Happy new month!!!
I was stuck in the traffic one hot afternoon at Mushin area of Lagos when I heard two bus conductors arguing. The bus conductors looked very fierce albeit different in size. One was burly with some of his teeth missing from brawls with several street urchins just like him. He had hair that had turned blonde from accumulation of sweat escaping from his armpit and scars of different sizes and shapes could be seen all over his bare chest and arms. The other was very skinny with a very scary face.
Where he wasn’t missing any tooth, his teeth and tongue were brown from smoking too much marijuana. His lips were very big and his eyes were red from the obvious excess intake of weed. His hair was shaggy and his beards were covered with dust. Except for his tiny stature, that conductor looked very fierce; like a wounded lioness and was ugly too. I was not sure what prompted their argument, I must have been drawn to them by the noise they were making.
“Who you think say you be wey make you feel say you fit open your mouth anyhow? You no sabi who I be? I be done for hia o. I no fit argue with you sef, bloody “illicerate” like you”, the skinny conductor shouted at the burly one, giving him a look that was heated enough to melt ice.
The gigantic conductor laughed and gave the skinny other a light shove. Who you dey call that one? Me sef go school o. If you sabi book wella, oya spell book make I hear, the conductor bellowed.
“Me! Make I spell book? You don downgrade me ooo”, the slim, fierce looking conductor retorted, hitting his hand on his head in papa ajasco style.
“Oya, spell am na. Shebi na me be “illicerate”, spell am joor”
“Book abi? B-U-K”
The big conductor laughed and poked him on the chest.
“God save you. I think say you no go sabi am ni”
I could not believe my ears. I stared at them for a while and shook my head. “Wow”, I muttered to myself, “who is now the illiterate?”
I was still replaying that event in my head and managing to stifle a giggle when my eldest son rushed to me dumping his school bag and food basket beside me. At 7, my son was hyperactive. He would come home with new stories about what happened in school and he wouldn’t allow you to breathe till he was done telling his tale.
“Daddy, daddy, daddy”
“Yes, baby. What is it?”
“Daddy, I’m a big boy. TT is the baby”, he said rolling his eyes. He did not even allow me to comment before he continued with whatever he was going to tell me.
“Daddy, today in school was funny. Adamu does not know anything”, he said in between giggles. As he narrated the story to me, I could not hold the bottled up laughter anymore. My son laughed harder when he saw me laughing that hard. If only he knew I had a similar experience myself earlier that day.
It happened that the teacher had taken turn in asking students to spell three letter words. She had started by asking a boy to spell rat and had spelt it correctly. The teacher had asked the students to clap for him in the traditional way: kpa kpa kpapapa kpa.
She asked another girl to spell cat which she spelt correctly too. The students applauded the girl in the traditional way too
Finally, it was Adamu’s turn, and the teacher asked Adamu to spell cow. Adamu had burst out in tears accusing the teacher of being wicked. Adamu asked the teacher how she would ask him to spell cow while others spelt small animals. Adamu went further to blame the teacher’s attitude on the fact that she knew his father had just bought some cows and the teacher was teasing him. The whole class was taken aback especially since Adamu was very quiet in class.
The teacher, flummoxed, replied, “Please, which animal will you like to spell then? He replied mosquito!
The teacher then asked him to spell mosquito.
He began with so much confidence and a very huge smile. He bobbed his head up and down as he spelt in the usual singsong manner accustomed with primary school children; M O S K I T O.
The whole class had burst out in laughter and my son told me that the teacher laughed so hard till she cried. They all laughed till the end of the class.
Adamu had gullibly thought “cow” was a big word to spell because of the size of the animal and “moskito” a small word to spell because of the size of the insect.
Can you imagine?! Lmao…..
I’m @newnaija on twitter
Tomorrow, wealth series will continue with Taiwo Marayesa