Day 9: Ageism

Being one of the youngest in every group I’ve ever been in, professional, academic or fraternal, I feel really competent to comment on ageism, the effects and how I manage it.

See link to previous posts here

Ageism basically is the discrimination against people based on their ages. Usually, it’s used in respect to older people, who are discriminated in society due to their feebleness, etc. It’s the measure that comes in effect when employers restrict older people from applying for certain roles, and/or restrict them from promotion at certain times.

But ageism can also be about youth

Ageism can also be discrimination against young people, in terms of immaturity. Discrimination that prevents their voices from being heard, that negates their voting rights etc. In some climes, such as mine, this particular form of ageism is more common. Mostly because the demographic in power is usually old, and thus ageist discrimination tends to flow from that direction. That’s why the Nigerian government proposed a bill in 2011 that openly eliminates discrimination based on age when employing, but would never consider appointing a pre-30 year old into political office or even allow such contest a democratic election. In the US, the Age Discrimination Act protects people who are above 40 years. Does shit all for people who are below 40 years though.

18 year olds pay tax however.

Ageism was fostered by older people

In my opinion, older people created ageism. Older people, after decades of facing inabilities, internalising inefficiency and ageist discrimination, turn around to foster that same discrimination on the generations that follow. It is the classic, you should be punished, because I was, whippersnapper!

Another reason why Canada is my dream country; there’s no mandatory retirement age in Canada and even when below 17 years, you’re allowed to work provided you’re not needed at school. Once you’re 17, go work, employee.

Ageism could be intentional or unintentional. I myself realise I have often fallen to the temptation of unintentional ageism. I worry when I see older people alone, so certain they cannot cater to themselves. I snort when I see old men driving, certain they are terrible (why the hell do they drive so slow?). I expect older people not to be tech savvy or know the differences between Netflix and cable TV. It’s to be expected.

After years of being exposed to ageism in varying facets, it’s only expected that it rubs off.

So what do I do?

See people as people

I see people as people. It helps that movies (movies influence me, dammit!) have shown me people like Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise, run quarter miles at speeds I cannot even hope of, despite being decades and decades older than me. It also helps that in the groups I’ve worked or studied with, I’ve seen older people who exhibit same or higher levels of intelligence, commitment and vitality as I have. It helps me to see them simply as people. Fellow members of a unit, with flaws and strengths, whose abilities and disabilities stem from their own peculiarities and not as a simple result of their age. This is how I cope with ageism, this is how I push back on my own ageist tendencies.

Disclaimer

  • It’s shameful, and humbling to find I have discriminatory tendencies. Damn.
  • Movies really do influence me much.

Day 8: Artists and Charlatans

As a lover of art, it’s difficult to put an opinion like this in writing and even attempt to make it creative. I’ll rather gush and lambast in a gathering, over beer, with pieces of suya flying out my mouth and waving a chicken leg above my head to buttress my point. Because in one breath, I exalt a writer, his piece of work, efforts and talent, and in another I condemn one, completely and entirely.

Skipping Day 7, because no tattoos.

Yet.

See link to previous posts here

I’ve loved a number of books over time. Fantasy books like the Raven’s Shadow series by Anthony Ryan, Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Mafioso books by Puzo. Spy thrillers by Ludlum, and then late-1990s Cussler. I’ve disliked a few books too; that lord awful Blood and Bone thing by Tomi Adeyemi, that barely lets me past the first chapter, and then all of the rip-offs that are Nnedi Okoroafor’s bestsellers.

The Parsifal Mosaic by Ludlum is one of my favourite books of all time. To start with, it’s the story of a black operations engineer, (read: spy/assassin) who worked for the US State Department and retires after supervising a mission in which his fiancée is shown to be a traitor and is killed before his eyes.
Drama. Passion. Pain. Violence.

His psyche is torn apart in typical Ludlum fashion, and he embarks on a road to rediscovery before he takes on a position in a university as professor of history. While touring his old haunts, cities he had never seen in the daylight, cities in which he had masterminded assasinations, blackmailed bureaucrats, but this time as a tourist, he happens on his supposed dead girlfriend at a busy train station in Rome. A trapdoor to a whirlwind of turmoil is opened and he is tossed back into the world he had left, as he chases after her, chases after those who set them up, upending a chess game initiated by a mad genius strategist codenamed Parsifal, hell-bent on showing the world the hubris behind giving too much power to one person.

