Folks, amid Christmas season cheers, stay safe

Monday, December 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Christmas season cheers.

Merry Christmas, folks! I know the day is not yet here but that is beyond the point. If you subscribe to my now famous uncle Habbakuk, you know every day is a feast. Christmas or no Christmas.

That means you make merry as if Santa is your uncle. Eat, drink to your fill, for you know not about tomorrow.

In one of Chinua Achebe’s books, a character known for borrowing left, right and centre was known for quipping that every time he saw a dead man’s mouth, he saw the value of eating  when you are alive. I know you get the drift.

So when I say merry Christmas, you see I am not ahead of myself.

By the way, who said that you have to wait for that day to eat and drink to your fill? You might wait for that day and wake up to find you are dead. That is the day you will regret. But that is a topic for another day.

I was telling you that Christmas is not a day but a season.

That is the time folks spend like drunken sailors. Or as if they have three payslips.

Some decades ago, when I could not even look at a damsel in the eyes, when letter-writing was all the rage, this so-called festive season came with lots of drama.

There were the well-to-do, who boasted outfits that were the envy of the entire village.

There was the bell-bottomed trousers, which came with a thick-soled pair of shoes, called platforms. This took special skill to walk, sorry waltz in, otherwise you ended up looking like a peacock.

Now, woe unto you if you did not posses this magic ensemble. No girl would talk to you, unless they were asking you where your sister was. I know you get the drift.

Conversely, the girls wore short dresses, whose hemline was well above the knees. Or they wore long skirts, stretching to the ankles. They were called maxis.

If you wanted to go to a boogie (disco later) you approached a friend whose wardrobe had the required items.

Here, it was the lasses who exhibited the most drama.

Woe unto you if you borrowed a friend’s outfit to attend a party. If you met the same folk you were subconsciously compelled to be on your best behaviour. You did not boast needlessly, lest you were reminded that even the clothes covering your birthday suit were borrowed.

Such incidents were many. A woman appeared at a party and if she pranced like a peacock, a friend or two would remind her to go slow, especially in borrowed attire. Such putdowns dampened the party spirit even as observers either smiled knowingly or burst out laughing.

In one such incident, the owner of the outfit reminded the borrower not to soil her clothes as they would be difficult to scrub.

Anyway, I was telling you about the festive season.

My uncle Habbakuk tells folks who care to listen to him that Christmas is someone’s birthday. “Unless it is yours, do not celebrate it louder and with more gusto than the one whose birthday it is” is his favourite rebuke to folks who go overboard.

In my youth, the season meant imbibing alcoholic drinks until you lost your way while staggering home in the wee hours.

The celebrations were not complete unless some folk was found talking to a lamp post, asking to be let in some time between two and four in the morning. He knocked on it once, twice, thrice.

The cops told him it was merely a lamp post and he should go home to his wife and children. He quipped: “Don’t play with my shight. I can shee veeeery well…my peepsh are shtill upshtairsh…pleash tell them to open for me”.

Alcohol can do strange things to people.

Another bloke hit a tree in a drunken stupor on his way home. Asked what happened, he retorted, with a straight face, that he was driving home when all of a sudden a tree appeared in his path.

Some wag posted on social media that this is the season some chap leaves his house to go and buy bread, but returns home dead drunk after 11pm. Where is loaf bought, by the way?

Well, whatever you do, please stay safe during the festive season. Unless it is your birthday.

Have a safe Christmas, folks!

– The writer is Assignments Editor, People Daily

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