So the new book is out on (date to be announced), and in anticipation, here’s another tasty morsel in advance. It’s a rather amusing story I told to make a rather serious point.
There was once a young man named Kofi who went to meet his in-laws for the first time. He was very nervous, which was not a good thing because when Kofi gets nervous, he passes wind. Loud, toxic smelling air-biscuits that could set fire to your nasal hairs. In fact, continued exposure to Kofi's intestinal effervescence could very well bring about pretty much the same effect on your skin as Bukom Banku's moisturiser. Basically, you don't want to be around Kofi when he's struck with even the mildest case of stomach butterflies.
He managed to make it through dinner thanks to a combination of muttered prayers and vice-like butt clenches, but the real test came when the whole family retired to the living room to relax for a while as their food digested. Kofi was given the place of honour in his father-in-law's armchair, which was slightly set apart from the rest of the furniture. Basically, if he made any funny noises, everyone would be able to tell where they came from. At this point, the poor lad was sweating from the sheer effort of preventing the explosion of a bum grenade.
Things were going so well too. His in-laws seemed to like him, as did all the assembled uncles, aunts and cousins. Even the family dog, Bruno, had given him the seal of approval by never leaving his side since he walked into the house. The thought of ruining all that goodwill with an ill-timed trump was just too much to bear. The stakes were high, and that made the poor guy even more nervous. After squirming in his seat for several minutes, biology got the better of him, and he let out a little squeak. It wasn't the entire gas build-up - just about one-tenth - tip of the iceberg, really. But the stench that accompanied it... whew. Imagine walking past a sewage treatment plant that only processed the sewage from vegetarian homes. That's how bad it was.
Within seconds, it stank up the joint, and Kofi sat with baited breath, waiting for the first family member to cotton on to the source of the biological weapon. Suddenly, Kofi's father shouted, "Bruno!".
It appeared the suspicion had fallen on the innocent dog sitting next to Kofi. The poor guy heaved a sigh of relief, but alas, the sigh came out of both ends - much louder from the rear end, unfortunately. At least an extra thirty percent of Kofi's backed up gas reserves slipped out with a loud, unmistakable bass of a butt-trumpet, before he managed to re-clench his cheeks and stem the emissions.
Thirty percent! This was no joke. Big Uncle Joe who was sitting on the other side of the room cleared his throat and hit his chest like a man who had just downed a tumbler of Akpeteshie. Grandma choked on her tea, and farther away in the Kitchen, Kofi's mother-in-law's nasal cavities transmitted the shockwave of the foul fumigant to her brain, causing her to drop the plate she was drying. Again, Kofi's Father-in-law yelled "Bruno!", and yet again, Kofi sent silent prayers up to the Almighty, for sending that messiah of a dog to save him from his smelly sins. Clearly, his father-in-law and the rest of the family were in no doubt that their dear dog, Bruno, was the source of the chemical weapons wreaking havoc on their post-dinner tranquillity.
At this point, Kofi pretty much decided to go for broke and let out the remaining sixty percent, knowing fully well that the dog, Bruno would take the fall. So with steely conviction, He lifted one hip off his father-in-law's seat and unleashed the dragon.
It sounded like someone had grabbed a fistful of bubble-wrap and was popping them in quick succession. It lasted a good eight to ten seconds, this wonder-wind, and the smell hit noses before the full fume exited his colon. It smelled like a three-week-old dead body marinated in a vat of pig excrement. Somewhere in the house, a little child started crying. Matter of fact, all the adults had tears in their eyes. Kofi himself could feel some definite singeing of his nether hairs, as someone in the room exclaimed, "Sweet Mother of hell, I can taste it in my mouth"
This time, Kofi's father-in-law turned in his seat, and with bloodshot eyes reddened from the burn of toxic tushy tear gas, he yelled at the top of his voice, "Bruno! Get away from that man before he kills you!"
Friends, it's Tuesday morning. If you're wondering why i'm telling you a story about in-laws and noxious gases, it's because i'm worried, I'm worried that, as a people, we are becoming too good at shifting the blame. It's the traffic that made you late, not the fact that you didn't wake up early enough. It's the witches in your family who are keeping you broke, not the fact that you don't save a penny of your income. It's women's dressing that is causing you to sin, not your own lack of self-control. It's the White Man who is oppressing us and denying us opportunity, not our own slave mentality that's keeping us prisoners. It's our leaders' failure that caused Accra to flood, not our own dumping of refuse in gutters. It’s the Chinese who are poisoning our water bodies with Galamsey, not our own home-grown greed causing us to harbour illegal miners and supply them with the land and facilities to rape our land and destroy our children’s future.
Seriously, if everything is someone else's fault, if we don't take responsibility for our situation, for our stagnation and for the sorry state of our nation, then we have to wait for whomever or whatever we're blaming to change before our condition can also change. If they never change, things will never get better for us. Why would you want to leave your fate in the hands of someone else? Why would you want someone else's behaviour to determine your destiny?
My dear friend, let's own our mess. Let's own our failures. Let's own our disappointment. Let's stop kidding ourselves. The dog didn't do anything. It was us. We lifted our right hip and unleashed stink-bomb after stink-bomb all over our own circumstances. It's our fault. We did this to ourselves. And the funny thing is, the only people we're lying to are ourselves. The world knows the truth. They’re not fooled. They don’t think the dog did it. So from this morning onwards, let's take control of our destinies. Take responsibility. That way, the only one that needs to change in order for you to succeed, is you.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I did it.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!
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