Many rivers to cross
And it's only my will that keeps me alive
I've been licked and washed up for years
And I merely survive because of my pride - Jimmy Cliff
I have often enquired from myself; what is this life all about? My inner self replied that it was all about crossing many rivers. And in the end, you sit back and consider the many rivers that you crossed and all the efforts you put into crossing them and wonder; what was that all about?
Thus, in becoming a man, the first river to cross starts from conception. A man’s journey starts from being the sperm that will swim fastest to a woman’s egg. Fertilization occurs soon after and he lives for about 9 months in the womb before he emerges to see the world.
His first assignment while emerging from the womb is to cry. If he doesn’t freely cry, the midwife in charge of his birth will force him to cry. Just to remind him that he has left his comfort zone (womb) to the world unknown.
Then, he is handed over to his mother who is now happy with God for a gift of nature. As a brand new being, he will remain pampered and protected by his parents. He may even ‘take a dig at’ the midwife forever suggesting that the world is not a bed of roses.
Although the child is unproductive at the moment; he is enjoying all the love and protection in the world because his parents are still full of excitement about being parents. But when his parents’ euphoria starts to wear, he will realize that the midwife was right after all.
By the way, the child will have to communicate his needs to his parents. And that becomes his next river to cross.
Invariably, the only way a child (who is yet to talk) communicates with his parents is through crying. As such, if he wants food; he’ll cry. The same goes for all his needs. And so, it is left to his parents to guess what their child’s needs are. And they must guess rightly otherwise his crying will intensify and so will their impatience.
Fast forward to 5 years or thereabout. It’s time to go to school - another river to cross. Most children don’t like going to school. Well, if the child lives in Europe he must go to school because the government says it’s compulsory for a child to have at least a secondary education.
Having grown in health and maturity, a man will face another river to cross - do I continue to college/university or try and get rich quick or die while trying, according to 50cent?
Nonetheless, if the man believes that western education is a sin like Boko Haram terrorists in northern Nigeria, then he will join them or other similar Jihadists and start killing and maiming people in the name of God until the day he is killed by American missiles.
But if he chooses to get rich quick he may die young while trying and perhaps in the custody of the police if he lives in the USA. All the same, if he didn’t die while trying and becomes rich, he’ll probably, at a later date, file for bankruptcy protection like 50cent.
On the other hand, if he’s the type that his mother took to Church every Sunday, he’ll turn to the Christian bible for inspiration. Then he’ll have to consider the parable of the Sower as attributed to Jesus in Matthew 13:3-8.
As the case may be, he won’t like to be the seed that fell on the paths that were eaten by birds; neither will he want to be the other seeds that didn’t survive due to other impediments. If he must succeed, then, he must aspire to be like the seed that fell on good soil.
And that means he will have to further his education; study hard and possibly graduate and get a good job, and earn a fat income, and settle the tax man. He will also face workplace discrimination - racism (black or white), gender inequality (as a woman), homophobia as a homosexual, etc.
As a good Christian man, he’ll run back to his bible for support. But the same Jesus that encouraged him in Matt 13 to be a good seed will now tell him - “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34
That is the story of life; it is all written in the bible. Hence, a white man who wouldn’t swallow matt 10.34 will chuck his bible and become an atheist or freethinker, etc. But a black man who has been so brainwashed will tarry after all his mama told him not to question the bible as she was instructed by her slave masters.
Suddenly, the midwife’s action at his birth will resonate. Truly, this world is unfair but he has to take it and move on with a smile. At this point, another river to cross will present itself - do I procreate?
If he chooses yes; then he becomes a married man or baby father. And a woman becomes a wife or baby mama. Irrespective of the name of their relationship, they will become parents, and the role will reverse, and a new circle will begin.
The man will continue with his job while being a parent. He will start protecting, pampering, and supporting his child while tolerating his cries. The man will continue with this routine until when he becomes useless – I mean when he is tired and so, is retired.
Incidentally, retirement is the only time a man is left alone; when he is deemed unproductive. Unfortunately, a man does not have time for himself through his productive years, except on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and his 3 weeks annual vacation.
In old age and depending on the relationship he has with his children, he may end up in old people’s homes. He is there because his children who he was not too busy to cater to are now too busy to care for him. The man will remain and die there and be buried, and later recycled (reincarnation).
Finally, please pardon me if I don’t make sense to you; just that while writing this piece I was high on Spirits – I mean high on Whiskey on the rocks - one of the pathetic narratives of a man/woman.