The action in Parsifal is explosive, every chapter has stakes higher than the last. You are driven to experience the protagonist; Mikhail Havlicek’s, turmoil, to feel the stress that erupts from his childhood trauma carrying suicide packs on the streets of Prague in the old Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. To feel that stress repeat itself as he races against time to piece together the mosaic and save his sanity, the life of his fiancée and the mind of his priyatel and mentor.

Everything written by Nnedi Okoroafor is plagiarism, as far as I can recall. Finely crafted sentences, able to fool plagiarism checkers, but basic rewordings of any of a hundred different fantasy novels.

Disclaimer

  • I have nothing against Nnedi. I think she’s a brilliant content developer.

Day 6: Fascinations

I had to check the dictionary, and then because I wasn’t satisfied, check Google for the meaning of fascination before writing this. And good thing I did, because my initial subject of interest was Muhammed Buhari, self-acclaimed leader of Nigeria’s Republic, (self-acclaimed because he supervised and then won a completely corrupt and undemocratic election). But then, I found out fascination doesn’t mean, amazement and stupefaction, because, bless me Jesus, that man leaves me amazed and stupefied with each turn. It actually means admire. So well, I don’t admire Buhari.

See link to previous post here

I admire Mrs Adebowale. Oh, it’s not for the usual stuff: lifegiver, caregiver, constant source of comfort and support and succour. That counts utmostly, but isn’t the focus of this piece. It’s for the one major talent that every parent must learn and then, somehow pass on; it’s for her ability to always seem as though she has everything under control.

Here’s the rub.

I am an adult now, I have responsibilities that choke my responsibilities on a daily basis. I understand how there is a pressure to seem as though everything is under control, even though I’m practically living paycheck to paycheck. On most Saturdays, I look as though everything is alright, everything under control, every harness checked, every letter properly crossed and dotted. But somewhere on Thursday, by about 5:42pm, I am in shambles, struggling to keep every stitch from coming loose, grasping at straws and then pulling on threads, thoughts flying every whichever, basically at odds with myself. It’s barely visible to those afar, but pretty clear to all who are close and familial that I’m stretching at seams. It’s de rigeur, every adult faces it. This woman, though keeps it together, every day of the bloody week. Every week.

She’s strong. Stronger than most people I know, psychologically and physically. She once pinned down a 30 plus year old man who wanted to beat me up, and then talked him into silence. She’s brilliant, one of the most analytical minds I’ve ever seen put problem to the thought mill. She will grind out a workable solution of most problems, be they rock or mountain, without even formal education of that subject matter.

She inspires me to go further, to do more, with all that I have. She is the voice, often behind my ear, telling me not to worry, and to make the best of every situation. She taught me how to delay gratification, a philosophy that rules most of my daily decisions, that has made me a harder worker than I would have been.

Mrs Adebowale fascinates me.

Disclaimer

  • That fascinate doesn’t mean amaze has really set me back, questioning all the conversations I’ve ever had.

Day 5: Abodes

Considering the fact that I’ve been in only four countries (including my birth country) this shouldn’t be a hard sell. There are lots and lots of countries I would live, though I haven’t ever visited them. However, the place that immediately jumps to mind at this moment is Austria.

See link to previous challenge post here

I have never visited Austria, and I’ll love to.

Austria, the home of music, of elegant waltzes and operatic concerts. What’s not to love? I want to visit Austria for the music. I want to see the opera in Vienna. To sit in a booth, elegant in my black tie, spying through my glass and oohing and aahing, at the twirls of the dancers and the oh-so-earth-shattering vocals of the singer.

I want to stroll along the streets of her cities, over thin bridges made of stone, crossing placid water. I want to hear the cries of gulls and other birds, to throw bread in the water, and then duck behind a hedge to dodge the Bundepolizei.

I want to eat at a streetside cafe near the Danube. To order fifteen different types of schnitzel and wash down with beer seasoned with gruit and thick with so much yeast. I want to eat icecream while watching a street artist strum a zither down the street.

I want to visit a convent near the Austrian Alps, to stare over the mountains and pretend I can hear the sound of music. I want to run up and down a meadow, searching for edelweiss, and throw my hands all around and scream “I have confidence!”.

