By Olubunmi Familoni
“Enjoy your youth,” she said. And social media grew Uma Thurmans all over the place, up in arms trying to kill the bill and stop it from getting to parliament, ’cause that’s definitely where it was headed after that incendiary video. We had to stop it — had to stop people from enjoying themselves! We’re all in this mess together — ain’t nobody trying to get away from our collective national miseries to be a bloody happy camper alone somewhere. “But we’re the happiest people on earth.” Yeah, we sure are trigger-happy, the way we shoot off at the mouth over here in our superior intellectual capacity as the (oral) giant of Africa and such. Boy, am I always happy to be a Nigerian when someone proclaims that Nigerians know how to be happy even in the midst of suffering, not in a suffering-and-smiling way, by the way; genuine happiness from the depths of the stomach, that’s Nigerians, walking around with these big yellow smileys pinned to their hearts.
“Enjoy yourself in your youth.” Even the one whose youth is nothing but a ghost prowling the ruins of the old Bobby Benson hotel broke down in tears over the matter. How dare you ask young people to enjoy themselves; what have they achieved in their short lives, what have they contributed to the national ruin to deserve any inch of enjoyment! How dare young people enjoy themselves when they’re supposed to be working, reading, writing, winning prizes, going to school, getting degrees, getting a job, getting married — how dare you ask them to get laid in the midst of all these other loftier, nobler ‘gettings’!
One of these smart people even threw Adeboye’s (in)famous cooking admonition into the fray, in a sadly idiotic correlation which made sense when considered in the light of the dwindling quality of logical thinking in these virtual spaces.
Enjoy your youth? I also think it doesn’t make sense to enjoy your youth. What hedonistic rubbish is that? When you have all your life ahead of you to be enjoyed. You have your eighties and nineties waiting down the road filled with all the enjoyments you can imagine; of course, after you have made all the money in the world and you’re still as fit as a racehorse — what better time than then to gallivant around the world and do all the things you always wanted to do; you still have about twenty years on the clock for all that, enough time to tick off all the bucket-list items before the final toll.
How dare you try to be happier and more fulfilled than the rest of us — fall back in the sad-line and put your chains back on! Who has fun ever helped. Don’t you know you’re the leaders of tomorrow; how would you lead tomorrow if you squander today following trends and chasing fun. Never mind that the leaders of today know who the leaders of the next fifty tomorrows would be, they’ve already been anointed. But who has hope ever hurt.
I would have been mighty disappointed if the Christian wing of the Internet hadn’t been disappointed in this ‘Enjoy your youth’ edict from the High Command. Of course they wore that worn self-righteous indignation and came out stomping. What do you mean — in all his biblical youth, did you hear of Jesus enjoying himself for even one minute, or being a merrymaking idiot all over the Nazareth? Doesn’t the Teacher say in Ecclesiastes that you should seek God in your youth when you can find Him?! You think you’ll find Him when you’re old, He resides only in your youth! So don’t listen to these heathens. Hear what the man of God says and wear your sackcloth with the pride of a martyr, for that is what Christianity is about — great Suffering. Fun is of the devil! Oh and while you’re at this business of being holier than everybody else around you in your youth, don’t forget to hate the homosexuals and other such grave sinners who think they’re having fun right now; we’ll see how much fun they’ll have in hell.
Anyway, I can’t wait to be done with youth so that I can finally settle down in old age and face this business of enjoying myself squarely. Toothless, soft-limbed, half my eyesight gone to the dogs, I’ll literally enjoy myself to death. Oh what a blast that would be.