Each man an island

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: babawill2000@gmail.com Twitter: @Babawilly

Wilson Orhiunu qed.ngEach man is an Island, and just like the one called Victoria, he is surrounded by a sea. A sea of tongue bearing heads. Each individual will do well to know the kinds of currents that flow around him for his ears will pick up their sounds and words that may subsequently influence his actions.

As one stands with ears being buffeted by waves all day long, some degree of erosion is expected. Tongues constantly wagging can eat away at a life. On the other hand, where water meets land can be a beautiful interface. A holiday to an exotic island blessed with pure sand, palm trees and a gentle breeze proves what the land/sea interface can bring; the best in everybody.  Bodies look beautiful on the beach.  Same with the tongue/ear interface. Many a great achievement has been attained on the strength of a constant stream of encouraging words into the ear of a receptive soul.

There are however nasty bits on every island. Crazy waves thrashing against the rocks or gentle tides ebbing and flowing in a crocodile infested swamp. These are some of the things that water can bring out of land. The potential to be a treasure island lies in everyone.

A man must know who surrounds him, so as to make the necessary adjustments. Erosive people need a defence built up against their onslaught while positive gentle people who have the talents and will to convert our nature into that of an exotic tropical beach should be welcomed with open arms and encouraged to keep talking to us.

Enough of the long-winded metaphors. We are all surrounded by princes and fools and wisdom will help us make the distinction. The wise Island dwellers will be expedient to make friends with oceanographers to be one step ahead of their aquatic neighbours.  The threats from sharks must be countered while the currents that bring edible fish must be exploited. An advancing Tsunami should trigger an evacuation to the mountains.

However, for some of us, categorising human beings into Princes and Fools can seem immoral, after all are not all men created equal? Everyone is a product of his or her upbringing so they cannot take the blame for not living up to anyone’s expectations.  True? Well, it is true but we all lock our doors when the robbers approach.

I struggle to categorise people into a negative subset. It is a trait I think I picked up from my Dad. He once got angry when a house help was referred to as ‘the house boy’.

“Has he not got a name?” he thundered.

He believed in preserving the dignity of every hired hand at all cost. Driving in his car meant no matter what you saw in the street, you could ridicule no one.  All we kids could do was look at each other knowingly and smile when Lagos threw up a funny moment.

So here I am, fully grown, and I cannot bear the thought of someone else doing my laundry. Guilt makes it seem that I am calling them a lesser person.  (I wonder how I will fare when I make it to Aso Rock as the First Gentleman. How would I cope with aides for everything?)

With this background, it is understandable that I might have a difficulty in putting people in classes that would offend them should they know where they stand in my estimation. Silly guilt or plain hypocrisy on my part? There are people I would not entrust money to. Not because they are bad people but just because they are poor managers of the stuff.  The wheat from the chaff and the Princes from the Fools. It is time to separate them.

The Princes that surround us.

A prince is identified by his knowledge of the laws of the land. They know past rulers and understand the power structure in society. He would know the spirituality of the people, their etiquettes and customs. To this foundation he adds a rigorous study of the rules and laws of distant lands. He may not be an expert but he has a working knowledge of how things are done and would have formed relationships with people who can give him the information he lacks.

The best food, the best wine and music, the best in governance, he knows the lot. Even when he gets naughty and decides to bend the law like a stick, he knows where along the stick to apply the pressure of iniquity. The worst thing we can do is to close our ears to the ‘princes’ in our lives just because what they say sounds like too much work to digest. Listening to them is like learning to decipher a new accent within a language. Succeed with the first Prince and soon you would be surrounded by a great cloud of Princes drizzling support and blessings on you as you run in this great stadium of life.

The fool

These, like the Prince, know about the laws of the lands but take pride in rebelling against them. The rules of physiology and pharmacology are known to them and so they can get you ‘high’ in record time. The fool is attractive for he is all about the short term goal. Long labour is not on the menu. He tells you what you want to hear; take the path of least resistance and maximum pleasure always. Majority of those that surround us fall into this class and their voices ring the loudest. You cannot wish them away, but they should be ignored. Sometimes they come disguised as important family members. The best policy might be to feign interest in what they are saying and ignore their counsel.