“Some things are only real if you believe in them” Unknown Writing in progres Related
“Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.” – John Locke
You can catch up on the first part of this amazing story here
The days after the interview didn’t make me feel better. I felt my ego had been badly bruised and I couldn’t take my mind off the harassment and humiliation I felt. I really didn’t care for the outcome of the interview. No one in their right mind would vote to admit me into the league of extra-ordinary gentlemen after my abject performance.
I tried not to think about the fiasco but it was pretty tough not to. The scenes played themselves in my head during my idle times. I even took liberty to change the “script” in my head. One scene had me shoving off the gentleman who yanked off my tie before he could ruffle my well-mannered outfit. In another mental replay, I told the Lord Mayor to call his goons to order lest I walk out of the meeting room without answering their many questions.
Weak I know.
It’s been a week and I hadn’t run into Kennedy. I started to wonder if he wasn’t part of the charade and this was a cleverly disguised plan to humiliate and embarrass me.
I must think so highly of myself I concluded.
A student had delivered a mail to my room whilst I was away at lectures. I hadn’t expected a letter.
It was probably a regret mail, I concluded, but It wasn’t in an envelop. The letter was carefully folded and pinned.
When I ripped the pin out of the paper, as I usually did, with the urgency of a child unveiling a Christmas present, it left a good part of the letter torn off.
It was an offer of admission into the Alpha Club. All my self-doubts and naggings gave way to disbelieve and an ecstatic cry of joy.
“Yes” muttered in between clenched teeth and fist flexed at the elbow, was all that was needed to celebrate the news.
Not until the waves of excitement had subsided did I start to question how I was eventually selected. “What was the basis for selection? I sure wasn’t the best man, what changed?”
Plenty questions, but no answer!
I was starting to overthink already. The letter stated that a brief meeting was scheduled for the next evening and all intending Alphites, as we had come to be addressed, were to come with a hand-written letter of acceptance. It made sense!
The dress code remained unchanged.
There you go, I would have to go borrow that suit again. I rolled my eyes.
The meeting held at the same venue. The same room where my last memories were that of a man that was pretty shaken and had lost hope of passing the interview. It no longer held the ominous ambience that I dreaded. The lights were brighter and friendlier. The room was suddenly a colorful mix of brilliant red rug that covered the area of the floor only to be abutted by the mahogany finished walls.
The ceiling was adorned with wooden cornices bordering the white soffit finish.
It felt like it wasn’t the same meeting room. Nothing was the same!
The sitting arrangement was different too, so much that the room was almost unrecognizable. The arrangement was like that of a press conference with the intending Alphites seated facing only a few of the club executives.
An Alpha club banner hung across the only window in the room right behind the executives while the official maze stood in its majestic splendor at a corner of the room.
One executive in particular wore a wine-colored regalia and held a scepter on his right hand. There was no doubt who he was. He was The Lord Mayor of the Alpha Club.
I suddenly felt excited to be in the midst of fine gentlemen. We, the intending Alphites, watched with keen interest the manner in which the young men carried on with the business of the day. The finesse, class and discipline exuded by every gentleman was simply magical, like something out of an English fairy tale novel.
The meeting started at exactly 7pm as they had advised in the offer letter. I soon realized that lateness was an unforgiveable sin at this club. Some intending Alphites were turned back and their offer of admission immediately withdrawn simply for showing up late to this meeting. That was some scary stuff!
We sat in silence, holding our breaths as we anticipated the start of the meeting.
The next culture shock was the way each Alphite addressed the group as soon as the meeting commenced, seeking permission first from the Lord Mayor before speaking. The reverence to the Lord Mayor was absolute and unquestionable. There was no doubt where the power resided. His words were few and measured but carried power and authority that echoed throughout that room.
We watched. All 13 of us, our eyes wide open so we didn’t miss a thing. We lapped at every word spoken in awe and took mental notes of the mannerisms and behaviors of the Alphites. I looked from one immaculate suit to the next. There was indeed something about these young men that mystified everyone on campus.
Then there was the Alpha handshake. With arms outstretched upwards, the fingers of the greeting Alphites are then clasped in an interlock that signified membership. As intending Alphites, we were not eligible to share in the bliss and euphoria that the handshake elicited. We could only watch. We couldn’t wait!
