Tag Archives: Stephen Chukumba says

I’ve Been Domesticated (aka You’re Slipping Dude)

I don’t know when it happened.

One day, I’m the king of the castle.

The lord of all I survey.

My word is law.

My rule absolute.

But that day has passed.

It’s a new day now, and I’m feeling a tad…disoriented.

You see, a few weekends ago, my wife had her girlfriend over.

In anticipation of her arrival, I cooked (barbecued actually) and cleaned.

After D (my wife’s friend) arrived, I waited on she and my wife, hand and foot, attending to their every need.

As the evening progressed, I found myself cleaning up after them.

“Yes dear?” became my mantra.

I was a bonafide manservant.

The houseboy of Half of a Yellow Sun.

It was right after I poured them each another glass of wine, and began washing the dishes, that I had the most shocking revelation:

I’ve been domesticated!

There I was, standing at the kitchen sink, as my wife and her girl chatted about this, that and the other in the dining room.

I found myself (half) listening to their conversation, content in my domestication, offering my two cents from the peanut gallery.

Very much periphery to their merriment.

As I turned and smiled at some clever thing the wife was saying, I had an out-of-body experience.

The old Stephen had a few words for this pathetic domesticated creature, and it went a little something like this…

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Stephen Chukumba says: “Go with the flow.”

See the bubble. Be the bubble. You are the bubble.

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).

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Stephen Chukumba says: “It’s all about con-text.”

Disclaimer: This post contains some politically incorrect content. I am both embarrassed and ashamed to even relate the information contained herein. However, in my defense, I was so amused by some of these gems, that I would have been remiss not to share.

If you text, Twitter, IM, Skype or engage in almost any form of micro-chatter, you’re familiar with “text-speak.” “Text-speak” are those acronyms which, despite their primary utility as abbreviated words that are easier to type, convey a common meaning, and are now used in regular conversation.

I am not talking about all texting shortcuts, like ROTFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing) or LMAO (Laughing My Ass Off) or even WTF (What The F*ck), each of which is widely used and well known, because in spite their ubiquity, they haven’t been adopted as part of our everyday speech.

texting

I text, therefore I am.

I’m referring to those texting shortcuts, that have made the transition from the screen to our mouths. BFF, for example, is perhaps the most widely recognized text-speak in common use today. BFF (for those of you still dragging your knuckles across gravel or perhaps without BFFs) stands for ‘Best Friends Forever.’

OMG is another acronym that has become part of our uber-forward text-savvy vernacular, and stands for ‘Oh My God’ (or goodness, if you’re not trying to take the Lord’s name in vain).

TMI is a third. TMI, which stands for ‘Too Much Information,’ is a virtual mainstay in this tell-all society we live in. I would have loved to tell Oprah TMI yesterday, when she had the chimp lady on. I didn’t need to know or SEE all that.

Yeah, I watch Oprah, so what?

There are countless others that have made the leap, like ‘addy’ (address), DIY (Do It Yourself), or IM (Instant Message, as in “IM me”). But recently, a friend of mine hipped me to a few that weren’t so familiar, but are (apparently) in widespread use and clearly have their place.

Take ABC for example. Do you know your ABCs? Most of us would automatically answer ‘yes’ (unless, of course, they were illiterate, and in that case wouldn’t be capable of reading this page to form an answer). And they’d be right, but not for the reason they assumed.

In text-speak, ABC refers to ‘Angry Black Chics.’ Two points for whoever knew that before arriving at this point. Listen closely, and you’ll probably hear the term ABC off the lips of a few brothers discussing women woes (“Man I can’t handle no mo’ ABCs, I needs me a white girl!”)

I know you know what AA is. C’mon, stop playing. It’s not Alcoholics Anonymous (although I’d imagine that there are some AA members that text ‘Im going 2 my AA mtg. C u there’, but that’s besides the point).

AA refers to ‘African Americans.’ When texting, or talking, referring to Black people as AAs will help avoid some awkward situations. For example, when discussing your outrage over Tyrone’s promotion to the first junior assistant to the night shift loading dock shift manager position, mask your hostility towards members of the darker nation by saying, “Those AAs get all the jobs,” leaving Tyrone (and the rest of the darkies) none the wiser.

