SUIT Etiquette – unspoken rules for wearing your suit “A gentleman is one who puts
The only time I had visitors from home during my 6year stint at the Obafemi Awolowo University, was when I burnt my soup!
I thought I would never write this story…….but here I am. Enjoy!
Have we met?
I am not quite sure we have.
Because if you had any inkling the sort of roommate and friend that I was to the guys I shared my room with during my university years, then you would look beyond my gentle mien, calm demeanor and polish English to marvel at the giddy, exuberant and playful guy that I once was.
I would grab hold of an unplugged electric iron and pretend to be badly burnt by its face while holding my wrist, writhing in fake pain till I got everyone’s attention.
This was at the University, not even kindergarten!
I did it just for the kicks. Just to get everyone to laugh. I always laughed the hardest. It was somewhat amusing to me. Weirdly so!
I would sometimes pretend to kick my foot on something and then hop about on one leg holding my big toe like it had cut off. When my curious friends would finally look in after pleading repeatedly to see how badly injured I was, I would yelp in ecstatic pleasure with my laughter ringing in their ears for minutes.
I carefully chose the times for these “sick” pranks. It was never too frequent, and it was always when the room was full and everyone else engrossed in something or the other. And then boom!
Perhaps It was my way of seeking attention or maybe I considered it entertaining. My room mates didn’t think so though. They didn’t find it funny and would warn me later to stop toying with their heads, but I would never show contrition or apologize for such irresponsible prank.
It was just a silly joke and that was it.
They simply sucked it in and moved on too. No drama!
Soon enough, I stopped the games and moved on too. I would have to find a new audience to play the prank on. In my head, my room mates already knew what I was about, and they wouldn’t even bulge if I tried it on them again.
Throughout my stay on campus at the university, my parents barely paid a casual visit. I did most of the visiting- off to Lagos and back in a jiffy, especially when I was out of pocket money and needed to get food items and other provisions.
The three-hour ride to Lagos was not one I relished, but it was a lesser pain to endure than go hungry on campus. There really wasn’t any need for my folks to visit. Until a few months to my final examination.
I had just returned from the long grueling walk from the “Spider” building to my room at the one of the Awolowo Hall Annexes where I stayed with my room mates. The building was so named because of its fancy design resembling that of a spider’s appendages (legs in local parlance). While a spider had 8 of those spindly legs, this building and more than a dozen of it!
The building was also reputed to be the farthest away from anywhere on campus at the time. You would have to walk 30minutes back to the hostel. It was a long agonizing walk through lecture theatres, unending pavements without gangways and undulating terrain. The scenic beauty of the campus did little to compensate for the trouble. It was never a fun walk especially when the sun was at its raging best!
The alternative? You ask?
The only alternative was to take a motorbike. That was reserved only for the times you were grossly late for a grade-scoring lecture, a test, an all-important examination or rushing to meet a deadline to submit a term paper. And this happened a lot of the time.
That distance was no mean feat.
To put this in context, we took breaks during the walk sometimes. We would walk in groups and factor in stops for breakfast/lunch at a faculty hall or stop for a cold sachet of water along the way.
The moment you sauntered into the Spider building practically exhausted, you are most certainly going to take a seat to catch your breath- and there were few of those too.
It was just plain old brutal torture!
I had just returned from one of those long walks and stopped over at the hall buttery to get a few supplies for stew. I was hungry and was looking forward to boiling a pot full of rice. The condiments for the stew were all that was required for a deserved lunch.
I brought out the old rusty electric stove – the ones that were in vogue that decade. They were the cheapest in the market and the most commonly used within the campus community. We hadn’t used it for some time and we confined it to the doldrums of our kitchenet. Only retrieved when we were running out of cash.
My stomach was churning uncontrollably, as I quickly stripped myself of my chinos and shirt leaving only my underpants (boxers) and thread worn singlet. The sweltering heat coupled with the boiling pot of rice on the electric stove had spiked the temperature of the room and every piece of clothing on the body was now a burden.
Silently, my colleagues sat huddled and hunched on a chair or bed as they waited on lunch. I was the cook for the afternoon.
Drenched in my own sweat, I started to make the stew. I mixed the condiment and watched as it simmered to life. Waft of stew had drifted through the window and was starting to attract the occupants of the next room. A couple of them walked in to ask if there was a party later that evening.
My stern look in response to their question was all it took as they hurried off whistling like they hadn’t been at the room moments earlier.
“The greedy bums” I muttered under my breath, “They never share anything, yet they want in on our precious lunch”
My roommates were too hungry to respond. They just looked on as I worked my magic.
And just then, as I walked back towards the saucepan, holding it at the handle, jolts of unexplainable and unimaginable electricity currents/electrons fizzled through my body violently. It was a flash that must have lasted up until 20seconds!
It was piercing, intense and rattling and it was no prank! It was the real deal. I was still holding on to the saucepan and so in my barely conscious state, I tried hard to free myself from the handle.
The spasm in my muscles were uncontrollable and even when I tried to open my mouth to speak or shout, it came off in utter gibberish.
My roommates looked on. They couldn’t be bothered
I was probably unto one of my many pranks, they must have thought.
Besides they were too hungry and exhausted to fall for my “high-energy” prank.
There I was shaking like a jelly fish whilst holding on to the pan till I managed to yank it off the electric stove and emptied its hot content right into my underpants.
Yekpa! You say?
No jokes. From getting stung by electricity, I was now struggling to save my manhood!
That was the moment my roommates jumped off their beds and attempted a rescue. I hurriedly pulled off my underpants (what we called boxers those years) and emptied a bowl of water on my crotch.
Not only was I hungry, I was now hurt (I was burned badly) and my boxers was ruined.
Imagine getting your pubic area burnt by hot peppered liquid.
No matter how hard I tried, it felt like I was going into labor pains! I had felt nothing like it my entire life.
Those neighbors next door- the ones I hushed away, were the first to turn up at the room door.
The gossiping lot!
And that was the one reasons my parents drove all the way down to Ile-Ife the next day.
Dad was particularly interested in knowing if I could still muster an erection. He was concerned for his lineage.
I imagined that when he first got the news, he must have thought that my scrotum were fried beyond recognition.
For your information, it was horrific in anyway you can imagine the scene, but the singlet I was putting on and the boxer pants contrived to retain a good chunk of the boiling stew and shred of sardine fish around my pubic area leaving only slithering trails of hot liquid down my crotch. For their efforts, I disposed both the singlet and underpants honorably.
Of course we still ate the rice. Why wouldn’t we. We paid a hefty price for it and we gobbled it down, stew or no stew!
Somehow we salvage parts of the stew.
The electric stove?
We tossed it outside with the rest of the trash after destroying it to bits.
The pity meals we got from our female friends on campus kept our hungry stomachs quiet for a few days. While I had to cover my lower body in loose wrappers like a jobless drunk for a few days till it healed and I could wear my jeans.
I was lucky, it could have been worse, and I am grateful I could call on the services of the two scrotum years later as they produced my three beautiful, tough and smart kids.
One big lesson – When you keep raising false alarm every time to get help or people’s attention on very little issues, the day you really need help on the big issues they may simply turn their backs on you.
Let’s hope you don’t get your balls burnt in the aftermath….lol
Please share your kind comments, I would love to read from you.
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