Are you one of those people, that, no matter what happens, you just go with the flow? I mean, good or bad, you remain even, despite the calamity around you?
It’s a rather pleasant state of being, this going-with-the-flow thing. You can see things with abundant clarity, and stand firm even in the eye of the storm (knowing that it will pass bringing mayhem and madness, when it does).
I’m a go-with-the-flow-er. Lord knows your boy has been tested by trials and travails (another story for a different time). Suffice to say, if you’ve just met me or have known me for years, you’ll always encounter the same ‘ole Stephen.
My wife marvels at my unflappable nature. I think it’s a reaction to growing up in a house full of crazy Nigerians. Eventually, you become anesthetized to all forms of drama, achieving a Zen-like quality.
Growing up Nigerian is no joke. When your dad speaks with a thick Nigerian accent and points with his middle finger (all my friends found this trait to be quite hysterical), you learn to cope.
When your mom conducts herself as if she were THE original bush-diva (Omfoofoo got nuthin’ on mom dukes), you learn to be amused.
When your older sister is a domineering bully (she regularly beat all three of us up at one time), you grow a thick skin.
And when two of your younger brothers are a mal-adjusted overachieving genius (think Harvard MBA in Triathelons) and an aspiring meglomaniac (4 degrees, including a PhD, and not a lick of common sense), it’s either drugs in heavy doses or learn to cultivate some form of inner mental clarity.
It all started when I was little. Once, my dad brought home a billy goat. My brothers and sister thought we’d received the wonderful gift of a family pet. What? We were Nigerian. What did we know of pets?
For a full week, we fed Billy (yes, we named him Billy. I told you we were Nigerian, didn’t I?) and showered him with love. Until Saturday came.
You see, on Saturday a bunch of my relatives came over for a party (my parents were always throwing parties). That evening, my dad, a few uncles and I went into the back yard and untied Billy from the pole to which he had been tied.
My father produced a machete, and after saying a few unintelligible words or prayer in Igbo (presumably to the gods of savage acts performed in front of small children), proceeded to SLIT BILLY’S THROAT! Brave Billy bleated his last breath, and was promptly turned into a feast.
I was shocked. Who knew my peaceful, smiling, heavily accented-English speaking, middle-finger-pointing, five foot six, buck fifty, 50 year old daddy, was a straight killer?!
And why was I out there with he and these other brutish savages celebrating the death of poor Billy? What did Billy ever do to any of you?!!!
Growing up in America, with savages for parents (and relatives) provided me with numerous opportunities to hone the ability to remain detached while observing even the most heinous of events unfold before me (I’m not even going to go into the time he took me to the farm to get a cow – let’s just say he met the same fate as Billy).
The Stephen who blogs before you is the product of these trials and travails.
So if you ever find yourself in a tight spot, with nowhere to turn, think of Billy, and go with the flow (but don’t let anyone with a machete anywhere near you).