Sunday, 21 March 2010

Musical chairs

BY WOLE OGUNTOKUN THE Whisperer has been busy all month directing rehearsals of ‘The Ultimate Face-Off’ – The V. Monologues versus The Tarzan Monologues.
Featuring Carol King, Bimbo Manuel, Katherine Edoho, Kenneth Uphopho, Ireti Doyle, Kate Henshaw, Sola Roberts Iwaotan, Ego Ogbaru, Ayo Orobiyi, and others, it has proven to be a very exhausting but extremely fulfilling task.
Today, and as we sat resting from a session of ‘Monologues’ recitals, Katherine almost in an off-hand manner, remembered she had met someone, who considered The Whisperer very arrogant. The person speaking had no idea Katherine knew me and had vented her spleen.
I cast my mind back wondering what category this angry person might fall into. She might have been one of those The Whisperer parted ways with in the long-gone days of musical chairs, where you moved from partner to partner like changing seats in that party game of the same name.
Either that or a relative of one of those whose love was spurned in those “days of rage”.
It could have been someone who had read a few of The Whisperer’s articles and had come to the conclusion that he was not a likeable person (yes, the world is made up of all sorts and there will be people who are contrary, taking delight in swimming upstream).
Don’t forget some people read the English language like they are reading Arabic.
They start the sentence at the right of the page and read it all the way to the left. It is why you wonder how people can arrive at the most amazing conclusions from a column you read earlier and found no trace of the wild speculations and dangerous theories they begin to expound.
Either that or they are reading the page upside down and do not care to admit reading has never been their forte.

I THEN thought this person with the caustic song might have been someone who had attended one of my shows and had decided I appeared too haughty for my own good. How is that you may well ask?
Well, as an eleven year old quietly strolling to my father’s home, I heard a man in his fifties exclaim in Yoruba — “You this Oguntokun boy, you are too full of yourself”.
If my memory serves me right, I had given no cause for this man to say this. So maybe something about me translates as haughtiness to the unlearned (those who know nothing of me but still speculate).
Still, I am not about to change my nature at this age because some troubled person has decided I should tone down what some might consider a lack of modesty.
I think the world is made up of many people who would rather you were diffident, self-effacing, timid and broke.
Yes, being “broke” qualifies you as a martyr in many minds, as someone who is humble and knows his or her place. I’m sorry, but if I run into money, I’m not going to walk the streets on dusty feet.
Send in the four-wheel drive they call the “Armada”. Yes, I’m buying that one when the good times roll. May that be soon.
Musical chairs. What game do people play that makes them unable to stay with one partner?
What is it that moves them from seat to seat looking for a partner who might never turn out to be the ideal one?
The game is simple, at least at parties. There are a number of seats that are one short of the number of people standing around them.
When the Deejay or whatever creature is handling the music hits the play button, you dance around the chairs until the music stops and then you rush for the chairs.
The person without a seat is out of the game, another chair is removed for the next round and the contestants are again one chair short. The winner is the one who gets the last chair.

WHEN I was younger and thought it great fun to keep scores, we would make mental notes of those we had “gone out with”, much like fighter pilots who wrote on their fuselage with each “kill” they made.
It is extraordinary but men keep scores (as do some women). Some notch bedposts, others keep journals and those who like to live life on the edge make videos of themselves.
As a teenager, I wanted to have a girl friend in every Federal Government Girl’s Secondary School in the country.
From the far reaches of Kazaure in the north to the not very far ones at Sagamu, The Whisperer sought to have “ambassadors”. It was a childish thing but some men never really grow out of it.
What is it that makes men (and women) play musical chairs? Why do they play a game they might lose, a game in which the end is never sure?
You might say you were good at the game musical chairs but you and I both know that those who were really good at this game were those who cheated a little and could bully you out of a seat you got to about the same time.
You might think life is a gamble and therefore love itself must be. I agree that there are few things in life without an element of risk (I cannot think of anything actually) but I am trying not to step into the zone known as absolute certainty.
The person who is in an “open relationship” had better be sure his or her partner is a nun or a priest. (These days, I hear even those professions are not guaranties) It is always better to define the parameters of your relationship.
You must be sure that you’re both on the same page as to exclusivity and other similar matters.
Do both partners agree that the relationship is only between two people and not a third party “who accidentally steps into the scene?”
What does your partner consider to be cheating? You might be having a relationship with a member of Bill Clinton’s school of philosophy, someone who does not consider a French kiss with another a no-go area. Remember always that it is better to ask dumb questions that make dumb mistakes.

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