Peter and Tolani were newlyweds. Together, they made a sizable income and decided to have a taste of the ‘oyibo’ lifestyle. So, they got a dog together and moved into an apartment in Lekki.
The dog was a Lhasa-poo named Jojo. Peter gave it its name, as he had come to love the dog. This was a surprise to Tolani who thought the dog was supposed to be hers to pet around, since Peter always wanted a big dog, “a real dog” in his words.
The couple was trying to figure marriage out as most newly weds do. Once in a while, they would have (verbal) fights, using the occasional cuss-word here and there.
One Sunday evening, they had stayed around each other for too long in a typical day. Neither one of them left the apartment the whole day, and so they got deeply under each other’s skin. They were highly irritated and got into the biggest verbal fight so far. It was very intense and they used a lot of cuss-words against each other.
Peter stormed out of the bedroom in anger, leaving Tolani in there, and slammed the door behind him. He got to the living room and there was Jojo, his best friend, sitting its little butt on the couch. It looked at him, tilting its head as though it was trying to read his facial expression.
He slumped onto the couch beside Jojo and muttered “You animals have it easy, don’t you? No commitments, no wars, you all just live freely”.
“No, we don’t” Jojo replied. This startled Peter, but Jojo seemed to ignore his shock and kept on talking. “In fact, you humans have it better than us animals”.
Now, Peter was very much unsure about getting into conversation with a dog, but seeing Jojo’s total lack of acknowledgement of his shock, he decided to engage, hesitantly.
“So, tell me how we have it better” Peter inquired in a politely awkward manner.
“To start with, you speak and we don’t”. Jojo replied. And before Peter could interrupt by pointing out that he wasn’t the only one speaking in the room, Jojo continued “You have the ability to pronounce vowels as well as consonants, unlike us that can only make incoherent vowel sounds which never form meaningful words.
Also, you don’t do your business in public. You carry out your bathroom and bedroom activities in private, unlike us that shamelessly do them in public. That pretty much differentiates you from us. Except…”
“Except what?” Peter interjected, now seeming more comfortable and interested in where this was going. Now, he was fully engaged in conversation with Jojo.
Jojo: Except you humans want to be like us animals.
Peter: How so?
Jojo: You abuse that same power of speech, using it to strip yourselves of your uniqueness.
Peter: Really? What does that even mean?
Jojo: Yes, you do. You always try to expose your bathroom and bedroom activities, shamelessly, in public.
Peter: What? We don’t walk around naked. A few of us defecate in public and we certainly don’t hump out in the open!
Jojo: Oh but you do. You do through your words. You say words that literally translate to excreta when you’re describing something, calling someone names, or simply just exclaiming –maybe even about something exciting.
You don’t stop there. You use words that translate to ‘Fornication Under the Consent of the King’ too when you’re angry, happy or just making simple conversation.
You just try, subconsciously or consciously, to expose your dirty linen in public, and to make your speech of little importance. Just like us, you’re trying to be like us.
Peter: Oh my G–
Jojo: There you go again.
Peter: How do you mean?
Jojo: That’s one other way by which you try to be like us.
Peter: What are you talking about?
Jojo: We don’t worship anyone. We care mainly about ourselves and maybe a little bit about you guys. We are concerned about survival only, nothing else really matters. No one else really matters.
But you guys are supposed to be different from us in that you show reverence to the one you worship. Instead, you throw the big G or big J words around so carelessly that it shows no form of reverence at all. You even go ahead and say a cow is holy sometimes. That cracks me up!
Peter: Holy cow?
Jojo: Exactly! How does that even make any sense?
Peter: Hmm. I think you’ve made a lot of sense. So by using our unique power of speech for profanity, we are emphasizing our animal side?
Jojo: Yep! What you’re doing is taking the private areas of the bathroom and bedroom and exposing them publicly through your speech. By this as well as by rejecting the godly part of yourselves, you are choosing to de-emphasize your humanity and embrace the animal kingdom where those things aren’t seen as anything private or sacred.
Slowly, but surely, it fills you with a deep sense of self loathing and strips you of any sense of dignity and uniqueness. You stop liking yourselves and you even begin to think you’re no better than animals.
Peter: Hmm that’s funny. Tolani and I were contemplating not having kids for a long while; after all, we had you to keep us company.
Jojo: Haha! No comments there. But seriously, we wish we had your unique ability of speech. And if we did, we would certainly use it to talk ourselves up, not down. We wouldn’t use those precious consonant sounds to construct such destructive words.
Peter: You mean our words actually contribute to our current states?
Jojo: Yes. You are basically what you speak. Your own ears internalize and accept that which they hear your own lips and tongue saying. And this could either be good or bad.
Peter: Wow! That’s quite a lot to process. And you know what? This is still weird.
Jojo: What is?
Peter: How are you able to talk to me? You’re only my DOG!
Jojo: Haha! Well, maybe you’ve just got that last word spelled backwards…
Peter woke up to Tolani standing in front of him, arms akimbo, calling out his name “Peter! Won’t you come into the bedroom and stop sleeping on the couch with the dog, for F.. sake?!”
He got up, shook his head as he walked behind her towards the bedroom. He knew exactly what his next topic of discussion with her would have to be.
Photo Credit: Mimagephotography | Dreamstime.com