For the purpose of the next few moments the maxim, “I think, therefore I am” is bullshit.
Growing up in a middle class housing estate in Lagos meant a few things; one of which is the death of secrets. One screw up was on everyone’s lips by the evening. You could pick a story at the estate bar or the neighbour’s supermarket or at the mosque.
There was Mr Pam. The only thing more popular than his drinking was his boast that he was a lion –of the brew of course.
So here’s a day in the life of the Lion.
We are in the parlour, mum and I, a young woman knocks and comes in crying. My mum sighs and asks, “Where is he this time?”
“He’s in the gutter on the other street,” she replies.
They get to Mr Pam, lounging in the gutter, with vomit on his shirt. A lion in his den.
This conversation happens (according to everyone’s lips the next evening).
Mum: Mr Pam, please come out now.
Mr Pam: Izz because it’s you o. But I have one condition before I come out.
Mr Pam: You have to agree first that I’m the lion. Say it.
(His wife is crying uncontrollably now)
Mum: Okay Mr Pam, you’re the lion.
He climbs out of the gutter, like royalty, because the lion is the king of the jungle.
One day while Mr Pam is on lion duties, he climbs his biggest stage, the second floor of a building. He is about to make the ultimate show of his lionhood; jumping from the balcony.
He does and breaks his leg. By the time he can recovers after spending time at the hospital, his wife is gone for good.
He has been sober ever since, and he has his bible in his hands all the time as proof.
We all have the drunkards we grew up greeting in public and laughing at in private, sometimes with our parents, their friends.
I think it remains a mystery how a man will sit before a bottle and keep drinking, feeling the cloud of foolishness cover his eyes and countinue drinking.
But what do I know? I’m not a lion.