IT IS WHAT IT IS

< we can’t always know >

I think the worst crime against charity is ingratitude. And so, it’s become a point of duty for me that no kindness done me – and there’s no such thing as ‘little’ – goes ‘unthanked.’ And I can be annoyingly grateful. That point where you begin to wonder whether what you did was that much. Yes, it was! Or, is it your much?

Until this morning… I learnt that we’re just too limited to exhaust the bounds of gratitude; we can’t know every instance of kindness people show us. Gist: An undergrad classmate, a great friend with whom I’d run business things in Nsukka those years, took delivery of his copy of “Thinking Differently II” and promised to do the needful. He actually put a date to it, May 29. Yesterday, right?

Of course, there could have been reasons why he didn’t get to keep his word. Perhaps salary delays, maybe keeping the promise depended on another person keeping theirs. Sadly, none was the case, given that he actually did keep his word. Just that there was no alert. Unlike Sterling, there was neither a text nor an email to that effect. And, not being my regular account, nothing would’ve made me check account balance. I just couldn’t have known.

Except by intuition. While on morning walkout today, I felt a strong urge to, unlike me, call him to know why he didn’t keep his word. Since it’d naturally be a discomforting conversation, I worked out a comic way of asking. Old buddies understand, after all. Only to find that he actually did part with a good percentage of his salary for me. And I just couldn’t have known had I not asked.

Lesson for him: I wonder how he’d have felt when not even as much as a word of acknowledgement came from me. Not even a thank you. Unlike Cornel, he must have thought. After our conversation, I believe he’d have learnt by now that sometimes people just don’t know what we’ve done for them – no matter how clearly it appears they should’ve known. I’m proof of this. I didn’t know. And wouldn’t have known for a long time.

Lesson for me: I did feel terrible for not having acknowledged, and appreciated, such a kind gesture. But how could I have known? My bank’s technology screw up rubbed off on me – and I’ve learnt that that’s fine. I should make peace with the fact that things that go wrong mustn’t be anyone’s fault. Shit happens. Period.

Lesson for you: It’s up to you to work that out. But don’t miss this: Even as you read this piece, someone, somewhere, somehow, is thinking godly thoughts about you, speaking kindly of you, planning how to surprise you with goodies… And so, as Scriptures say, “We must be continually grateful.”

Lest I forget to add, the money don finish. I use am buy something.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

NO, YOU DON’T GET IT

< people are being the human beings they are >

Why is this rapture Christian preachers keep saying will happen soon taking forever? As soon as possible, wouldn’t be a bad idea. At least, the Christian heaven promises to be forever, painless, and drama-free; we get to spend eternity prostrating before the “Lamb who sits on the throne,” making music with timbrel and harp. I mean, our friends of the other faith get to chill with the virgins. Until then, we are where we are: earth.

While we hang on here, we’re sure to remain subject to the terms and conditions that apply around here, key among which is the fact that we must put up with other people – like us. Imagine a world where over 7 billion people are your exact replica. But that’s only one view. Also imagine that the said over 7 billion people, who are your exact replica, from the earlier instance, also, at the same time, differ from you in varying degrees, as much as some of them being your exact opposite.

Complicated, isn’t it? But it is simply what it is, accounting for why getting along with other people is such a big deal. You think you know them and suddenly you don’t know them anymore; you’re head over heels for them and suddenly they don’t move you anymore. And you’re wondering what this drama called life is really about.

See, the thing is that being a human being is hard labour. We all want the same – as well as different – things. We run on both reason and instinct – and they sometimes conflict. We’re wired to put ourselves first, and get to do whatever it takes to stay alive – at the expense of whomever or whatever. We try to be virtuous and aspire to high moral standards but end up catching ourselves drifting towards viciousness and loose living. Our brother Paul knew what’s up: “I don’t do the good I want to do; I do the evil I don’t want to do” (Romans 7:19).

You want to be happy in this world? Just never forget that people will always be people. They sometimes don’t even know what’s doing them; we just catch ourselves being stupid. Don’t expect too much from people. They simply can’t afford it. And I hope they also know enough to not expect too much from you. You can’t afford it either. When the chips are down, we’re all usually the same. TuBaba was damn right: “No body holy pass.” If you claim say you holy pass, I hope you holy pass Elijah sha.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

“PACKAGE-PROOF” YOURSELF

< you’ve no idea what you can’t see >

I’ll be demonstrating to participants of my forthcoming “Writing Expo 2.0” how every good writing is backbreaking work. It promises to be game-changing and I think you should sign up – or lend someone a helping hand (I’m just a private message away).