Someone even took notes at the meeting scribbling, as fast as his wrist would allow him, into a huge hardcover notebook that I later understood had details of all the minutes of previous meetings as far back as a decade earlier. I would later spend countless hours re-living moments etched in those history books.
While we listened on, a gentleman nudged me gently. I turned to face the fellow I remembered from the interview session. The one fellow that I had hoped to deliver a well-weighted punch square between his eyes. He was the same one who removed my right shoe and my tie. I cut him some slacks because he avoided that left shoe that held secrets.
Today, he wore a broad smile showing off a gap tooth. I wasn’t sure how to react. I was suddenly a potpourri of conflicting emotions.
“Can I see your tie clip please” He asked.
This guy has started again!
“I didn’t come with any” I responded without looking away from the proceedings.
He scribbled something on a sheet of paper he held with his other hand.
“Your handkerchief please?” he asked further.
“I don’t have one with me” I responded before looking keenly into the paper he scribbled on. He was ticking off fines for not being properly dressed. Damn!
When he was done checking my socks type, belt color, wrist watch and singlet, he moved on to the next intending Alphite.
I was now owing club fines right from the first day!
I doubt if any intending Alphite didn’t get fined. What a way to learn how to be properly dressed. I started looking out for how the other Alphites dressed. I needed to justify a non-compliance.
“Please submit your hand-written letter of acceptance right here” The Deputy Lord Mayor beckoned.
We took turns, each intending Alphite, walking towards the executives as we handed the letters as he had instructed.
We were seated when his first set of diatribe hit us in torrents.
“I am utterly disappointed in all of you. I had assumed that we selected the finest set of young men on the campus but it looks like we may have goofed. My Lord Mayor, with your permission, I would like to admonish these set of impolite young men who have just submitted their letters of acceptance without enclosing same in an envelope” His voice had gone up a pitch as his vituperation was just about to go dig in further into our ego.
“It is unacceptable that you submit papers without an envelope. Where do you all think you are? Look here, everyone here must respect the formal way of doing things and this is very disrespectful” He paused to bend double so the Lord Mayor could whisper some words in his ears. I couldn’t follow his lips.
My right hand raised itself up. The other intending Alphites looked at me like I was indeed crazy.
“Yes, what is your contribution?” The Deputy Lord Mayor asked looking quizzically.
“Observation sir” I spoke.
I had heard a lot of the Alphites use the word loosely before they were permitted to express their comments respectfully and I couldn’t help getting into the mix.
“Please proceed” the Lord Mayor prompted.
“The Lord Mayor, Alphites and intending Alphites, please do not take this the wrong way, but I do not recollect receiving my letter of offer of admission in an envelop when it was hand-delivered to me. I can not speak for the others, but I believe this should apply both ways”
That took a lot of guts. Even from me!
But I felt like I had unfinished business after the way the interview session left me with damaged ego and self-worth.
What was all the fuss they were making about envelopes or no envelopes if they didn’t deliver their letters in envelopes.
It hit hard.
The Deputy Lord Mayor went for my jugular, his words were designed to hit hard and unforgiving.
“What is your name again?”
“Intending Alphite Akin Akingbogun” my voice was a lot lower than when I had spoken earlier.
“I beg your pardon, you are barely in the club and you have started throwing shades. That was a simple test for which you and your other colleagues have failed woefully. Did you not receive the first notification enclosed in a marked envelope? Why then do you question the process that we have designed to instill values” His face was menacing and to be honest I stopped listening after some time, knowing what was coming.
The other Alphites took turn to tongue lash me but I took it all in my stride. It went on until the Lord Mayor raised a point of order.
That incident earned me the leader of the intending Alphites. I was unanimously nominated by the Alphites as the spokesperson for the newbies.
Well deserved? It was the beginning of the exciting journey that culminated in my election as the Lord Mayor in my final year!
What a way to start my Alpha Journey!
The Alpha Club is a sociocultural and philanthropic organization founded in 1968 by distinct gentlemen with the following aims and objectives.
- To breed young gentlemen into responsible and respectable citizens, acquainting them with charitable works and other activities which foster peace in our immediate and larger world.
- To promote, support and strive for academic excellence.
- To promote sociocultural and sporting activities.
The Alpha club is the oldest existing club on the Obafemi Awolowo University campus and has gathered recognition for its deeds and activities and kindness towards humanity. Read more about the club here https://alphacluboau.com/
I will tell you all about the induction in my subsequent posts. I hope you enjoyed the story.
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