The pièce de résistance of our post today, is definitely 5397. Not familiar with 5397? No, these are not the Lost doomsday numbers (which are 4 8 15 16 23 42 dummy). Nor are they last night’s Pick 4 winners.

5-3-9-7 on the alpha-numeric buttons of a phone, spell J-E-W-S. Yes, take it all in. Hey Skinhead! Sick and tired of Jews? Now you can state publicly that “5397s are taking over the world,” and fear no recrimination of being labeled antisemitic.

I hope you learned a lot today, and ‘Big up!’ to Carmen for her etymological assistances.

If you know of any words that have made the transition from text to speech, please feel free to share them with me. Who knows, you may be sitting on a texting DITR (Diamond In The Rough – I just made that one up).

For more text acronyms, visit Netlingo.

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Stephen Chukumba says: “Reading is fun-for-mentals.”

By my own admission I do not like to read…books, that is. That is not to say that I am a complete ignoramus, but I’m pretty close.

My wife on the other hand, devours books. She usually reads two or three books at a time. Right now, she’s reading New England White, A Yellow Raft In Blue Water  and Lost Symbol. Compared to her, I am a grunting Neanderthal, scrawling unintelligible symbols in the dirt.

AYellowRaftInBlueWater

Chanel is reading this...

New_England_White

...and this.

LostSymbol

...and this...

She’s always talking about how good this or that author is, imploring me to pick up a book and read. I usually pshaw her, opting instead to click click clack away on my laptop. I’m on my computer all day, what do I need to pick up a book for?

The_Emperor_of_Ocean_Park

I'm reading this.

Anyway, she’s just finished reading her second Stephen L. Carter book, and was gushing over how well he wrote. For a few years she’s been trying to get me to read his first book, The Emperor of Ocean Park, and I simply wasn’t having it.

But after she broke down the fact that he was an African American author, a mystery writer, and had a national bestseller, I gave in. And you know what? The book was damn good!

I couldn’t put the damn thing down! I was reading on the toilet, in bed, making breakfast, doing laundry. If I could drive and read at the same time, I would have. I’ve got about 150 pages to go (the book is 654 pages) and I can’t wait to find out ‘who dunnit.’

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Stephen Chukumba says: “It’s a (input child’s gender here)!”

The wife and I are having our fourth child, due around February 4, 2010.

With the exception of Asha Ming (our first), I’ve found out the sex of each kid and she has remained in the dark, lest her foreknowledge of the child’s gender ruin the surprise she’d experience finding out at birth.

Since the ultrasound, I’ve known the gender, but the wife doesn’t know, nor does she want to know.

Despite her articulated stance, that she doesn’t want to find out, she’s been playing Sherlock Holmeslice, trying to figure out the sex of the child, without actually coming right out and asking.

It started with her trying to interpret her dreams. She used to consistently have dreams of a baby boy. According to her, her dreams always tell her the correct sex of the baby. That is, until she started having girl dreams too!

She’s gotten so crazy that I intentionally drop little statements, just to mess with her. If, for example, I say, “the baby is going to look like me,” she’s automatically assume that the baby is a boy. Or if I say, “the baby’s active like Asha Ming was,” it’s a girl.

I told her I’d put her out of her misery and just let her know the sex of the child, but she’s like “if I didn’t find out the sex of the other kids, so I’m not gonna find of this one either.”

Go figure.

Chanel, if you’re reading this, we’re having a girl/boy (select one).

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Stephen Chukumba says: “Buddha Bar, Gansevoort, Employees Only. Booooooo!”

I’m going to keep this rant short and sweet. Bouncers are corny. There, I said it.

 

Ajna Bar

Ajna Bar (formerly Buddha Bar) doesn't care for Black people.

Of course, I don’t mean ALL bouncer are corny. Just the ones that arbitrarily preclude me from entering their establishment because I am Black.

They’ll dress up the reason they’re keeping me outside of their vaulted halls of revelry, “You’re too casual,” (Translation: “You’re too Black.”)

Or “It’s a private party tonight.” (Translation: “It’s private. Everyone can get in tonight but you, Blackie.”)

