Thursday, July 26, 2007

Has It Come to This?

Al-Qaeda meets Nigeria by way of Illinois in this story (taken from the Associated Press website).

Ok, that was a bit sensational, but only in keeping with the spirit of the article. Apparently, so long as it's a person of color handling the gun, it's tantamount to terrorism. The Arabs get some media respite...equal opportunity damning...I find it somewhat refreshing. In any case, this boy deserves some major punishment. Not just for feeling like he's Tupac up in damn Edwardsville, Illinois (for crying out loud, Tosin!), but for so foolishly imagining he could get away with it all. In 2007. I can't even believe he'd be chasing this much drama, with his Yoruba self - you won't go and read book like your mates, you're toting semi-automatic weapons and trying to emulate deranged Asian killers. So tragic...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I was at the Natural Science Center this weekend, which is a poor excuse for a scienctific study arena that's full of animals that are either bored or obsessive-compulsive - didn't see a happy creature in the bunch, not that there were many to see. Only two stand out in my memory: first, the hapless Mexican coati (such as pictured below; picture not mine) which seemed to spend most, if not all, of its waking hours pacing back and forth along a two-foot strip of packed dirt on the edge of its roomy cage. The enclosure was carpeted in lush green grass, except the strip where the animal's endless trampling had killed all sign of life. Clearly, they thought the animal would thrive in that setting, simply because it's a male and male coatis live a solitary lifestyle (according to the plaque on the miserable creature's cage). Guess they didn't figure the coati would want more than an 8x8 cell to roam around in, perhaps a female with which to have the occasional romp. Animal rights advocates: you want to do something important, work to abolish zoos. Especially zoos that think they're doing monkeys a favor by giving them trees with no leaves to live and play in. That was bullshit, and it's threatening to ruin my entire summer if I can't get the depressing image of that insane, overgrown rat-cat out of my head soon.

Second, though, are the meerkats. Without even trying, they are freaking hilarious; I was bent double, laughing. Zoology lesson: a group of meerkats is called a mob. This mob had two babies, born May 9, and they were just adorable, miniature versions of whichever ones were their parents, i.e. they could have belonged to anyone. When I first walked into the zoo, they were shy and hiding underground. When I was leaving, they had their heads out of the hole, so I stuck around to see what they would do, if anything. All they did was stand up, on their haunches, and they set me off tittering. Mostly because they were just standing there and staring at us with the same amount of interest as the gathering crowd had in them. Then their elders started coming out of the hole, and gathering around them, and they stood up as well. One of them had a big belly that also doubled as a resting pad for its upper paws. It sort of settled down around the belly, like an old man, or Obasanjo (same thing really). Seeing them all just standing/sitting and staring at us sent me into hysterics. It was an interesting mirror for we humans, I think - questions like, who is really in the cage then? came to mind. (Them, obviously, but maybe they choose not to acknowledge that.)

They still make me laugh. Note the sharp attention of the little one (standing straight) and the more laidback (nearly drunken) expression on Obasanjo-kat's face - the true mark of an experienced zoo-dwelling meerkat, with the stomach to match. One of them came to get a closer look, kinda like a customs officer: yes, how can we help you? (see below)

I was still giggling when I left the NSC.

The rest of the week is looking pretty tame, as always. With any luck, I'll be able to whip up the energy to go and see Sicko, see what all the hoop-la is about.

In other news, I'm looking for a night-time job (in addition to), though I have no idea how I'll be able to pull that off, since I kinda like to sleep at night....

Friday, July 20, 2007

What's the Proof You're Crying If No One Can See Your Tears?

I'd forgotten the benefits of a good cry. As a matter of fact, I'd told myself - again - that there weren't any. I go through bouts of this: stop crying for a few months or years, suddenly re-discover the surge of energy one gets from the release of those salty missiles, and then I overindulge until I'm sick of it. I've been doing this since 1995, after my father's execution plunged me deep into a depression that lasted two years. I went to school every day and I still got A's, but I rarely even smiled and I certainly never cried. Only Shirley held the magic that momentarily diffused the pain - she who, when I told her I was going to commit suicide, told me to "drink water." (Why that worked, I'll never understand.) For her, I smiled and even laughed, within the safety of our friendship.

Years later, I'm not so depressed anymore but I still try to stave off my tears. I see them as a sign of weakness, even when I know they're not. I hate the reflexive nature of crying, as though there could be no other go-to option.

Today, though, after a long dry spell, I let loose. There was no obvious trigger; I just felt full of something that leaked out and subsequently burst my dam. I cried in my desk chair, rolled over the short distance so I could cry on my bed. Then I got up and walked to the bathroom - avoiding the mirror so I wouldn't get embarrassed - and I cried while I showered.