Now, much of what gets in the way of good writing is in the eyes. You think you know what you’ve done until you reread your stuff to find the dog’s breakfast you’d made of everything, genuinely shocked at how the errors made it through and how you’d allowed such humiliating omissions pass. Even after going your work through and through, you still get to embarrass your ancestors by what you eventually turned out. Poor eyes there!

“Windows to the soul” we call the eyes, right? And we keep getting people sneak into our souls by rigging our sense of sight. We call it “packaging,” don’t we? You go lover-hunting, for instance, and what you’re on the look out for is just “tall,” “dark,” and “handsome,” forgetting that “tall,” “dark” and “handsome” say nothing about the real deal, character. You go scouting for employees and your first port of call is CV looks, turning a blind eye to such sterling qualities as humaneness and teachability.

Don’t get it twisted, though. Because life is what it is, being that people are head over heels for packaging, give it to them all you can afford. But when it comes you, when you’re the one at the receiving end, endeavour to “package-proof” yourself. Ensure that people don’t ‘sneak’ into your soul through those weak eyes. Yes, it’s a great CV, but don’t be carried away by aesthetics; have them prove their mettle before taking the hiring decision. Yes, he looks great or she’s breathtaking, but ensure you don’t get swept off your feet; ask real questions.

Whatever you do, don’t let packaging fool you. Give it to them to stand a chance, but see through them when they give it to you.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

NO ONE IS INDISPENSABLE

< but some people are simply irreplaceable >

Jay-Z & Beyonce

I’m a huge fan of Queen Bey. Whether on stage for music or on set for movies, there’s just a way Beyonce dazzles you with excellence, there’s just a way she leaves you wondering whether you’re of the same human species. She just blows your mind! Of course, that makes me a natural fan of Jay-Z and the kids, especially Blue Ivy.

Let’s do one of her songs together, “Irreplaceable.” The relevant lines to this piece:

“To the left to the left…
Everything you own in the box to the left…
How I’ll never ever find a man like you
You got me twisted…
You must not know ’bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter fact he’ll be here in a minute, baby…
I can have another you by tomorrow
So don’t you ever for a second get
To thinking you’re irreplaceable…”

The song is about sending her man packing for cheating on her. And having bragged that she wouldn’t find another man like him, she makes it abundantly clear to him that she’s able to replace him in a minute, to get another him in by tomorrow.

Easy to write and sing, isn’t it? She always knew certain people ain’t that replaceable, the reason why she didn’t call it quits with Jay-Z when he did get to cheat on her – in real life. She just had to let out steam with the “Lemonade” album and renewal of their wedding vow – and they stayed together, possibly, better and stronger. Terrific Jay-Z replies “Lemonade” with “4:44” – explaining why he screwed up and apologizing for doing so. Power couple, ain’t they?

The truth is that no one is indispensable; life simply goes on, and people keep moving with or without any particular person. But be careful how you think you can easily replace people; be careful how you become so used to them that you forget how much of a key player they’re to the game of your life. True, you can move on, and perhaps succeed better, without them (after all your life is not in their hands). However, be sure you’d be fine with what life gets to become without them.

Ask Jordin Sparks and she’d tell you that living without certain persons is like being in a world without air. And you know exactly what happens when breath is taken away. Matter-of-factly, you just keep mending some things; you don’t throw them away.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

“I ALWAYS WANTED TO HELP…

…I just needed someone to help me first”

nnnnnn

CIA Director Kendrick had his lucky break. Nikita already had her index finger to the trigger of a badass sniper rifle, and was already pulling it, before Fletcher and Birkhoff came through with the truth, one that changed the mission from termination to salvation. Percy and his “Division” had turned Kendrick into their puppet by implanting a kill chip in his heart, for which he gets to do as they order – or die.

Watched the American action thriller drama television series that aired on The CW from September 9, 2010, to December 27, 2013 – “Nikita”? Yea, I’m talking about Season 2, Episode 21.

As usual, the Nikita team (comprising Nikita, Alex, Michael, Birkhoff, Ryan, and Sean) came through for Kendrick. Whisked him underground to get him off the grid, thereby disconnecting Percy’s already activated kill trigger, and long enough for the wizardry Birkhoff to deactivate the chip. And he did.

What follows? Kendrick shares CIA intel with the Nikita team to facilitate their crusade against Percy and “Division.”

By the way, this piece isn’t some movie gist. Was just trying to whet your appetite enough to try some lockdown hours on the series. But there’s something really serious I like to share with you from the scene where Kendrick hands Nikita the flash drive, the intel. I already did, though. Read the title and subtitle of this piece again. That’s what he told them.

Although the context of the quote was that Kendrick first needed someone to get Percy’s kill chip off him before he could offer any form of anti-Percy help, what he said is just the way it is. You want help? Get out there and get helping people. Helping you back is the easy part.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel