Vote of thanks

Dear Diary: Day 365

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Empty white space.

That’s all I see trying to write this. I’ve been here for several minutes staring at the blank space, as though forces unseen are in control of my fingers, preventing me from striking a letter.

But I dared them already. You see, I struck the first letter D.

I don’t exactly know where to start, but looking back at the several lines so far I think I have started.

It’s the last day of the year; lots of days since I did something like this. This won’t be a transcript of a 365-day journey, but you’ll get the point. I hope so.

I apologize for my inconsistencies and fizzling on the blog this year. I got the WordPress annual report for the year and I was ashamed! I mysteriously grew a thick skin to post notifications of blogs I follow; erstwhile constant reminders of my inactivity on the blogosphere. Regardless of the fact that I wrote more this year like I set out to, I had to choose between blogging and another form of writing. It was a Hobson’s choice and I had to go all the way with the latter. It dawned on me that I miss the wonderful readers and their comments, more than I miss writing on the blog itself.

Speaking of the blog and awesome readers, I almost lost one―not to death―around the last quarter of the year. I got so carried away with “things” that I became unaware I was passing the wrong clues. The proverbial blow that broke the camel’s back was a strange attitude, or rather, negligence that became a part of me under the guise of being busy. I would miss calls, get pings and texts and then promise to respond when I’m free, only for me to get the freedom and never fulfill my promise. I automatically got sobriquets with “pride” as root-word from some, and a surgical unfriending and unfollowing from others. I blame no one else but me. That wasn’t my real face o, and I am sincerely sorry. I learnt my lesson and I know it won’t recur.

The year came and went so quickly (I remember the first few days of the year like they weren’t so far away), but that’s just an illusion informed by how great or otherwise the year has been for respective individuals. Mine was nimble-toed because despite the little bumps, it was a smooth ride: no accidents, hospital admissions, unfortunate events even in strange lands, etc. Many thanks to the Gracious God for life and for the gifts and privileges, even though we often classify them into categories of basic/general/simple blessings and major/customised blessings; usually taking the former for granted. Sometimes when we have a piece of a thing we ask why we don’t have a truck full instead, despite the efforts we put in. Surprisingly, we usually forget that breathing for just another day automatically qualifies us for greater things.

I’m grateful for my friends, colleagues and family; their micro soft words of encouragement and punchy power points that nudge one to excellence. Life would appear in monochrome without them, I’m sure of that.

I did things I never thought I could do or be trusted with at the time this year. The saying that we don’t know how much we can do until we’re thrown to the deep end held true for me, and I appreciate the opportunities. Borrowing an expression from a blogger friend, Monsieur Kingsley, you never really know how long you can hold on until you find yourself dangling between the devil―or the blue sky―and the red soil.

I was constantly reminded this year that I have grown and qualified for some feats and milestones; but the year also reiterated the fact that there are no strict rules, and that being ready to pick up the mantle is a great prerequisite to shouldering responsibilities. I have not leaped, but I have moved and I am thankful for the pace and the many lessons therein.

Contrary to the opinion of some friends, and their attempts to convince me otherwise, this year buttressed the fact there are no straight answers to most questions. Many opinions/ideologies will not withstand 365 days split to three, and obvious can sometimes double as oblivious. The lady/gentleman that got you humming Titanic’s theme song at first sight may turn out to be a zonkey and the end of you. A simple answer to a seemingly simple question can haunt you for a year or for the rest of your days. You can hate and then love a thing within a month, and the shift will be lost on you. Sometimes, there is a third option after yes and no, and it’s your prerogative to state what it is. Think hard before you make major decisions and say huge pronouncements. Matter of fact, never say never!

Among other things, this year has taught me that:

  • opportunities can find you in boxers and no shirts, when you least expect one;
  • love can creep up on you at any time or place (cupid won’t send you a memo);
  • you’ll always find a flaw if you won’t stop scrutinizing;
  • things can go all the way down south even when you think you’ve got it all figured; and
  • death can knock on anyone’s door; keeping it locked out won’t be an option.

I don’t have a list of strict to-dos or resolutions, as people are wont to draw one at this time of the year. I’m aware that there are lots of things to do and improve on, but I will take things easy, one step at a time, poco a poco. I will enjoy life, laugh out loud, get down to business and ditch the cutlery sometimes, cry if the movie/story is too touching/emotional and laugh at the cry-cry chicken, keep 69 as my favorite number combo even if the world finds it mundane, try new things… live, love and learn.

Thanks for a great 2015.

2016_Happy New Year (SJB)
Bonne année! Bonne santé!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Appreciation

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Forgive me for I have erred. I have gone AWOL for another forever and that feels bad. Believe me, it does; but man has gotta do what he gotta do.

Even though it will be rushed and haphazard, I have to do this. I’ve got fun on hold to get back to.

Do you really know what it feels like to have over 40 million followers on a social media account? (Relax! I don’t even have 400!) I mean, that’s like saying that the total population of a country (no offence Charle) likes/digs/trails/monitors/spies one person. All I did was a gentle wait for the clock to countdown to this day―with the help of the Most High, and I had a faint idea of the feeling.

Today, I woke up to texts, pings, display pictures, profile messages and the shebang all having a thing in common: me. October 3rd brought all my friends―the good, the bald and the hug-ly―to a common ground, and for real it felt special. I felt like the nimble-toed Messi, only without the millions and a golf ball in the stead of the Ballon d’Or.

Many thanks to the Gracious God for everything: His escorts without sirens with me through the valleys of the shadow of death; the rejuvenating push when I’m low and running on fumes; the little-big miracles and serendipity sent my way… many other good things in the background that I just can’t fathom.

A lot happened between this time last year and now. Trust me, it’s not a cliché. I lived―had fun in little packages; loved―and still loving; learned―spanning the mundane and the germane; strengthened relationships and made new bonds in addition to the list I managed to make in My Candid Vote of Thanks, when I was still quite dramatic. I’ve taken starch and its signature soup (I’m not so glad I did), left work on a Friday and got home on a Saturday, ordered for black and got pink… and the list goes on. I’ve had varying measures of disappointments and surprises, agitations and chills, ups and downs, rice and beans… and I’m glad and I’m still standing tall, sane and sound.

I can categorically say that today ranks high in the list of the cool October 3rds I’ve ever had. My day was made with the loads of fun, the calls, happy birthday songs―the “tush” Harvard/Corona school version, Mwopopopo Community Grammar school version and various remixes of the real mix; and the funny chats I had with some friends I’m more than willing to lease to charity.

Permit me to digress a tad and share two chats below. Words in brackets are my thoughts.

Charity Gift 1: Happy birthday dear. Wishing you all the very best in all your endeavors.

Me: (Me? Dear? What happened to a sweeter name?) Thanks dear.

Charity Gift 2: Wishing you plenty wives and plenty children too.

Me: (Really? Not even the popular “long life and prosperity”?) Hol’it! Just hol’up!!!

Charity Gift 1: No way!

Me: Plenty wives and children for what? (the economy is sad yet she wrote this!)

Charity Gift 1: I have said it already; if you like toss them away.

Me: *mutes* (Mba! I won’t take this from you fam)

Charity Gift 1: 12 children and 3 wives.

Me: *unmutes* Ma ba mi sh’ere k’ere o… (don’t even joke with me)

I will try and dash her to an orphanage. You’ll help me decide where the second should be thrown to.

Charity Gift 2: Bajinatu plenty for the birthday boy!!!

Me: (Emi? Who is this one calling boy?)

Charity Gift 2: May you prosper and increase speedily.

Me: *inserts MFM-style Amen*

Charity Gift 2: May your kids never give you problems like you gave your parents.

Me: *raised brows* (y’say whaaatt?!)

Charity Gift 2: May your wife never quickly discover that you’re bald.

Me: *furious… checks pictures* But I’m not! I’ve not even discovered it myself!

Charity Gift 2: …and if she discovers, let “bald” be the new cool then

Me: LOL! (this is the part where I couldn’t hold the laugh anymore)

I have decided to lease and not sell them because they’re really special I can’t afford to let them go. If you’re reading this, Charity gifts 1 & 2, do not let your heads swell; I could as well be planning to put you on OLX at a very discounted price.

It’s the beginning of another journey for me: the start button to more objectives to be achieved, grounds to break and fishes to fry. If I could only ask or wish for just one thing, it would be God’s grace to excel in everything I do (sorry to disappoint you if you thought Camry would rank first). With that I know every other thing will turnout good. If I could ask for two things, they will be the one above and more opportunity/ability to affect lives for good. If I could ask for more I’ll go for all it takes to be a better son to my parents, brother to my siblings, reliable pal to my friends and a responsible boo to future bae.

In other news, I wish the banks won’t charge me for all the multiple birthday messages they sent to me today. If MTN will kindly stop sending me the “SMS MUMU to 55501 to receive very Comic free for 7 days” text and its kind too, I will so much appreciate it.

To everyone who made my day with great wishes, prayers and several other gestures, thank you! Your days will be long and filled with the wonderful things you so much desire. Customised thanks to “Margaret Thatcher”, for the gift that broke the jinx of no-gifts and the customised pepper soup that reminded me I’ve not enjoyed life at all.

Thanks a lot fellas!

 

Blame the toothpaste!
Blame the toothpaste!

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My Candid Vote Of Thanks

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Somewhere in Nigeria, a young dude clad in a starched and well ironed gini was seated in the living room with his entire buttocks swallowed up by the comfy sofa. Chilled expensive drinks and some spiced meaty mass were on the table before him while the theatre blasts at a moderate decibel. The AC was blowing almost as though it was winter in Moscow. He seemed to be enjoying himself, reminiscing on the passing year. A thought coursed through his mind: The year has been great, and that is a fact. Appreciating the individuals that made it so is just apt.

[strolls in]

Don’t mind that narrator, Utopia is where he belongs. He might have exaggerated a tad, it doesn’t mean he has really blown it out of proportion that much. [scratches head]

Where do we begin? Okay, I think I know now. This is gon’ be a real freestyle all the way down. Hop in let’s have a long ride. Next stop. . . downtown.

Immeasurable thanks to the gracious God for this privilege I have to be alive, healthy, and of sound mind. An elaboration of these words is worthy of another piece entirely, but I know “they” won’t read it. You know them, right? He’s the first friend to whom I must pay my dues and acknowledge. Yaweh doesn’t drink wine, don lace, wear perfume. . . or ride a car I would’ve gone out of my way to get Him all.

I could remember some ten months ago when it seemed something devilish was pouring sand-sand for my garri with alacrity, resulting to the mobilisation palaver and some other related issues. At the end, the near eluding experience came around and now I’m at my PPA of life, satisfied and in fact, upgraded. Village witches relegated. Again, thank you gracious God.

To my families, mérci très bien merged with mérci beaucoup are not enough to appreciate you. Family is indeed one of the best in one’s life; always around even in situations where others would turn around and outrun Usain bolt. You’re much loved and appreciated.

Now I advance to my other friends — I mean the non-spirits; the ones that use smart phones, wear cloths, perfumes, bla-bla and bla. I would’ve loved to name them one after another but that is impossible. Okay, it’s not impossible, but my laziness won’t allow me see the entire dozens through. Please, if I don’t spell out some names don’t be annoyed. Know it that you made your part in a way or another. Don’t deal with me personally. Don’t DO NOT take after the bad belles in some nollywood movies that will do someone serious bad things for lilliputian reasons (God will judge). Please, omodé kìí mo èko je kó má ráa l’ówó. The meaning? It means er, em. . . a child will always be a child and thus, er. . . must be forgiven. I know @victoroladosu can interpret that better. #Payback

In fact I’ll start with @victoroladosu. He’s very cool. Cool-headed, cool-thinking, cool-speaking (phòné, pronounced as /fon-eh/, po gan!), cool-pissing, cool-eating [rolling my eyes]. . . cool everything. Dear reader please feel free to interpret the -everything as you deem fit. NYSC scattered us like dudes chased by egbére (african bushbaby/galago), all scramming for different directions, but we’re still one all the same. He’s a brain behind the conception of Señor Joe’s blog. It’s been a wonderful year with you. . . from across thousand miles. May you never run out of fishes to fry. Okay, let him explain that too.

There’s this writer I’ve known for at least five years now, but I actually met the real him — not corporal — around two years ago. He’s someone I’ll call Mr capable, and a blend of many things. Good things. “Leke Alder uses metaphors, Olakunle Soriyan uses adjectives. . .” he once said, and now I’ll complete the sentence for him, “. . .Adefiranye ‘Razaq uses thick qualifiers”. I had blended “metaphors” and “adjectives” but the “phoratives” I got means nothing. Dunno what Joe uses, but metaphors camphors sound more like it. Thanks. You inspire and motivate me @abdulrazarc.

