Why can’t we all just be uniform by sharing common views, ethics and values? I guess that’s what zombies have and we’re (only) humans so long as our physiological makeup works with the invincible freewill of our minds. This non-uniformity is the essence of humanbeingship. At times, these differences can be infuriating, but upon some basic beer-parlour debate, one would see that they are essential parts of our social interactions.
Alcohol makes people speak English. Alcohol is proven to be a tongue-loosener. It emboldens the timid, embiggens the feeble and gives temporary voice to the generally mute. In truth, there is the occasional discussion of substance but that list would bore us all to death. I don’t write those. Here’s a list of the topics you people discuss the most at Nigerian bars:
When I was in 300 level, doing a course I will probably never use to feed, I went on a field trip to a bush outside a beautiful city in Nigeria. In the sweltering heat, our lecturer picked up a random pebble and asked what kind of a rock it was. After a moment of silent contemplation, the bastard, a 300-level student of geology and mineral sciences said, and I quote: “STONE”
Out of the oldschool propensity to immediately punish stupidity, the lecturer slapped him. That was THE lesson I needed on specificity. So, when I started this article on my phone in the danfo over a sobering bottle of Viju chocolate, I dumped the idea of making “football” the first item on the list for a more particular topic.
The #Russia2018 World Cup, once again, predictably brought to fore, the age long (if something is ten years old, can we call it that?) discussion of who the best player in the world is. See ba? These things are ultimately subjective as there’s no ironclad metric to gauge it. Statistically, the Balon D’Or is evidently skewed towards attackers. Objectively, for their sheer brilliance, ridiculous consistency and contributions to their team’s successes, they are rightfully regarded as two of the greatest of all time.
Fans of both players usually adopt a nuance-free approach when ramming opinions down each others’ throats, and because standards couldn’t possibly be fixed, arguments abound. It starts innocuously enough, before turning bitter and sometimes even violent. For context, Ronaldo and Messi have had five Balon D’Ors each since 2008.
Football fandom gives a pretty accurate peek into the mind of the average person: you’re not debating opinions as much as you’re debating the person. For things as subjective as “best in the world,” people approach such arguments with preconceptions and insecurities. Offence is doled out in vast quantities and very swiftly taken by warring parties. I have listened and I have heard them. Normal banter takes up more serious tones, with blanket statements like “only an idiot will think Messi is better than C. Ronaldo…”
When next you’re drinking Trophy at a beer-parlour, avoid this discussion because it rarely ends well.
**If I say who I think is greater now, many just close this tab. You people are funny.
At the O.B.O concert which held in February of 2018, Davido brought Wizkid out on stage and definitively ended perennial rumours of discord between the two A-listers. The *reconciliation was heartbreaking to many of us as we wondered what we were going to do with the rest of our lives.
The Wizkid-Davido dichotomy is a ripe topic always useful for idle chatter over bottles and shot of liquor. In the Venn diagram of fans of both artistes, many will fall in the intersection. I love the sultry things that Wizkid to songs, but Davido’s “DODO,” purely for its intro is the ringtone for my number one girlfriend.
This one is much less belligerent than that of the Roanldo-Messi discussion, because its much closer to home and we have accepted the fact that people in our age brackets already have more money than many of us will have in four lifetimes.
Recently, former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party chose to not participate in a *debate involving other forerunners after he found that the incumbent had chosen to sit it out. On Twitter, where there are so many hot, uneducated, wrong takes, many human men and women were of the opinion that he did not respect the polity/electorates enough. I sighed out of my disdain for idealism.
Politics is a long game that makes a mockery of our simplistic and puritanical opinions. For something that touches the sensibilities of people, it’s often difficult to marry logic with sentiment. At Nigerian beer parlours, you oft hear sentiments ranging from the mundane to the amusing to the bemusing to the downright stupid.
“Of course he will not construct that road because he uses a jet”
The Friday that followed the 2015 elections, the Imam in my neighbourhod mosque in Ilorin said “e je ka dupe pe Musulumi egbe wa lo wole,” (Let’s thank God that it’s a Muslim like us that won).
I think the earlier we realize that a typical politician would rather enact war and shrug at loss of lives and property than risk losing (re)election, the earlier we recognize things as they are. Politics is mostly madness and many more seemingly sane people need to get involved.
For now though, we continue the heated debates which doesn’t boil over because of cold bottles of beer.
“With the rate at which things are going, what sin is left uncommitted for the next generation? We are living in such a profane world. Was there ever really a time some people were wiped out because of sin or religious transgressions…,” wrote my friend on Twitter.
I told him those people were only wiped out because God wanted to use them as examples to coming generations. And I told him “there’s no sin, as per magnitude, that we’re committing in this day and age, that has not been done. The mode might be different.”
I could be very wrong.
Cases for how perceived societal ills have become commonplace and how brazen contemporary youth perpetrate them are made. These points are almost always tied to social media and it’s never not an amusing topic of discourse. The good part is that these points can be easily countered by anyone who is not a complete idiot.
The nostalgic narration of oldsters is tinged with revisionism and the rebuttals tendered by the youngsters are functions of the debater’s intelligence. One might just hope that our options in this country are not confined to choosing the tallest dwarves. We must do better holistically.
All of us.
STYLES THAT GIVE MALE CHILDREN
A joke that is not a laughing matter; this is an offshoot of general sexual exertions discussed by bar goers who are mostly men. Mostly.
I could write about sex from many guises. I could write about patriarchy. I could write about misogyny. I could write about sexism. I could write about gender equality. I could write about feminism. I could write about all these, but I would rather not.
What starts out with discussions of flings plunges into animated lectures on peculiar contortions and concoctions that produce babies of a particular sex. Me I just know that all children have equal capabilities of being utterly useless.
God safe us all.