I want to ski. Not in an indoor rink, but over the mountain slopes, to be dressed all in white, dark goggles on my eyes, and pretend I am James Bond, on the run from abominable snowmen sent by SMERSH.

I haven’t visited Austria, except in my dreams, but I intend to.

Disclaimer

  • I often pretend I’m Bond while zipping in a Camry around the hairpin bends of Milliken hill.

Day 4: 10 simple facts about you

So, here I am, sitting pretty, Darjeeling and someone decides why not prop up my narcissism just a little bit with this challenge? Exce-what? Excellent.

But simply because I am too narcissistic to believe myself anything else but humble, here’s me modifying the title to 10 simple facts about myself.

For a link to the previous post on this challenge, see here

10 simple facts.

• I like food.

Sure, I’ve got favourites, everybody does (pounded yam and ogbolo, etc. etc.) but, food generally, general food, I go wack am. Your boy dey finish pot, go ask dem.

• I can cook.

It’s not even a brag. I, this man, whips up a mean anything. See, guy, knowing how to cook different from say you sabi cook one particular thing.

Me, sabi cook. Give me the recipe, I go run am.

Using pidgin English obviously because the emphasis must be made.

• I love driving.

Driving is one of my favourite things. Give me a fast car with a great engine and (take out the Nigerian police and) I’ll tour the world. I love the wide spaces and scenery, the sight of life flashing past at top speed, adrenaline pumping in my veins and a tingling in my feet. I love driving.

• I like to dance.

Hehe.
If you’ve ever seen me dance, thunder fire you for the image you’re laughing at. You’re mad. But really, I love dancing. Can barely dance past moving my waist in all the gyro-directions but, damn, I love to dance.

• I hate injections.

This here is the major reason why it’s impossible for me to do cocaine. It’s so major, it comes after my very excellent upbringing and family training. Give me all the tablets of this world, and I’ll swallow them. I’ll push them up my butt if I have to, but by Jove’s Casablanca Casino, I would not take a needle up any part of my body if I can help it.

• I don’t like doing fun alone.

This here is probably why I haven’t visited more countries than I have. Also why I haven’t had as much adventure as I constantly dream. I don’t have fun when I do it alone. I want to travel with others, to run up cliffs, to swim oceans and skydive. The fun is always in the companionship, all that communalism, than in the activity.

• I love minimalist design.

Or at least, what I think minimalism is. My house is themed in two tones, and that perhaps defines everything. It’s probably a gift, my ability to put little together to define much more.

• I value comfort over wealth.

In the diamond-water paradox, I will choose water every day of the bloody week. In my books, there is less honour, less value, in winning it all, with nothing to show; no peace, no joy, no time to enjoy it. Not the current rave but, give me enjoyment everytime.

• I Iove rock music.

Got addicted it after reading a christian book about the dangers of rock music. Actually. Book about rock music groupies losing their souls after being swayed by the music of a demon-slave rocker, and all I picked from it was, “Can I listen to some of this stuff?”. Hehe. I don’t know but the stirring vocals and oft-clashing instruments express me more than most else.

• I prefer no-name brands to fakes.

I hate wearing or using fakes. Give me a no-name brand anyday, or at worst, a barely known brand, than a fake. Maybe it’s because I have a pretty strong sense of originality, or maybe it’s just secondary school and all those days watching people teased for wearing Seun John from P-Diddy. I prefer people getting their due, for what they did, let them receive. Don’t steal ideas, don’t plagiarise.

Phew. Okay, so there they are. 10 simple facts about me. What do you think?

Disclaimer

• I wrote (have been writing) this with my phone. Where the typos appear, forgive and notify.

• I really am a humble person.

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Day 3: First love, first kiss

Writing this was interesting. I smiled more than once. It’s really satisfying to see how deepening this challenge is making me. Dredging up memories I thought lost. Writing this every morning before I set out, has put colour into my day.

That said, we move.

Find links to previous challenge here

Day 3: Your first love, your first kiss

Love is so inspirational. When you’re fifteen, a swelling bag of hormones and semen and emotions, falling in love is probably the most inspirational thing to happen to you. Poems fly off your hands, as fast as you can write them, lyrics to all the best romantic songs form your regular conversation; a rose becomes redder, the sunset more gold. Falling in love is so inspirational, especially when it’s your first love. You’re certain it would never end, you’re picking baby names and planning destination honeymoons.