 

Employees Only should be called 'Only Employees Who Are Not Black"

Or, my favorite “We can’t let you in looking like that.” (Translation: “If you weren’t such an intimidating looking Black person in your urban attire, perhaps you wouldn’t strike fear in the hearts of our clientele and make them uncomfortable partying with you.”)

You must know that I was attired rather hoodishly last night, so I take nothing away from gatekeepers doing their jobs and trying to prevent riff-raff from sullying the interior of their clubs.

However, since I have been barred from each of these very same clubs, when I was DRESSED TO THE NINES, their purported reasons for yesterday’s insult are singularly unbelievable.

The offending establishments are:

Buddha Bar, 17 Little West 12th Street, New York, New York. They are particularly racist in the application of their door policy, but always with a touch of class. I almost don’t realize that they’re being racist.

Employees Only, 510 Hudson Street, New York, New York. I realize that even my own people can be subject to prejudices. A brother played me out at the door last night. Hard. He barely glanced in my direction. I was cold dissed from the periphery!

 

Hotel Gansevoort

Beware, Hotel Gansevoort has a little trollish man at the door.

Hotel Gansevoort, 18 Ninth Avenue, New York, New York. I was turned away by a short swarthy Napoleonic gatekeeper numerous times. Wonder if it’s not my race, but my height.

I’m not really a club/late night kind of fellow, so last night’s meanderings were quite amusing, since ultimately, if I were permitted entry into any of the establishments which turned me away, I would have been spending greenbacks.

I guess if they can afford to discriminate, then they must be doing alright!

Black people, if you’re going out in NYC and you want to give yourself a fighting chance of getting past the gatekeepers, here is some advice:

1. Never wear sneakers or any kind of casual footwear. If your feet don’t look like they’re smarting from being forced into pointy, slippery cobbler torture cells, you’re not a slave to fashion, and they don’t need your kind.

2. Avoid jeans or other casual pants, such as cargos or camouflage. It makes you look cheap and says, “I’m not here to spend any money, I just want to rub up on something.”

3.  If, at all possible, avoid being Black. It’s a dead give-away that you’re not the patron they want.

4. Boycott Buddha Bar, Gansevoort and Employees Only. They’re far too uppity and they obviously don’t need our dough.

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Stephen Chukumba says: “My children are…peculiar.”

At the advice of counsel (the wife) the names of my children have been changed to protect their reputations, which will surely be ruined if anyone ever comes across this post in the future.

I don’t know what my wife did when she was pregnant, but she baked some weird strange peculiar kids. Of course, I contributed some genetic material to the mix, but in my opinion, the particularities of my children have more to do with the nine months gestation, than my little spermatozoa (aka “It’s the wife’s fault, not mine.”)

Take my oldest, Sasha Sming, who had the strangest habit of tying things in knots. Stuffed animals, toys and objects of all kinds were found bound and gagged in all parts of the house. (Not really gagged, but totally bound)

Teddy bears, bunny rabbits, Afro Barbies (we only get down with dolls in which the children can see reflections of themselves), Lego figures, tricycles, knitting needles, were all bound by Sasha Sming.

Literally anything that she could wrap a piece of string/rope/yarn/headphone cord/jump rope (you get the picture) around was enveloped in these elaborately tied knots. We were really quite disturbed (still are actually – gulp).

Clearly, in her former life, she was either a boy scout, longshoreman or a dominatrix with a bondage fetish.

My son, Nehpets, is a pre-pubescent Adonis. Women just find him incredibly appealing (definitely a trait inherited from his daddy).

From the day he was born, members of the female species have simply been enamored with him. As an extension of the awareness of his appeal to women, his peculiar habit is disrobing.

The wife and I have been regularly perplexed by the frequency with which we’d find this boy with his shirt off. As he got older and could articulate himself, he’d say (to justify being topless) that he’d gotten his shirt wet, or that he was hot, or some other equally implausible reason for walking around the house half-naked.

Nowadays, he regularly gets dressed in his pj’s sans top.

In addition to taking off his shirt, he’s fond of showing off his muscles, and has the most unusual ability to undulate his stomach like a belly dancer.

In Nehpets’ his past life, he must have been a Chippendale, body builder or male escort.