It's a surreal experience, crying in the shower. Because no matter how much your body shakes, and no matter how breathless you get, you can't actually feel the tears falling down your face and for me, I found myself wondering if I was crying at all. And then, as the tears mixed with the water and cascaded down my body, I wondered if the hurting could be real when my tears were invisible. As I debated the absurdity of my thought, I forced out a fresh batch of tears and contemplated the burning sensation in my eyes.

They stopped as abruptly as they had started.
Reservoir empty, disappeared down the drain.

Note: This entry not to be confused with a display of sorrow. I wasn't crying because I'm particularly sad. I guess I was just full of something that chose to come out in tears, whatever that "something" might be. Thanks for love, though, Reader in Toronto and Chxta :-).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Bastard!

Dear Kulu,

I am so relieved I heard from you at last.


He's upped his game, man. Ten words (greeting and signature not included), and he's left me thoroughly confused as to what to do next. Yeah, you heard from me, but I told you to piss off, Lilian!! I thought he'd insult me, or at the very least, not write me back. That way I could dust off my hands and turn to some other inane task. But, by fully ignoring me, he has managed to rope me right back in. I might as well have sent him a check, for all the acknowledgment he's given! If this isn't a Nigerian....

But I'm a Nigerian too, and damn it, he's not going to get the best of me! Unfortunately, I don't have a few thousand dollars at stake to keep me going; I'm losing interest, man. At the same time though - and this is quite the oxymoron - I am thoroughly engaged in discovering what the hell he means by this email! "Don't do it, kulu...just leave it alone...let it be..." That's my inner voice. And I know I should listen to it, but I just...have to...say...something....

But what?

In other news, I'm having a total quarter-life crisis. I've written two articles and a short story in the past couple of months and heard zero, zip, zilch from the editors. Also, I'm still looking for work and have been on the receiving end of a whole lotta silence on that front as well. I'm no longer questioning my competence - I now fully believe that I am just taking up space on earth, space that could be much better utilized by more talented folk like Chxta and Jeremy. What to do, what to do...?

And that's the other thing: suddenly, I'm no longer sure of myself, my decisions. Constantly second-guessing everything I do, I wouldn't be surprised if I was turning my life into one steaming heap of dung just because I no longer trust my instincts. I'm starting to understand why people get married/have babies at my age: it's the only "sure thing", based on the lies we're told as children ("yes, you will live happily ever after), and you just get tired of thinking and testing and getting rejected. You latch onto the first mo-fo that shows the slightest interest and voila! you've got yourself a new life with "meaning". I'm not going down that road, so I'm stuck with my current reality, which says: I have no talent, I have no purpose, and I'm going to end up being a waitress at some sleazy diner despite my Ivy League education. Suddenly, those ads soliciting dancers ("no experience necessary", "earn $300-$500 a night") are starting to look rather attractive....

kulu on a stripper pole. Now, if that isn't a reason to off myself....

(*Chineke God of Allah, have I actually been blogging for more than a year???*)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The End?

So Lilian wrote back. She was none too pleased with my accusations, as you will see:

Dear Kulu,

What are you talking about? I was mad after reading your mail.Please understand that I hate liars and I do not lie.The bible says in Eph 4;28 ' speak evry one truth with his neighbour for we are members of the same family'

Honestly you are mistaking me for some one else.And if you make your proper investigation you will find out that you dont know what you are saying.Then will you aoplogise to me.And I hate being taken for granted.I am not married to any one not to talk of four kids.I dont even know the people you mentioned.I can send you another of my picture to actually make your verification..I dont steal not to talk of stealing people's picture.I dont border about my looks.God has made me just as the picture I sent to you.I sent you my picture and not some one else's picture.

I am not happy here.You have spoilt my mood.I challenge you to makle proper investigation of what you are saying before replying my mail.Because I want your apology when you have confirmed that you accused me innocently. I am right in tears for unneccessary,unverified accusation.You have hurt me greatly.Please investigate this.

All my love still,


As you can see, she started calling me Kulu, which lets me further know (like there was any doubt) that I'm dealing with a Nigerian. Note the accusatory tone, the overt indignation, even the Bible verse for good measure - all telltale signs of our trademark Naija mentality.

I couldn't be arsed to respond immediately, though. I was partying in Toronto with my girls. Lilian then pulled a move that made me wonder if she isn't indeed a woman. She sent me another email:

Dear Kulu,

Why have you remained silent? Please get back to me and stop this joke.
I have told you I dont have the slightest idea of what you are saying.The places you mentioned,I have never heard of them.Such places do not exist in Ivory Coast where I am from.

Please call me on the phone immediately.You are hurting me and giving me sleepless nights.