Easy to do when your pocket money barely funds the bus fare to the next town.

My first love was nothing like the girls I had crushed on before her and physically different too, from the women after. Perhaps that was because I had been unintentional about falling there, and it was my first experience with growing into fondness.

She was kind. So kind. She had one of the quirkiest smiles ever, her cheeks squeeze into these dimples and her huge upper teeth poke just above her lips. She was, is, beautiful, not in that sharp prettiness that is the product of several treatments and dangerous concotions. Hers is a gentle beauty, soft and unobtrusive, but it pulls your eye and holds it there. She was trilingual, I remember nights learning the Yoruba bits to Styl Plus songs, to sing back to her. Days, poring over German to English dictionaries so I could flawlessly say; “Ich lieben dich”.

Still the only german phrase I know after, “Guten morgen” and “Achtung!”.

She gave me nightmares and happy dreams. Waking in a jolt, heart heavy because I feared she had replaced me in dream, waking soaked and sated because she chose me.
Fifteen year old me, was a rollercoaster.

I told my mother about her, so certain I was of our eventual communalism, why not start now to make preparations?

She is married now, to a kind and handsome man, and has a beautiful baby I hope to see one day. To smile into his eyes, wondering all the time how those eyes would have looked riddled with astigmatism and short sightedness. Hehe.

We never did work out, as most of such relationships go, though we’ve remained friends.

My first kiss on the other hand. Ha. This was a rushed, giggly, mess of saliva that doesn’t deserve prose. Fascinating, strange, I didn’t have another until years after. Learning how to kiss was more about intention than practice. The willingness to exchange saliva with someone else, starts from the intensity of your intent. That’s what pushes you past their breath space, takes your eyes off the zit on their forehead and closes it, and then lets your lips brush and then push against theirs.

Kissing is delightful when you know how. A sense of headiness and belonging overwhelms you, especially when it’s your first kiss with that person. Acceptance. Every kiss wouldn’t feel like the first kiss; kisses begin to take on the role of sexual precursors, and bribes as the relationship deepens. Ha. But every once a while would come a passionate kiss, a welcoming, an acceptance, a binding. Those are the kisses worth anything.

Disclaimer

  • Details required in this challenge are enough ammunition for a proper social engineer, it’s scary.
  • Please don’t do this at home. Cheating is bad.

Day 2: Your earliest memory

Focus, focusifies.

Started this yesterday, mostly in attempt to test my focus, and so far, it’s working.

Find link to Day 1 here.

Your earliest memory

The older I get, the more I regret not maintaining a diary. Not like it would have helped me remember my earliest memory but, considering the cobweby fog that I see staring into the past, in a decade I probably would be hard pressed to remember today. That said, my earliest memories all revolve around growing up in a little town just off the Owerri-Port Harcourt-Aba road.

Sifting through those memories, like clawing though smoke, I’m awash with feelings of laughter and discovery. Learning that water is cool, that fire was hot, and that while sand can be fun to play with, and make into many shapes, it stings when it gets in your eyes.

One memory stands out in that very dim image, motivated perhaps by the fact that the picture exists somewhere, though I cannot recall now. I am perhaps 2 years, sitting on my legs, Japanese style, a feat I can barely attempt today, while my picture is being taken. My hair is combed out in an afro, cheeks plumpy like only a lot of akamu, sprinked through with soya bean powder and the occasional spoon of milk, can do. I am wearing a tiny blue singlet with brown stripes and shorts that match, staring into the camera defiantly.

I cannot remember much else of this memory, except that I was happy. Completely happy. I was at peace with the world, at ease and encouraged to learn, expected to laugh. It’s a sharp contrast with this day in 2019, where the expectations I face are that one be sombre and learning is restricted to the belief of the herd mind.

That 2 year old kid, stares back at me now, meaty arms planted on the sandy floor of my grandfather’s compound, and dares me not to be happy, not to be at ease.

Ha. Do I have a choice?

Disclaimer

  • I regularly listen to advice from my younger selves. It’s a genuine sign of humility. Yes.
  • Also, the wisdom of your more naive self cannot be overestimated