Without question and despite the unusual behavior of Sasha Sming and Nehpets, Darun is by far the most peculiar.

I could describe it in excruciating detail, but it’s probably best if I just show you.

This particular behavior started when she was about 9 months old. We’d find baby blankets and pillows stuffed into her onesies.  As she got older, more and more stuff was being stuffed into her clothes.

We theorize that she may have been a magician in a former life…or a shoplifter.

At the end of the day, I must admit (in the absence of a paternity test on Maury) that these kids are just lil’ bits o’ me, ’cause as hard as it may be to imagine, people say that I’m wild crazy peculiar too.

Go figure.

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Stephen Chukumba says: “Back to school night…ugh!”

With an apple for my teacher 'cause I knew I'd get a kiss. Always got mad, when the class was dismissed. Passing Me By, Pharcyde

With an apple for my teacher 'cause I knew I'd get a kiss. Always got mad, when the class was dismissed. Passing Me By, Pharcyde

The start of every school year inevitably brings about one of the more unpleasant parental rites of passage – back to school night.

I say ‘unpleasant’ because of the rehashed and canned speeches, and the ‘few words’ (read ‘never-ending soliloquies’) that each principal, superintendent, curriculum director and/or school counselor (and it’s usually a torturous combination of them all) force we captive parents to endure.

When the talking heads eventually release us, we’ll scatter like roaches, all vying to get ‘face time’ with the real targets of the evening: our kids’ teachers.

“Thank you for coming out tonight blah, blah, blah…”

I’m sizing up the other parents to figure out who I may have to elbow or shove out of the way to get to classroom 9. I try to stay focused on what’s being said, but invariably the mind wanders.

Hmmm, why’d that guy get up? Is he in Mrs. Carter’s class? Perhaps I should have sat closer to the door.

“And the next thing we’re doing this year, blah, blah, blah…”

Is that Jaime’s mom? She’s a hottie. Duran is definitely getting a playdate with her. Is that her man? What a duck! How’d he bag that?

“Just to piggyback on what Ms. J just said, this year is going to be very exciting, blah, blah, blah…”

Don’t piggyback on what anyone just said! Speak your peace and let us go!

“And this year, the PTA is blah, blah, blah…”

Eww! Some nasty bastard just passed gas! I’ve got to get out of here! Could this torture be any more exquisite?

“One of our primary goals this years is blah, blah, blah…”

I wonder if anyone will notice if I pick my nose. I can definitely feel a boogie up there. I hope no one can see it…but my nostrils are rather prominent…

“Thank you, please head over to your children’s classes.”

There is a God! Second person out the door, first one in the class…wait, where the f*ck did all of you parents come from? Did you skip the speeches? Why I oughtta…

“Welcome to class nine, blah, blah, blah…”

No more speeches! How the hell is my daughter doing? Will she be a Rhodes Scholar? What’s her IQ? What exactly is your teaching methodology? Will she be ready for kindergarten next year? Answers woman! I want answers!

Yeah, my baby girl is only in pre-school. So what? Can’t a brotha be concerned about academic excellence in pre-k?

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Stephen Chukumba says: “You know you are loved when you can fart in the bed.”

When sleeping with me, this is an absolute essential.

When sleeping with me, this is an absolute essential.

As a man, I’m often given to bouts of flatulence. All creatures pass gas, and I am no exception.

Passing gas is proof positive that the body is working properly, breaking down the food we intake, metabolizing it, keeping the stuff we need to generate energy, and disposing of the by-products.

Notwithstanding the fact that it’s a natural process, it’s generally frowned upon in certain settings. Flatulating in public, faux pas. Flatulating in private, not so bad.

Passing gas on a crowded subway or other means of public transportation, for example, is a gross breach of the public trust, and should be punishable by public lashing (or some equally distasteful public shaming).

Passing gas in private, however, is a different story. Case in point, passing gas with your boys, is usually a jovial experience. In fact, when you’re with your boys, the louder and stinkier the better.

However, with women, passing gas is something you must cultivate. Your ability to fart (in their presence) really depends upon what stage of the relationship you’re at.

If you’re dating, for instance, then suppress those stink bombs at all costs. There is nothing worse than passing gas when you’re being intimate. A fart is a sure way to dry thinks up quickly.

