First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Babawilly
A home without money is like a country without a president. Citizens are thrown into confusion especially when they are unaware of where the president went, who took Mr President away and when he is expected back (ironically dead presidents or living monarchs are always on monetary notes). Many cannot cope with uncertainties and when faced with the unknown, they sit down in groups and lament.
Over time, everyone gets used to being on a ship drifting on the tides and changing direction each time the unpredictable winds blow.
In a family deprived of the fuel that powers its engine of propulsion, hope is lost as the domestic ship moves out of control. Nightmares of impending storms and icebergs lace the night and cause family members to jump out of bed sweating and calling on the God they know to ‘send down the rain’.
Make it rain (between Majek and Lil Wayne, I no sabi who dey teach mi).
But alas! There is always a vice president; someone to calm the nerves of all family members. That is the credit card. Debt can be that sweet bridge across troubled waters especially when the money disappeared suddenly. Debt gives reassurance that should a need arise it will be taken care of.
On the other hand, there are those who have had a chronic leakage of cash for years and have burnt all their bridges. The banks, neighbours and extended family members have all whispered to each other, “never lend that guy money ever, until he pays what he owes”.
In other words, this black man has been blacklisted. Fela go say, ‘Stalemate’.
The stale aroma of despair, poverty and hopelessness hangs around the house as if the wicked spirits have converted the family air-conditioner into a no-hope-conditioner. Those unfamiliar with this device should learn. It works in an automated fashion and provides 24 hours uninterrupted darkness and dejection. It extracts whatever hope resides in the house for dispersal into the atmosphere and imports in hopelessness as a hot air current. There is no heat like the heat of poverty.
Poverty is the new leprosy of our day. People now have equated not having that dollar, pound sterling or naira as a sign you are abundantly endowed with the bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae. Diseases leave clues and everyone flees when the rashes of poverty are on your skin. No one takes your calls and all the doors are shut in your face.
You must have fancy clothes
And money to spend
If you don’t
They wouldn’t let you in (Party now. Ray Parker and Raydio)
We have all visited homes in the past and seen this inscription on the wall, usually in the dining room:
Christ is the head of this house
The unseen guest at every meal
The silent listener to every conversation
I feel a Harrysong moment coming on for even your head get a head.
Perhaps when these homes fall on hard times and money is scarce they do not feel like a country without a president. They had an unseen president all along ba?
If the truth be told, everyone would experience that home without cash feeling. The response to it appears to vary. Not everyone born into poverty dies in poverty. And even the rich go bankrupt sometimes. Majority of people however may not experience these extreme situations of abject penury or insolvency but may have a ‘cash flow’ problem. Having a billionaire parent does not exempt anyone from cash problems. If a million is needed and the parent releases only a hundred thousand, the individual might feel leprous and broke.
I have watched close hand a few people battle with cash flow problems and the successful ones have qualities they share. First and foremost is the “this too shall pass” philosophy.
Just like winter goes and then summer comes, these people strongly believe their season will change. Usually it is a belief lacking in real objective proofs but it works for them.
Remaining calm under pressure is also important. No one has all his bills present at once. They come in stages. The inexperienced think of all the bills for the next four months and freak out while calm heads look only at the next bill and might even ring the creditor and warn them to expect a delay of 12 months. Two characters spring to mind.
I was recently reading about the creditors for the Dangote refinery being constructed in Lagos and wondered how Aliko Dangote could sleep at night having so many loans to service. The answer is that he has built the capacity to handle debt over the years. The other character is fictional. In the novel, Things Fall Apart, we are introduced to Unoka the father of the novel’s main character Okonkwo. A creditor called Okoye visited to collect money owed and was promptly taken to the Facedebt Wall.
On the wall was a long line of creditors. The visitor was told that he was low in the pecking order so he should join the queue. Once the big boys have been settled then the small fries will be paid. That was the audacity of Unoka who ate, drank and played classical jazz on his flute. I also wondered how he could sleep at night with so many creditors but it appears he had a better life than his more successful son Okonkwo who was always running from the leprosy of poverty and had no time to sit down and enjoy the pleasures of life.
In summary, when cash is low, borrow and enjoy yourself. Sleep well and have hope for a better tomorrow when your unseen guest will change your no-hope-conditioner into a prosperity-conditioner.
A posterity-conditioner positioned opposite the Facedebt Wall extracts out all debts and imports opportunities by way of a cool breeze into the house. Suicide is never a good option for, where there is life there is hope.