It’s cold everywhere as I write this. This blog post has nothing to do with the cold… I’m just saying it because this level of cold deserves mentioning at every opportunity. It is so cold… There is a mad man who walks over the footbridge at Riara University. He just walks from one end to the other. For two days he has not been there. Do you have any idea how cold it must be for someone who can walk naked at night to decide it’s too cold to be mad? It’s cold. Now to my post today.
I’ve been a disappointment for the longest time. It’s what keeps me alive. While people’s lives are typically run by power generators (ICU machines) and the pulmonary system, my life has for the longest time been operating exclusively from the sighs of disappointed people. Usually I meet one or two people who thought I would be a very promising somebody in future (Of course without my permission they just decided to put all their hopes in me), then they tell me how I disappointed them. I can’t tell why but my heart lightens up at that statement. And you know that thing they say about laughing and how it adds to your number of days (Tell me, what happens when you die with a smile on your face… Does it count? Can you go to heaven and activate that smile like a coupon?). For a few years I toyed around with the idea that I would hit 23, go to the gym and be an underwear model. Not to brag on that, but I’m really good at gaining weight. My goal in life is to find a situation where that’s actually useful. So I grew a belly and shoved that dream. I may have shared it with a few friends who thought I had a ‘Poster-Boy’ face, and could be the reason the whole world thinks I’m a disappointment. What if you knew my favorite search phrase is? You’d hate me. I can’t say much, but I will only let you know it has something to do with men not putting on underwear (Speaking of which Isn’t it weird how commando, the word for a soldier trained in doing ambushes and also a name for one of the most guerilla like blockbusters, now also means going without underwear? I don’t see the connection. Letting your boys hang loose is nothing like going to battle).
Now, this disappointment has spread to work. As with most near-death experiences, it involves a white collar job in Nairobi. A few months back I employed an intern. The concern here is that the words ‘employ’ and ‘I’ fall in the same sentence. I vowed to myself that the moment I would be in a position to determine another person’s schedule, I would have them join me in criticizing other employees’ hairlines as part of their job description. Nevertheless, my intern is a 21 year old Kenyatta University student who puts on Khaki pants that always let you see his socks. He wears happy socks. Why are they called happy socks? If it has nothing to do with how it lights up my face as I ridicule his poor taste of spotted socks then it fails the test (You can’t have socks that have more yellow spots than orange spots, and that’s an argument applicable in court). He comes from the generation that started calling women ‘bae’. I know every generation thinks the next generation is the worst one ever. This time it’s true. The proof is everywhere. Exhibits is “dab,” Exhibit B is “bruh,” and C is the cucumber emoji that right now does not mean anything close to a fruit or a plant for that matter. Exhibit D is Justin Bieber and happy socks.
So this kid could have read my name in some dailies somewhere and had a lot of respect for me. But he put on happy socks and suspenders, so as a responsible older mentor, I took it upon myself to introduce him to the sweet elixir of poor judgment. There is joy in knowing you can spend 4 hours out of the 8 working hours watching Youtube videos of why Spongebob won’t get a wife… But it’s even better when you know someone else in the same office is watching it with you. Back to the kid… He said he’s called Darrel Kimani. First of all, you can’t have that name in an office setting. While the rest of us struggle with being called John, James, Meshack and Abner, you can’t pull a Darrel on us. Nope. I’ll call him Kimani, and it has nothing to do with me wanting to feel better about my ‘John’ name (Sometimes I think my folks were just tired, and the hospital bill was piling up so to save time, the simplest name in John had to be thrown at me. Now I have to live with their fear of bills). So Kimani expected me to show him the skills, throw him in the thick of writing and make him a mini me. That was his plan all along. He never asked me about mine, which in a Capitalist society where the boss decides what happens, was going to be the Gospel. I know this because I have seen people paid hefty millions for killing big companies. If you’re a CEO and instead of increasing the stock price you drive a multibillion-shilling corporate into 26 billion shilling losses, you can expect a proper bonus. Ruining companies takes skill, and corporations are willing to pay a premium to retain it. Look at Kenya airways.
We have been with this kid for three months. It looked like two weeks for me. Mostly because we spent most of the time sending him to fetch mugs from the kitchen cabinet and all the internish things interns do. In fact the only time I noticed he was an intern was during the company’s quarterly party where he had a little too much whiskey and lit his cigarette using the boss’ cigarette. Yaani, the boy walked, pulled a cigarette out of the MD’s mouth, lit his, and pushed the damn cancer stick back to the boss’ mouth. I was like ‘where has this guy been all along’… That was last week, when he had a week left to his internship. I gave him a routine paper where he was supposed to fill out his experience. Under the part where he was supposed to rate me, the kid wrote ‘Average’. He expected sausages and pizza along with inspiring thirty minute speeches every morning, but instead got a guy who doesn’t believe in charity… Charity is just an excuse. It’s the last-ditch justification people give when they’re about to do something that would otherwise result in being disowned by those they love. Quick example, this guy who cycled from Kenya to sijui wapi in Africa… Whose mother in this Nairobi would let them do that? Other than the rich mothers who can fund you, our normal mothers would take you to church. I know internships in blue chip firms look good on TV dramas. They appeal to these kids because the bosses in them treat their interns with respect and decency. These qualities exist today, but only under controlled conditions in a laboratory setting.
So I am writing this after writing his recommendation. There are around five sentences of praise and one phrase to close it with… I’ve just written “needs more exposure and training”. That will mess up his career for around three years. He can’t give that recommendation anywhere. You don’t rate me as average and expect me to give you crayons. I’m a disappointment, but that is what keeps me alive.
All in a day’s work.
#Workflow people… #Workflow…
For this paragraph, I’m going to try and speak something sensible for once…
Humor offers instant gratification; there is a sudden weird thrill when you see the faces people make when weightlifting that you wouldn’t while listening to company numbers at the AGM. Online humor is riskier than stand-up or TV sketch comedy, and rewarded proportionally, because it has no scaffolding: no performance cues, laugh track, visual framing, or sympathetic buzz of the club to aid the gag. You don’t watch it like you would watch Churchill Show or some Comedy Central performance. It’s naked, daring you not to laugh. Because then if you’re communicating to an audience that is willing to read your 1000 words to get the funny part, you realize it’s a sober audience. The stakes are not exactly similar to bank rates, but a badly landed joke can lead to backlash or social quarantine. You become a social pariah immediately. And Kenyans mostly know when you’re recycling jokes. So you’ve read this blog, for a while. And we thank you for it… But we ask for something in return. We have been nominated for OLX Social Media Awards 2016 under the New Blogger category. Vote for us by sending 4B to 21195 as a text message. You can vote as many times as you like the blog. We will forever be indebted to you.