Friday, September 25, 2009


Let’s just say that my father is a successful entrepreneur. My father is many things rolled into one mass of adoring flesh. Businessman, social engineer, writer, artist, artiste, inventor … he never ceases to amaze me. But he tells me to concentrate on one thing

“Son,” he would say. “It’s good to know one thing about everything. But make sure you know everything about one thing.” That was his favourite quote, to me. Ah, my father is so full of punch lines.

Due to the unusual traffic that sometimes flow like blood through a dead man’s vein; I am a times reluctant to visit him. But whenever I did, no matter the occasion, father would always have a pep talk for me.

It was a stroke of genius that got me to his office today. I drove on water. To rephrase, with the help of a machine, I ferried my car over the lagoon. Did I tell you that I was the first person in Lagos to invent that novel idea of beating the Island traffic? Yeah, right, nobody told you. Now everybody wants to be me. A special ministry should be created for novel ventures like mine.

Before I continue, let’s play a small game. Who was the first to invent pure water sachet in Nigeria?

Back to father. I got to his office just before the cock crowed. Not at dawn, stupid. It was 7 pm in the evening.

“Ah, oniovo,” father greeted me with a bear hug as I walked into his office. I wonder, does any father greet his son with brother? Well, sometimes, he calls me son or by my name. I have known him long enough to know that the qualification he uses actually depends on the occasion. Today… Well, let’s save it for later. I was wearing an ash coloured suit, just like father was.

“You didn’t tell me you were going to wear this suit,” he remarked as he held me by the shoulders. Apart from the fact that I was a hair taller than him, I was the spitting image of my father.

“Great minds think alike,” I replied him and he burst out laughing in that rich generous baritone of his. The unpredictability of genes can be so confusing. Thank goodness for cloning, in my next life, I am going to choose a Barry White tenor rather than an Alicia Keys.

It happened one Friday, when I told him of my new appointment. We went shopping together and he bought us two pairs of identical suits. Father could be so full of mischief.

“I’m proud of you,” he said to me that day.

“Indulge me,” I teased him. “I’m honoured to be called your son,” I told him. It felt so good to have a new job. And a father who didn’t cease to pleasantly surprise me every day. I was already projecting into the future faster than a space shuttle could get into orbit.

“Look at you,” father said as he held me by the shoulders. “You are all grown up,”
“Oh, don’t start, father,” as we both walked to the milk coloured sofa by the window, his favourite spot in his office. “What did you expect? I’m old enough to get married.”

“Son, life isn’t a game for dead men,” father said as he sat me down. I blinked.

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