Saturday, January 18, 2014

Full Resolution

'I bully myself to make me do what I put my mind to.'
Eminem - Rap God


There comes a time in your life when you just see yourself.

You know, you're going past a shop window or mirror and you just catch your reflection for a split second. At that moment, time, chance and common sense align and you slow down long enough to honestly, truly SEE yourself the way people see you. And then it dawns on you.

You're fat.

You are a soft, squiggy bag of bones rolling around in jeans and a rebellious tee shirt trying to be cool. 

And you have boobs, man. Man boobs. Moobs. 

I think I just got tired of not feeling sexy. I believe everyone has the right to feel sexy at any given time. (Whether you ARE sexy or not in real life isn't the point. Life is too short.) which is what finally drove me to the new year resolutions.

Now the urge to lose weight triggered it, but then I just generally thought of all the things I wanted to fix and decided to make a list.

I made a bunch of them. Put dates on each one, threw them in an app and put a password on it.

People rag on resolutions a lot. I don't know why. Resolutions are a good thing. New year, new beginnings, amirite? I mean if you get right down to it, it's PEOPLE that fail the resolutions, not the other way round. Anyway, I figured since I liked video games so much, it wouldn't hurt to gamify my resolutions. I added tasks and goals, I added achievements and then, I added room for failure. (Everybody dies in a video game. That's why we all have extra lives. The difference here is I made it old school - you can only fail ONCE).

So every now and then, I go to my app and I look at my goals. Each goal is counting down to a particular day. You know, '240 days before you can eat red meat'. I'll level with you - it was daunting. So then I got the bright idea to get one of those retroactive to-do apps; the types that tell you how long SINCE you last did something.

Bingo.

That was the trick. The Resolution equivalent of a video game high score. Once I understood that, I threw everything in. Nothing encourages the good fight like seeing you can do it. So, I tucked in. Hell, I even made a resolution to stop swearing (which is quite a bitch to stick to, let me tell you). But the biggest irony of all which I think is what makes resolutions so hard - is the world we live in today. It's an instant world. Overnight delivery. 4G speeds. Instant wins. Instant coffee. Google search returned in .002 seconds.

This world shift-deleted patience a long time ago.

No one likes to wait. I don't even think we remember how to anymore. So there's this mind-numbing frustration of sticking to a routine or a plan or a resolve for days when you won't see results for months.  Maybe even years.

How do you handle it? I have no fucking idea. One day at a time, that's how I've been doing it. 

I am determined to feel sexy. (I almost added 'again' but my mind sniggered at me). I am determined to be better at what I do. I am determined to just bloody try something outlandish and stick to it. Everyone goes on how nothing is more fragile than a resolution. I never have a witty comeback when they tell me that, but I've got one now.

Nothing is stronger than resolve.

And apps. Cool apps. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Mistake

He knew he was dying.

As he sat down there, shadows appearing and disappearing on the floor from the flickering lights overhead, he felt it. The pain was giving way to something cold and his eyes felt heavy.

He pressed his hand down the front of his shirt and felt the wetness seep through his fingers. The shadows appeared and disappeared, light won and lost.

He had never really thought about what it would be like, this moment. He had made no plans. No preparations. Every day had been a push. Harder. Do more. Get more.
The money was scattered all around the room. The floor, some on the furniture. A lot of it was scattered around the briefcase by the other body sprawled in the middle of the room. Some notes were stained with blood and stuck to the floor. He wondered whose blood it was.

He could no longer feel his legs but he could hear himself breathing. It was a harsh rasping sound, like sucking through a small straw. His chest heaved and he pulled his hand away to look at it. The flickering lights made his fingers look like they were on fire.

This wasn't so bad, he thought. No more pressure. No more hustle. No more jobs, errands, favors or complications. No more disappointments. He sighed to himself. No more fighting a world that didn't want you.

And then he heard it. Quiet, at first. So quiet that it occurred to him that he had been hearing the sound for a while. His phone was ringing.

It was playing her song.

It was for her. All this. All he had ever tried to be. It was for her. She deserved it.
The phone. She was calling him.

He suddenly needed to hear her voice one last time. It was important.

He tried to move his hands but his right wouldn't obey. He reached over with his left hand drunkenly; across his body, his fingers feeling for his phone. It was wedged in tight in his jeans pocket. He closed his hands over the bulge of the vibrating phone and tried to steady himself. He couldn't reach in to pull it out - that would take too much effort. So he was going to nudge the phone all the way out.