But this won’t always be the case. Once you get to know a woman, test the waters, pass an SBD while you’re watching a movie and see what happens.

Depending upon her reaction, you may have to initially deny it with every sinew in your body and the conviction of one (genuinely innocent) wrongly accused of a heinous crime.

Invariably (and with time), once you own up to it, she’ll tell you how disgusting you are, and her love for you will allow this offense to pass, without jeopardizing your future together.

After almost 10 years of marriage, I speak these words as truth. I am a flatulator. Make no mistake about it. Some are loud, others silent. Some slip out, others are forced out with authority. Some squeak, some whine, others bellow, but I own them all.

I realized that my wife’s love for me would withstand the test of time, one evening after we had a serious soul food dinner. Collard greens, black eye peas, fried chicken – the stuff of flatulation nightmares.

We were nestled in our bed headed off to la-la land when it happened – I passed the most sinister SBD gas beast. I knew the minute it passed the exit only sign, that there would be trouble. There was nothing I could do but wait and see.

Hopefully, she was already deep in REM sleep, and this gross nocturnal breach of civility would pass unnoticed, or as some distasteful smell-track to an unpleasant dream.

But twas not to be…

Chanel: STEPHEN! I guess she’s not asleep.

Me: What happened? Feign ignorance, Stephen, it’s the only way!

Chanel: Oh my God! Did something crawl up in you and die? Perhaps?

Me: You sure that wasn’t you? Nice one. Turn the tables. Who’s to say she wasn’t stinking up the place her damn self?

Chanel: Oh come on! You know you did it! True. In nine years of marriage, I’ve never smelled her fart.

Me: Something I ate doesn’t agree with me. That’s right. Keep your cool. Like the stink bomb, this too, will pass.

Chanel: You are so nasty! But you love me anyway, so who’s really the nasty one here, huh?

Me: Gimme a kiss and go back to bed. The next one will smell like lavender. The next one might actually be an actual poop. Maybe I should go to the bathroom.

Chanel: You are a fool. Good night stinky man.

Me: Good night Mrs. Stinky. All’s well that ends well.

Lesson? I have no idea, I just wanted to share a fart story.

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Stephen Chukumba says: “Myxer’s mixer rocks!”

Myxer, mixing it up.

Myxer, mixing it up.

I just arrived at the Ainsworth, and what is unquestionably one of the most well attended mobile events I’ve ever been to in NYC.

It’s being hosted by Myxer, the self-styled “leader in mobile content,” which offers ringtones, wallpapers, games and more. In fact, Chris Sniffen, the Director of Northeast Sales just introduced himself (he interrupted my conversation with Jeff Frank, but as the host of the evening, I’ll let him slide).

The event is part of the Digital Wednesdays series, and it is, hands down, the best I’ve ever been to.

Now this is not to say that this Myxer event is the best DW has ever hosted. By my own admission, I’ve probably only been to about three or four, so I’m not really the most credible arbiter of the Digital Wednesday offerings. But, of the mobile mixers (no pun intended) I’ve attended, this one ranks as the singular best.

Why? You ask? Because, first of all, it’s packed. The minute I walked in, I just knew I was in the wrong place, because the place was packed. And considering the fact that this week is CTIA, I figured it would be a ghost town.

Folks mingling at Digital Wednesday

Folks mingling at Digital Wednesday

Second, there are lots of sexy people in the cut. Ordinarily, the attendees are a mix (again, no pun intended) of geeks and squares, and cats pushing their business cards at you. There is almost a benign ambivalence towards doing business tonight.

Third, and most importantly, the people genuinely appear to be having fun. Usually, there is a hint of defeat in the air, as folks seem resigned to go through the motions. But tonight the air and energy is electric (maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Yankees are in the playoffs and the games is on every one of the 36 (count ’em 36) flat screens.

Max Ramirez, the dapper host of Digital Wednesdays, just pressed a drink ticket into my palm (Gingerale here I come!) and invited me to mingle (which I will do as soon as I finish this post).

All I can say is that if they keep this up, I may have to make a habit of this.

Hmmm. I wonder if the guy I’m supposed to be meeting is here.

Oh well. I’m sure I’ll bump into him!

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