I know one lovely, dark, beautiful, em. . . erm, sweet lady. She’s sweet even her name reminds me of butter in a mysterious way. Very mysterious! I decided to stop at four adjectives so I won’t implicate myself and put a target on my forehead for crushing, potential, and wannabe boyfriends fiancés to aim at and shoot [looks around for sniper]. True, the Lord is my shepherd, but I should be careful. She’s a blogger and an agony aunt (even though she’s yet to agree on that), hence, my choice of “fiancé” over “boyfriend”. Agony aunts can be really. . . *sneezes*. . . never mind. She has been wonderful to me in many ways she’s even oblivious of, in so many ways I won’t say. I love. . . (hold on, wait for it). . . you Jemima. I love you with the love of Christ. Thanks for 2013. Let’s do it again.

Another special thank you goes to Big John, SantaJohn, Papa Tolulope. . . He’s just one man, but more than three in one. I’d earlier thought a deployment to a state that is just thirty naira by bike and fifteen naira by bus to hell would make him less friendly, more distant or incommunicado-loving, but Sokoto and its heat are still trying, adjusting sòkòtò (trouser), doomed to fail on that I’ll bet. Whenever I see him, hear and read from him, words like philosophy, deep thinking, great mind, small-head-full-brain, come to mind. Thanks for the push, the encouragement and the support.

[Clears throat] I want to sing. I’d like to sing ‘cuz the owner of this space likes to sing. A lot. By singing I mean godly songs, not the c’mon-grab-her-bum or drag-her-to-the-inner-room kinda songs. However. . . hmmmn okay, no howevers. This tall handsome friend has so many “correkt” female friends; our major source of “misunderstanding”, but I’m trusting God he’ll change come 2014. Shebi? Right. I appreciate you @ezehmayor, from undergraduate days till date you’ve been a good brother and friend.

I’ll take these two fine persons together; @mohziz007 and @éspeciale. They’re both fair and tush, if there’s a word like that. The former is super-cool, easy going and again, handsome. Interested parties can take note. The latter, beautiful and equally lovable (hopefully I won’t nominate myself for trouble somehow on this one). Interested parties should go away and pick beans, her handle isn’t even correct. I made sure of that. One thing I’ll use this opportunity to ask her is this. . . y’all should relax, I’m not stylishly asking her out. Olateju Tosin please, the name is Señor Joe, not Senior Joe. Thanks for anticipated cooperation. . . and happy birthday plus two days. These two put lots of smiles on my face this year and I’m saying a big thank you for that.

Another batch of appreciation goes to @toromaday1, @hardeohlar and @ollyfountain; my brothers from other mothers. Also Tenifayo, Prettybetty, and @taijudia with the sobriquet “TinTin”; sisters from other misters. About ma’am TinTin, the name is actually a misnomer ‘cuz to me all, she’s nothing close to tiny. When you need unadulterated trouble go knock on her door. Okay, I’ll take my leave now before it’s too late [picks race]. Thank you much plenty, Jah bless y’all.

Orientation camp in Asaya also led me to some important people, two of which proved extra-ordinary. Much gracias to @DerickFT, my funny and sharp pal, and to @angelfrecklesz, the cute cum smart lady. I can’t say for all Edo people, but this lady seriously no dey carry last. Obrigado.

Oh, my charming Omonlumhen Rosemary Rita, how can I forget you? Meeting you was one of the good things that happened to me this year. Ù rú èsé. May Osanobua bless you. Similar to her is Orogbangba Sanmi; the one who took me in when shelter metamorphosed into luxury. To NCCF Mopamuro, thank you for making me a better me.

I should go on to be fair to all, but I just can’t. The list is endless!

To my other friends not mentioned, including Mopa corpers, especially the ones that are not cantankerous, I’m grateful. Wishing all the male corps members a Rufus-less service year. Morganalisers: fake friends appearing real (Origin: Morgana; Merlin. Many thanks to Big John on this one) are also appreciated. May God touch your hearts ASAP.

To readers and followers of Señor Joe’s blog, a very massive thank you goes to you. Goodness and mercy shall must follow you. Writing my rants would appear rubbishy (is that word even correct?) if not for your readership. To non-readers and nah-I-don’t-read-blogs individuals, what can I say? I would’ve said thanks but there’s no point doing that, they won’t read anyway.

This seems like a good time to allow that narrator bring more glasses so we can do justice to the expensive wines. I’ll suggest he brings one for himself too. Wotchu think?

A toast to a wonderful 2014:

Here’s health to those I love, and wealth to those who love me. May the fountain of friendship never dry, nor the wings of love lose a feather. May our dreams come truer than anticipation.

Methinks I know nice toasts, but now I cannot remember them. Please, fill your glass to anything and bless yourself. I’ll drink to it.

To greater achievements.