00225 08 56 03 92

I even started to feel bad. This guy (or girl) is good! Still, I wasn't in the mood to respond. However, today I decided I would like to try and put an end to this. Don't want to leave sh*t hanging, you know? Here's my noble effort:

Dear Lilian,

Honestly, you don't even look Ivorian. You look SO Nigerian, just like the sister of my dear friend Pius Ikwueme Pius of Ama-Arika village, and I thought you were just lying about your origin. If you are Nigerian, though, I completely understand if you'd rather not claim Nigeria. I hear there are nothing but scammers over there, trying to rob innocent people of their hard-earned money. Lazy bastards, those Nigerians are, and evil. Plain evil. Have you heard of what they do? They send unsolicited letters to absolute strangers, offering them wealth untold, and then they trick them into sending money back to Africa for numerous reasons, after which they disappear, leaving heartache and poverty in their wake. Some of them even go as far as sending photos that misrepresent them. In "small English", that means that they send pictures of other people and pretend that it's them. Man, I'm glad I've never gotten an email from any Nigerian scammer. I would be so angry if they managed to deceive me so thoroughly. I might even try to trick them back. I might pretend to be a man when I'm really a woman. I might waste their time a little bit. You know that kind of thing?

Anyway, I'm afraid I have to draw the curtain on this our budding relationship. As much as I'd love your money, I'm getting pissed off because you keep insisting that I should call you when I've told you repeatedly that I can't afford it. No plasma screen for me, I guess. Oh well!


If the heifer responds to this, I'm going off on her. It will be the height of insolence and absurdity, and I won't stand for it, omo Naija ti mo je! Abi does she think she is the only one that can get angry?

Monday, July 09, 2007

To Be or Not To Be...Nigerian

So, is anyone else incensed by the way the media over here keeps referring to that kidnapped girl in Nigeria as being British? Yes, I realize it's not the most pressing issue in the world, but still, I get indignant about the sloppiness, inconsistency and unprofessionalism in journalism today. A kid got kidnapped in the Niger Delta (not the first kid to get kidnapped, mind you, but the first to get a spot on BBC and CNN because she's supposedly "foreign"), and I can't get past the fact that other Nigerian children - that the first kidnapped Nigerian child was deemed unimportant by our trusty news sources because he or she wasn't white enough. Seriously??

I mean, look at these people:

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but does black plus white not equal mixed anymore? In most parts of the world, black plus white still equals black, but I guess where oil is concerned, they are willing to make a concession. And what these newspeople seem to think is important is not that children are now being used by rogues to make money, but that they would use "foreign" children to do such a thing. And so now they're reaching for little white lies in order to get their scoop - at the dismissal of other kids who, being fully black, don't matter quite as much. They get to be the footnotes in this saga.

Her mama genes strong o! But, fine, young British Margaret Hill (who has lived in Nigeria her whole short life along with her parents who have lived there for most or all of theirs, and one of whom is so Nigerian as to not be confused with anything - anything - else) is free and the expat community in Port Harcourt is breathing again. But the whole thing is leaving me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and I'm not altogether pleased.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Hanging Imbalance

I was gonna take UKNaija's advice and stop faffing around. I'd thought about it and I do have more important things to do. Plus, Patrice drawing my attention to the Ebola Monkey Man just about ruined this whole exercise for me. Here I thought I was doing something clever and somewhat unique - as it turns out, there's a whole world of people doing the exact same thing more brilliantly and humorously than I ever could! The New York Times ran a piece on it (scambaiting) the other day - quite the randomly-discovered eye opener.

Anyway, so I lost interest for a while and figured I'd just leave this business unfinished, take my mediocrity elsewhere. But tonight I decided I needed a little pick-me-up and this little email did the trick:


I have not been able to write you for all these days because my heart is heavy. I thought you were an angel, but now I am left singing the famous words of Toni Braxton, "how could an angel break my heart?" I looked more closely at your picture the other day, and it suddenly occurred to me that that woman could not be you, Lilian Kumasi, the woman I fell in love with. How did I know this? Because that picture is a picture of the beloved junior sister of my long lost friend, Pius Ikwueme Pius, and from what I was made to understand, she married Chimere John from Ama-Arika village and is now the proud mother of four average-looking children. Lilian, why did you steal Pius's sister's picture? Is it because you are ugly? Are you ashamed of your looks?

I thought we were going to grow old in love, but I guess I was wrong. I thought I could trust you, but now I have to question everything you say. Do you really have that money? Will you ever come to America and marry me as you promised? Now that I think about it, I'm even beginning to doubt your sincerity where that is concerned. Are you sure that you love me, Lilian? I've never even heard you say the words. Here I am, investing all this time and effort in you, and I'm not even sure that you are going to live up to your end of the bargain. Are you just going to abandon me with your husband's millions? Even though I would be able to maintain a high level of contentment for at least ten or fifteen years, I will be a broken man without your love to make me complete.

Lilian, how could you do this to me, after everything we promised each other?

Please tell me the truth. I have cried every day since I realized what's happened, and I am no longer the man I used to be.

Love always,
Your darling K

So I'm uncreative - so what? I still make me happy...
I wonder if she'll respond to this.