He pushed. His fingers weakened with every try, but he pushed. The flickering lights went dimmer. The phone would seem to stop ringing and the music would fade. But it would start again.

His fingers kept working.

Blood pooled around him on the floor and reflected the blinking ceiling. His eyes glazed over and he wheezed. His fingers kept working.

The phone clattered to the floor, and he saw her face.

It was a picture he had taken of her on her birthday. She had a cardboard hat on, no make up on and her laughing eyes matched her lips. She was the most beautiful woman in the world.

He reached for the answer button...and couldn't.

His finger hovered three inches away from the screen. He tried to move, to budge, to strain himself, to reach. His fingers didn't obey.

The answer button mocked him as the phone rang sadly.

He watched it ring, knowing he would never hear that voice again. And for the first time in sixteen years, the man cried.

The lights flickered once, then went out.

And the phone didn't ring again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Few Of My Unfavourite Things

Why don't you just Scream and shut it?

Michael Jackson - 2 Bad




One of the unspoken benefits of being a human being -loose definition here - is the freedom to whine. This is not to be confused with the Freedom of Speech; a somewhat more noble right given to you and I that allows us pick a stance and justify it.

No. I'm talking about the freedom to bitch.

Bitching is generally frowned upon. Society expects a certain level of maturity from one when interacting with other human beings - loose definition here - for the sake of balance. But sometimes you just hate something and there's no fun in hiding it.

You just want to share it with the world. So here, in no particular order, are a few things I would personally love to wipe off the face of the Earth.

*

1. The Fish Nemesis - We've had this conversation before. Few things command such contempt from me as Fish. The mere sight of seeing someone digging happily into fish makes me angry. I feel like walking over to that person, pointing a finger in their face and telling them how absolutely selfish they are. Fish stink, taste like sewage and look silly. This one pet peeve that comes down to biology - I was DNA coded to hate Tilapia.

And while we're on the subject of food...


2. People With Gaping Maws - I like to believe, when I pray to Little Baby Jesus at night, that there is a special superheated section of hell for people that chew with their mouths open. Few sounds are as...enraging as an individual going schlop-schlop-schlop non stop. There is some kind of morbid fascination in watching these folk eat. It's like a black hole repeatedly folding in on itself while the screams of dying civilizations shriek through.


And God help you if they're chewing gum cos you know that shit's going on for the next two hours at least.

3. Elton John's 'Sacrifice' - I have hated this song all my life. I think it is simultaneously the most depressing song ever and hands down the most boring song in the world. Whenever it plays it feels like all the air is being sucked out of the room and my brain starts to bleed. It's jarring how many people still play these in restaurants. Are they not aware of the danger? One could be halfway into One's pepper-soup and the song comes up and you slump face first into cow leg.

There's no coming back from that one.

4. Robot Calls - You're driving. You have like eight projects going on and your clients are a little panicky. Your phone starts to ring. You glance at it; it's a number you don't know. Could be a colleague. Could be a client.

These projects are awfully important, you know.

With a resigned sigh, you pull over to the side of the road and answer the call...and are greeted with an automated voice trying to sell you a fantastic offer on your network.

It's fascinating that this has happened so many times and I still always respond the same. First, gawk at the phone with wide eyed disbelief, then release a stream of expletives while simultaneously hopping in my seat and honking the horn while other driver swerve around me suspiciously.

The saddest part is always trying to send a rude text message to the said number. It always fails. They know. I always add each number to my blacklist but I think they have more numbers than I have lists.

*

Okay, I had a whole list of these but I have to go now...quick meeting.

No doubt there's going to be some genius there with fish breath, chewing gum like he owns the place while Sacrifice plays in the background.

Evolve. Or die.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Peter

A good man died yesterday.

I think ultimately, all of us will be remembered with simple qualifiers. A funny woman. A nice guy. A persistent chap. In many cases people are described that way because it’s the easiest way to sum them up.

Not here. Not now.
*
My father has always been a bit difficult to understand. He's always been the Logical Argument take-it-or-leave-it type that usually managed to piss off all his friends to the point that they would simply get mad and leave him to whatever ailed him.

All his friends, except my Uncle Peter.

He wasn't even really my Uncle...but a chance meeting one day with my Dad created a friendship that saw him becoming my Godfather when I was born and spanning well over three decades.

