We’ve all been there before, that rumbling feeling you get in your stomach, the cold sweats on your forehead, the look of utter panic on your face as you frantically search for the nearest lavatory and the sigh of sheer relief as you unload your business….yes we’ve all had diarrhoea!
But today, I’d like to concentrate on diarrhoea of a different kind. The type that proceeds from the lips! For the life of me I really cannot understand why people always feel the need to share their opinions, especially when not asked to do so. What ever happened to thinking before you speak? Isn’t there something to be said for the silent thought? Isn’t there some unwritten rule in society that requires we keep our mouth shut until we are asked for our opinion?
Okay, I am probably going to get slaughtered for this article, but I must be honest with you guys, Nigerians seem to be the only ones who suffer from an acute form of this disease. Yes, the French are known for their honesty and the Italians can be brutal even the South Americans can be direct. But Nigerians take the biscuit (if I may use an English phrase). I find some of the comments Nigerians make utterly mind boggling. I have so many examples of verbal diarrhoea among Nigerians that I am at a complete loss as too which particular story I should share. Here are 3 of my top choices
Example one: As part of his 70th birthday celebration, my father had invited his close friends and family to a thanksgiving Mass, at his local Catholic Church. After the mass was over, I was taking pictures of my dad as he received congratulatory messages from his friends, when one of the priests present at the occasion approached me. “Anh anh are you not Glory Edozien?”, he asked. “Yes, I am.” I replied with a smile, knowing full well I had never seen this particular priest in my entire life. “Ehen! I knew it was you” he continued as he stretched out his hand. I assumed he was attempting to shake my hand, so I stretched out mine to meet his, only for him to by pass my palm and grab the back of my arm (what we women refer to as our bingo wings!). “My goodness you have added so much weight!” he quipped as he vehemently shock my bingo wings. I stood, arm stretched out, gazing at this holy man in shock. All my close friends and family will agree that I have an acid laced tongue. The only thing that kept me and my tongue in check was the thought of God himself raining down fiery darts from heaven, if I attacked His anointed. So instead of an equally insulting retort, I smiled and said thank you, father.
Example 2: A friend of mine (Ijeoma) was at a well known club in Lagos one day when she was approached by what she described as an Igbo man with an American accent. He offered to buy her a drink, but she refused. Sensing that his charm and good looks were taking him no where, the igbo-amerciana decided that lyrics might prove a better tool for wooing my friend. So he proceeded to tell her all the things he liked about her. At first, they were the usual things- “you are very beautiful”, “I love your smile” etc. But then came the clincher. My darling do you know what I love about you the most? He asked, as he took yet another step into what was now her personal space. “No, I don’t” Ijeoma replied angrily, yet hoping he would compliment her on her slim waistline. “I love your hairyness” he replied as he stroked her sideburns. “Are you hairy in your family”? Overcome with a variety of emotions ranging from shock to total embarrassment, Ijeoma slapped his hand off her face and ran as fast as her legs could carry her.
Example 3: Another friend of mine, Isioma recently moved back from America over the Christmas holidays and as is customary with most Igbo’s was dragged kicking and screaming to her village for Christmas and New Year. As part of the Christmas festivities her parents entertained what seemed like a million and one visitors, uncle, aunties, cousins, everyone. On one such visit, Isioma’s mum called her to greet one of her aunties who she hadn’t seen in years. After the usual hugging and greetings, the aunty looked at Isioma quizzically and said. “Hia, Isioma why are you looking so black biko?” “I thought your mother said you have been in America, people in America are usually yellow haba. I had wanted to introduce you to one of Ike’s friends but you have to get a bit yellow first”. Yes! That actually happened.
While these stories may seem extreme to some they are everyday occurrences in the country we choose to call home-Nigeria. Random people walking up to you in the street asking you why you have so many pimples or telling you that your outfit reveals too much cleavage. It’s bloody ridiculous! Its none of your business if the person sitting beside you at a bar has black heads protruding from their corneas or if the person on the que next to you at KFC is so fat you are wondering what they are doing buying 10 buckets of chicken wings! As long as black heads aren’t infectious and the over weight person isn’t sitting on you, your opinion is not at all necessary!
Seeing as I am a scientist of sorts, I have come up with a cure for this disease. Just like diarrhoea itself can be treated with home remedies, I believe some ‘home truths’ may not go amiss in tackling acute forms of verbal diarrhoea. The first step in the cure for this disease is something my mum always said to me when I was a child running amuck in the house. It’s very simple really, but may require some practice. So if you see something out of the ordinary, a girl with a mismatched outfit, an extremely over weight person taking three turns at a dinner buffet or anyone who you believe may benefit from the latest bleaching cream your local vendor at tejuosho mixed for you, as long as it isn’t life threatening, just SHUT UP and mind your business. I am sorry if that seems a little rude but really the world would be a nicer place if we all just learnt to speak when spoken too.