There are a lot of common men out here.I am not part of them.Call me weird if you must but not average.A weird fact about me is my small circle of friends. In fact, the entirety of my friends may not be sufficient to form a circle.Let’s just call it my dot of friends.
Quality over quantity.That metaphor employed by the aggressive marketing machinery of society creeps to mind.So don’t be quick to judge.Its the quality that shrinks that circle of friends to a dot.
Recently,a new guy became part of the dot.Well,am not really sure if I should call him friend yet.But whats the fuss about?Its just a name right?Full disclosure though,the kind of quality I look for in people may be a bit skewed.Call it unconventional if you like.And when you do,recall that I begun this piece by purposefully pointing out that I am an unconventional soul.
Misfits.Those are people I prefer being around.The individuals society points a finger at when giving an explanation of failure.Don’t be like so and so he dropped out of school…..Don’t be like her she resigned from her job for no apparent reason…..don’t be like fulani Wa Fulani they smoke this,they drink that,they eat this….and society goes on and on and on about what is wrong with these people.
Misfits are my darlings. I am in love with them.I admire there crazy.I wanna be around them.I wanna tell there stories because there tales are unique and different.There existence is distinct. They are no copy pastes.They are originals.Authentic. They do what they wanna do,how they wanna do it and however they feel like doing it.
They got no boundaries.They don’t conform.They got no limitations. They dare do that which is not commonly acceptable. That is what makes them beautiful.That is what makes them red striped Zebras. Me,I want to tell stories of red striped Zebras,black and white Zebras are boring and common.They all got the same narration.Oooh I go to school,I find a job,I buy a house,marry the wife and live forever happily….those are not the kind of stories I want to tell.
I want to tell the stories of broken men.People society deems irredeemable. People with a spark of madness.A tinge of crazy.And with a flair of indifference. Different is good.Different presents uncommon lessons and extraordinary findings.
One such red striped individual is John Alex.He may not look as exotic as his name sounds. But I must admit he is more unique than his name.John is a perfect misfit.Whether misfits are born or made is a question I haven’t found an answer to.His story is thrilling. Its inspires both cold chills and hope.These are the ingredients of any beautiful tale.
I knew John Alex long before I met him.Knowing him might be the wrong term to use,let’s say, I heard of his tales before I ever got a glimpse of his face.From the tales,John came across as a drunkard,character.All narrations I ever got about him oscillated around the bottle and his glass full of liquor.
The ones who seemed to dislike him most would paint a grim picture of how stale his breath was.How he reaked of drink.Tales,would be told about the cheap attires he dawns.Everyone seemed to know and judge John Alex exclusively from his demeanor and the fact that he literally cohabited with the bottle.No one found it necessary to think that there could be more to John Alex than the fact that he is a drunkard with no sense or love for fashion.Why judge a man in such mediaeval way?
I come from the land of Ugali lovers.We consume mountains of the delicacy. Yet In my lifetime,no one has ever judged me by the amount of ugali I take.So I wasn’t about to also make a sweeping judgement about John Alex.I choose not to judge people by what they consume,or what kind of trouser they put on.In fact,I don’t judge people at all.I believe we all got reasons as to why we do what we do.And God gave us freewill and choice to do what we wanna do.Its in God’s place to judge.So judging people is fundamentally none of my damn business.
Apparently, after receiving the monthly pay cheque, John Alex would skip work for a week or two.He would be busy seducing the bottle, his temptress,his Delilah that steals the Strength out of him like she did to Samson.People would be stranded.Not everyone can fix computers.Not every soul can route internet traffic or configure computer networks.It is not in everyone’s knowledge to fire up the task manager and kill unresponsive application programs and services.Just like it is not your business to try understanding what the hell am talking about,unless you got a computer science degree of course.John was a gem.A valuable asset to the company.So despite all his drama,he was so much valuable to the company.
Suffice all that to mean,John’s drinking disorder got me a job as his assistant.I got the job not so much because I also understand the language of computers but mostly because there were days when John was definately not going to show up for work. Who said nothing good comes out of drinking again?
I was employed hastily.The company urgently needed IT services.John was resigned to his drinking vocations. He had not shown up for an entire week.So I had to take care of business in his absense.I still am doing that today.Backing up the mighty John Alex.
In his absense,people volunteered to hint out Johns character to me.That‘s my polite way of describing gossipers.But I dislike those sonsofbitches.So I just listened because I wanted to know the hyenas in sheep skin. But as fate had it,I would have my opportunity to meet and know John Alex.