Uncle Peter would always listen. Always smile. He was always the first to arrive when help was needed and always the last to leave. When I just couldn't stop failing math in secondary school, it was Uncle Peter that would leave his family to come try and coach me in math. It was uncle Peter that would be summoned when the dishes were flying at home and the voices raised like the sky would fall.

It was uncle Peter that would tell me later on in life, one of the many times my dad would be driving me crazy. He said, “Son. People aren't bad. It's just that everyone has a different limit of understanding. If they really thought about what they were doing, they'd know it's wrong. But they can't. So we can't get mad at them for it.”

That was my godfather to a T. He always saw the good in everyone, always gave them a chance, always lived for them. Till this day I still have not seen an extended family as tightly knit as his, where brothers band together and families overlap.

He's gone. And I sit here writing this, yes, it's impossible not to cry. But it's also impossible not to feel some peace knowing that this man who carried everyone his whole life, will finally have peace.

But you know what really hurts? My son will never get to meet him, know him. It would have been the best thing in the world to be able to point at him at some family reunion in a few years, smile and say, “See that man, Son? That's your Uncle Peter.

“And yes, he is a good man.”


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 7, 2013

High Resolution

...my palms are too hairy to hide
My Name Is - Eminem


New year resolutions are a bit like masturbation.

Both begin with a very determined look on your face, involve a lot of action (which only seems to excite well, you) and ends in a futile mess.

They're also both the one thing you're mortified to talk about after.

I try to avoid resolutions. They're pointless. You will almost always fail. I mean let’s face it; a calendar change won't suddenly make you eat less, you cow. Besides some of my best achievements last year were spur-of-the-moment decisions (giving up soda and my BlackBerry) all done during the year. Real resolutions aren't tied to holidays and New Year church services.

However. We still resolve to do stuff differently every year. It's human nature. Part of the reason New Year is such a powerful motivator is the same reason blank sheets of paper used to make you grab your crayon when we were kids - the urge to do something new.

So this year, I have resolved, as always, to do some things differently. And what better way to revel in impending failure than to share this list with total strangers on the Internet?

1. Stop the Sarcasm.
I have tried.
But the world is full of so, so many beautifully stupid people, I can't. It’s like reflex,you know? I'm standing in a room with a person and I ask, “so what are you doing?”
And what reply do I get?
NO, what reply do I get?!?
“Who, me?”

Let us all agree that this is one I will never get.

2. Read More
Here's a quick example.Do you know what Instapaper is? I have articles I have saved in Instapaper while browsing,so I can check them in my quiet moments.

Articles saved in 2010.

Now this tells me one of two things. Either (1) I haven't had any quiet moments in 3 years or (2) twitter is eroding my capability to read anything more than 140 characters.
Either way,textbooks sob in rejection,blogs rot in the dark and some people will never get their SMS replied.

Oh, which leads me to -

3. Stop Deleting People!
Look, let's face it. You tend to add people as contacts because you're either too much of a wuss or too slain by peer pressure. Someone sitting on your contact list for six months and not saying a word is a bit like someone standing in the corner of a public toilet watching you as you nervously try to pee. It's freaky.
But then again.
How about that one guy who won't shut up? Always waiting for you to change your status message and then they ping you. Or the bombard you with forwarded messages. Or they tell you how if you don't forward this message in 2 hours,Jesus Will Slay You.
Phone numbers, twitter contacts, everything.
Deleting is a lot like taking laxative.

4. Losing Weight
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Yeah, come on man.

5. More Blogging
This is the only one on the list I feel truly bad about. Blogging used to be really great, remember? Back when there were a whole lot more of us with silly names and even crazier stories. Like everything else, this seems to be one resolve that loses more and more ground each year.
I have found solace in a higher purpose, though.
Thank God for video games.
*
So, Resolutions. What's the point of committing so much energy to something that always ends in fruitless anticlimax?

You know.

Just like uh, that other thing.

Evolve or Die, Yo.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What Are You, Stupid?

Now they say I boast.
Jale - Olamide



2012, the Year of Stupid.

Talking about me now, not Nigeria. This was the year where rational thinking got put aside and full-on stupidity was boldly embraced.

Allow me to elucidate.
*
This blog started back in 2007, the exact same year I started working in the meat grinder called Lagos. Just getting into advertising I was, like most n00bs - idealistic.

I had a firm understanding of what was wrong with advertising in Nigeria and I was going to fix it. Hard not to think so. I had the imagination, I had the crazy ideas...neither of which survived the first collision with this little thing I like to call reality.

