I remember every bit of that movie, “The Ultimate Gift” – and its sequel, “The Ultimate Life.” Those movies changed my life in more ways than I can report here. Just a quick recap: Jason’s billionaire grandfather, Red Stevens, wills almost everything to him, but needed to get him transformed, being a spoilt brat, before having him take possession of an empire he built from ground up with his sweat and blood. Before his demise, he prepares a series of 12 ‘personal’ gifts Jason must first receive before landing “The Ultimate Gift” – insane wealth! Steven’s lawyer was to see that Jason performed satisfactorily on each ‘gift’ before the billionaires fall to his laps. The gifts of work, learning, friends, giving, love, perfect day…

Now, what that movie particularly did for me was get me searching for other unsung gifts; gifts God, family, friends and even strangers give us by the day and yet we take them for granted, yet we fail to acknowledge and appreciate them. What I’ve come to realize is that some of these unsung gifts are even more important than the gift of cash and the likes. A personal example would do.

September 28, 2018 was the day. The day I was given the gift of an experience that changed so much about the way I see this country. A family invited me over for a party at a facility on the Bonny Island. All I was to do was appear at their Trans-Amadi jetty, identify myself, join “Confidence 1” – and that’d be all, as they’d be waiting for me at the other end.

But that wasn’t all. That was also my first travel on deep waters. That was my real first experience of how important being on that boat makes you, as we had two Nigerian Navy gunboats escort us from the very start to the finish of the 1.45hrs-long journey. So I don’t end up saying too much, lemme end it already by saying that the experience on that island was just like heaven on earth, and left me with the conclusion that there are different ‘types’ of Nigerians and it’s up to us to choose our type. I made my pick on that island.

When I was good to leave, after a thrilling night with Okey Bakassi and Dan the Humorous, my friends looked at me in gratitude and thanked me profoundly for making out time and taking the risk of coming in search of them ‘at the very end of the earth.’ I looked at them and smiled. Perhaps they didn’t know they’d given me more. They’d given me the gift of a life-changing experience, one I’ll always be grateful for.

Back to the ‘gifts’ gist. I’m convinced that the gift of experience is as important as the gift of cash and other material items. And I think we should be as grateful for the gift of experience as with other ‘tangible’ gifts.

Your No.1 fan,

The Limit of Trust

I find it super-difficult to tell the stories of “White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen” apart. Movies, actually. This difficulty stems from the fact that they told a similar story – albeit different lines: how the White House was captured and how some superhero from within turned things around. I’m particularly confused right now because I want to pick out something from one of the two movies but can’t exactly say which is which. Moreover, I’m counting on the assumption that it’s rare to find someone who’s seen one and not the other.

If you’ve seen both movies, then let’s do this together: Which of the movies has Bernie, the ex-Secret Service agent that eventually saved the day; the one that has little Connor as Mr. President’s son, who’d lost his mum at the start of the movie? You, tell me… That’s the one from which I intend to borrow a leaf.

If you’ve seen that particular movie, did you catch the scene where the defense person was gisting Bernie why the terrorists were very interested in getting Connor, the President’s son, and why he must be found and evacuated before they ever get to him? In case you missed it, this is why: There’s a clause in the constitution that relieves the president of his oath of office when he has to choose between doing his job and protecting his family. Notice that the South Korean terrorists didn’t bother asking for his severance code; they were busy looking for his son. They already knew that any American president, including Trump, would gladly give his or her life to keep the American people safe.

I just love the ‘realness’ of the writers of a constitution that permits the president to give out the most important password in the world to terrorists in order to keep his immediate family safe. There’s a limit to the trust they’d given him in the first place; they don’t expect too much from him.

And so, when next you accuse someone of betraying you, it is only fair that you evaluate the circumstances that led to that betrayal. What was at stake? What were the available options, what choice did they make, and who is/are the beneficiaries of that choice? Trust me, sometimes you’d just discover that you’d have done worse than he or she did should you have been in their shoes.

My point exactly: Be fair to those you trust. Don’t use your trust to rob them of our shared flawed humanity, of their right to self-preservation when their very own life is at stake, of their right to mercy when they screw up.

Your No.1 fan,

PS. This is not a call to condone betrayal of trust. This is only a way to happiness.