A Wednesday midmorning,its chilly than an Eskimo’s breath,John makes his debut into the office.I know who he is by his breath as he stretches out to greet his new found assistant.He reaks of drink.Fresh drink.Like he had just been summoned from the brewing dens at that precise moment.Sometimes,gossipers tell the truth,but nevertheless, it should be none of their damn business.
Of all the people I had met in the company,John was the most welcoming to me.I could tell that he was happy to have me around.He introduced me to everyone with a cheek to cheek smile.Proudly proclaiming that finally he got an assistant.He bought me lunch that day.Albeit in the vibandas of industrial areas.He was and still is the only one who has been generous enough to buy me 50 shillings worth of lunch. Such true nobility.Yet he is the one they think of as insane.
That John has drinking problem is a fact am not disputing.He loves his bottle but not as much as he loves his job.That‘s the spectre of this man John Alex.The side of him that the gossipers either don’t know of or they if they do,they carefully tack that bit of information away.Just to make the gossip juicier.
I’ve learnt a tone of sh*t from John.He has made me a better professional.Because truth be told,he is more in love with computers than I have ever been.He not only limits himself to computers. He is a mechanical protoje.Anything man made with movable parts and an electrical electrical circuit is John’s haven.He loves the wires.He admires the voltages and amperes of devices.He loves unscrewing and screwing back things.He reaps machines of there decent plastic coverings.Exposing the tricks behind the scenes.Exposing machine’s nakedness.Exposing there brains and hearts of machine.Like a surgeon,he patches them back together perfectly after he has solved its ailments.
Sometimes the machines stresses him out.When he can’t breath life into them,it wears him down.All he can talk about is that stubborn machine.And when he finally decodes it and sort out the issue,he jolts with excitement.More like a lottery winner.He has taught me an invaluable lesson about machines,one that I will take with me to the grave.”Emmanuel” he says,” a machine has been by humans,there is no way its going to eff with me.”
John’s mother went to be with the lord some time last year.He talks so highly of her.He wishes she was still here.Living him on earth for the heavens is something John hasn’t made peace with.Infact, its her departure that seems to be epicenter of the tornado that is John Alex’s life.
Her death broke his father,who in turn decided to resign himself to a hilly village in Kisii,perhaps to mourn her dear departed wife in the silence,tranquillity and solace that the beautiful countryside offers. All his responsibilities as the supreme head of the family was gracefully handed down to John Alex.
Suffice all that to mean,John Alex became the father,mother and brother to his three siblings. Two of whom are hardcore alcoholics.Her sister is married off to a wealthy guy who never trusts her with any cash.Apparently,any coin that finds its way to her palms almost immediately finds its place on the counter top of a bar.Her marriage is shaky.
Johns younger brother is the real pain is the a*s.At 24,he is a lazy big baby who spends most of his time on the couch mindlessly watching television.Smoking weed and knocking off bottles after bottles of liquor with his pile of so called friends.He can’t keep a job because he likes it easy.He can’t be responsible because that’s John’s roles.
At work,John Alex doesnt have an easy time either.The bosses are on his ass.The machines are always breaking down.All these are John Alex’s responsibilities. Overwhelmed by these do’s and the crap he has has to face daily,both at work and his home,I must admit that John Alex finds himself in a hard place.
Alcohol seems to be the only remedy to his tribulations. A dose a day keeps the thoughts away from his overwhelmed mind.So he can’t stay away from it.He has made it his friend.His companion.His courage.His comfort.His mistress.John Alex’s story cannot be summed up in a blog post.In essence this is just but a synopsis his storybook if you may.
When I had a sitdown with Lilian,a luminous soul shining with intelligence and downright sexiness,I asked her what was the best way to help out John Alex.From her deep reservoir of wisdom,she said there is nothing I could personaly do.
This sage of a woman says,most at times alcoholism is just but a symptom of a deeper ailment.It‘s just but a tip of the iceberg.Its just but a mask that covers a deeper problem.True to it,I was wrong.John Alex’s problem ain’t alcoholism.
I was lucky to meet up with him over the weekend.I had a glimpse into his miserable existence. Details of which I am not consented by him to make public.But a stubborn question keeps dancing in my mind,it keeps poking my soul for disclosure. What was John Alex’s life like two years ago?When his mum still graced the face of the earth.When his father was a strong unbroken family man.When he didn’t have to worry about his siblings?Was alcohol still stinging his existence then?
Maybe,just maybe,what we see now is just but an apparition of this man John Alex.He may be a leftover of his former glory.A shell of cocoon of his former self.Maybe,the John Alex we know today is just but a product of a man life has knocked down and stumbled hard on.Maybe John Alex is more stronger than the rest of us who talk behind his back.But just like John Alex,all of us have stories.Some are amusing while others heartbreaking.And this is the story of John Alex the man and John Alex the spectre.