Over the next five years such stupid thinking got left behind as I focused on marginally more important things like oh, I don't know - earning a salary, meeting deadlines and so on. And to be fair, I did build a sturdy little career in a nice little place and all was well.

Then 2012 came along. I had this niggling feeling since the beginning of the year I couldn't shake. It wasn't so much a feeling of discontent as it was one of mounting boredom.

And from out of the blue, the Stupid ideas came back. Dreams of massive global campaigns. Tim Burtonesque type TV spots. World Domination.
I remembered why I had entered this gig in the first place.

Stupidity is like a fire; it catches. I was talking to one or two people and they had some pretty ri-diculous ideas of their own. Iron sharpeneth iron. Amen, somebody.

As of June, I had been promoted three times in about four years with the usual array of commendations and back-clapping harrumphing from management.

Like they always liked to remind me, I had a bright future in this place.
Being fortunate enough to have all that, I did the only thing that came to me at the time.

I resigned.

There was no back up counter offer, no safety net. There was only this stupid idea. So I followed it.
*
Few people know I never owned a car in Lagos. Back in youth service I had this jalopy that was held together by sheer willpower. I sold it for roughly the same price as lunch at Yellow Chilli back in 2006 before moving towns. But here in Lagos, two things quickly became clear. One, if your car breaks down in traffic you're finished. And Two, if you wanted peace of mind, you needed to buy a new car... And I couldn't afford that.

Now, to batter my pride, my girlfriend had a car. Naturally, it was an SUV. You don't want to know what going out on dates was like. I give her a lot of kudos cos she MARRIED A MAN WITHOUT A CAR.

I can see typical Lagos girls gasping and snatching off their Brazilian weave in horror. Lol.

I tell you this to so I can tell you I had started planning buying a car just about the point I resigned. So, there was no job, no salary, and an impending car plan.

Like I said, pretty Stupid.
*

That was in June. The company started in August. I resumed as Head of the creative department on the first of that month.

As I type this, we have clients for every finger on both hands. The company has a hundred per cent success rate - no pitches lost. The stupid idea I had six years ago about redefining advertising has now become the job I drive to every day.

Oh, and the car thing. So I finally bought the car in August right? Was totally loving the trip computers and the push-to-start...and then I got ANOTHER brand new car last week. Official car, you see.

So husband and wife got upgraded.
*

So, this is how 2012 ends.

There are so many ideas people have that the world calls stupid. Leaving a safe job. Starting a business in a recession. Following the most improbable dream in the world. All ridiculous.

But as my CEO and I were discussing the other day, the best ideas are sometimes the stupid ones.

I think it's important to write these candid posts every once in a while so it all serves as a reminder. Where you're coming from, and where you're headed.

Happy New Year, guys. Go ahead and do something stupid in 2013.

Evolve or Die.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 15, 2012

Forgetful Jones

Been long you saw me
Dem say everybody looking for me?
Been Long You Saw Me -  Wande Coal


If you didn't believe 2012 was the end of the world, consider this; it's the first time since my blog started that I didn't do a post for my birthday.

They were right. This is The End.

Man, there's something I want to tell you guys but, for the life of me, I cannot remember.

Anyway, what the do Blogsville? I have sorely missed ye, you collection of talented and not-so-gifted writers. This was never the plan, but real life has been WAY more engaging than anything else. And I don't mean that in an entirely good way, you know.

Did i tell you guys about the time I had chicken pox? I did?

What on earth is it I wanted to tell you, then?

On the flipside, i got a great birthday gift from The Other Half...the best so far (till she gets me a mind control device next year) and I've already started wreaking havoc with it. You guys ask me nicely, and i'll share some of the devastation with you.

Superboy has grown a tooth, just like a little RugRat. I discovered this magical fact by mistakingly poking a finger in his open mouth and subsequently mistakingly screaming from the ensuing pain.

Oh, I remember what i wanted to tell you! I got myself a birthday gift as well.

Naa, that's not it. I already put that up on Twitter. Man. When did my memory get this bad?

Anyhow, till i remember. More news; I finally got of my ass and set up an honest-to-God website. That's right baby, Freaksho is going global in a big way. And no, I can't give you the URL yet cos the house ain't finished yet.

It will be awesome, trust me.

Oh, and this last request is for anyone on Instagram - add me! I see there's a thriving amateur photography community out there...I swear i can't get enough. :)

Well, that's all for now. I do promise to update more often and -

Ohhh. Now I remember what I wanted to tell you.

I quit my job yesterday.