thrown at them” as writers do. Loads of fecal matter are being tossed at the writer on a daily, from family, critics, insensitive blog comments, dusty copies of published books rotting away in warehouses etc. and what better way to put the protective properties of the lab coat to good use than to drape them around the shoulders of an ink-stained writer.
Let me not even talk about the ink stains.
Lab coats are symbols of honour and prestige
Back in the day, lab coats used to be black. Long, black rubber or leather outfits that could hide the unsightly splashes of blood and gore. But in trying to rebrand the image of the sciences, and remove the primitive conviction that consulting with a doctor or scientist was tantamount to signing a death warrant or a will, the colour was changed to white. A colour symbolizing hope, purity, compassion and a host of other awesome stuff. You see a bloke in a long white coat today (not talking about Saint Obi in that terrible Nigerian movie from the early 2000s, though this analogy may be apt for R.Kelly in that music video from the same time period), and your heart just overflows with awe and thigh-parting aspirations.
Who, but the writer is more deserving of these feelings? The ability to, with simple words on paper, create characters, play them in scenarios, polish and paint landscapes and entire worlds with conflict and alliances, adventure and danger, violence and passion; evoke strong emotions within the readers, of sadness and compassion, of empathy and of violence, of love and forgiveness, of desire and lust, of wickedness and magic. With only ink on paper? Nah mehn..give the man a lab coat and a godhood.
Watch out for next post: Why Writers should be depicted with halos in photos and pictures”
Anyway, that’s my argument for now. Will write this into a bill and mail to the Nigerian Senate. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. So what do you think? Should we advocate for more writers to wear lab coats?
Wondering why I said “more writers’?
- I have absolutely nothing against optometrists and or physicists. My ex-girlfriend is one. Oh..wait..
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GOD bless Nigeria.