Monday, February 23, 2009

I See Dead People

Each day, you open your daily newspaper, you expect to read about the good, the bad and the ugly. And that is exactly what you get when you open the Obituaries pages.

For some reasons, Kenyans have made it habitual to fill daily newspapers with photos of their beloved ones who have sadly, passed on.

The obsession is baffling. Frankly, why isn’t it just enough to place an announcement without having to attach the mugs of persons, at times pictured smiling or laughing or in graduation regalia?

For most Kenyans, the very first time that they see their photos in the daily press is when they are dead! Ahem…

The obituaries also seem to have a standard opening line: It is with humble acceptance of God’s will that we…

Humble acceptance. As opposed to 'arrogant acceptance'? Perhaps non-acceptance.

But surely, once you use the word ‘we’ it is necessary for people to know who ‘we’ refers to. Is it the newspaper? Is it the relatives? Is it Workland? If you expect those who have placed the announcement to indicate who they are, think again.

Instead, what follows is a long list of all the relatives of the deceased. And not just a list of relatives, the announcement won’t be complete if you do not indicate where all these relatives work.

Is the reason places of work are indicated so that those in denial can identify themselves? Is it so that those persons can use the obituary cutting as evidence to get off work?

Sometimes it is embarrassing when someone passes away and you realize from the obituary that he or she had employed most of their relations in the Department they were working in if they were in Government.

Of course, if someone is not in the motherland, it is absolutely necessary to inform everybody where they are. So brackets are placed after the names with clear indications which country that person is residing. Come on.

And then sometimes you read that 'the body will leave the mortuary'. Leave? You can think a Lazarus will happen. No. The cadaver will be removed, surely, without being willing.

If you are thinking that is the last time your mug appears in the press, please just don’t die because there is more. An appreciation message comes a few days after your burial.

So you may be thinking, ‘Why don’t these folks buy ‘Thank You’ cards and write to those that assisted them during the mourning period. Or send text messages to them at a cheaper cost. No way! We have to show that the funeral was graced by some big shot or political heavyweight. And advertise that!

Now, I know that the leading newspaper circulation could be 250,000 people per day. Living people. So how come, one freaking year later, we are putting up anniversary messages and addressing the dead person.

You are dearly missed!’

Not even, ‘We, being his wife and children and his creditors, dearly miss him!’

As the First Lady said whilst lambasting Prof. Saitoti for holding séances, dead people cannot be taught a lesson. Similarly, dead people do not read newspapers. Or go online to read the transitions messages.

We might not realize this, but it may be cost effective to simply put an announcement in the classified pages and use the rest of the funds we have been wasting on other things that we have also been wasting our moneys on.

Or if we must really do it, let us have fun whilst at it. After all, an anagram of 'funeral' is 'real fun'. Like saying:

Dad isn't John Darwin. He has not faked his own death. He really really passed away. Gave up his ghost. Reached his sell by date. Thankfully, not by the death penalty. Or that global warming that Al Gore keeps yapping about.

He leaves behind an unmade bed, unwashed utensils, a Giorgio Armani suit and of course, a will.

Following this termination, we intend to bury him. Not to make sure... come on. The interment shall be at room temperature because Dad was so hot. Or at least mum thinks so. There will be a last dance (which he won't participate in, LOL!). We are dead serious, pardon the pun, but he will take up residence at Lang'ata Cemetery without having to worry about rent.

The family of Whispers have fun doing it and even use a caricature of this true Kenyan legend. Now such are obituary messages that I can read.

* with deepest apologies to actual persons depicted above simply for illustration purposes. This blog is in loving memory of a loved one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bertil Live

Thanks Sydney. I am not used to holding a microphone in this manner or indeed speaking to a microphone that doesn’t have some three initials such as NTV, KTN, WTF.

WTF is of course the initials of the new TV station that only has shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday hence the WTF initials. Or since we have had a wedding, it could be in reference to what weddings are all about: Welcome To Family.

For those of you watching at home, this show is rated 18. Wait, Sydney, this is not LIVE? Damn... I thought I was in the league of Churchill. Oh that isn’t LIVE either.

So Martin and Liz got married today. At about 1.17pm they were declared man and wife. No need for DNA tests. I wish this had been like the inauguration of our cousin Obama Jr. when we could say the marriage took effect from noon.

I liked the fact that they chose not to use the bridal march Here Comes The Bride and went for From This Moment instead. I have never understood why people would sing that during the day, when we all know it should only be sang at night. In their wedding night suite. After all, only the two of them should be able to tell when the bride comes.

I spoke to the couple. They went for counseling. Don’t you just love the way the catechist assumes that all of us are virgins? Come on. It’s just as worse as calling the Kenyan Rugby team ‘The Virgin Boys’. So our dear couple played along. You both deserve the Oscar – a week too soon.

I frankly have no idea about Marto, but studies have shown that most boys in Kenya lose their virginity to mboches. I think when this study was made public, a host of girls didn’t mind turning Beyonce’s song to ‘If I Were A Mboch!’ Dee Jay please…

If I Were a Mboch… even just for a day…
I would roll into bed in the morning..
And throw in whom I wanted …
and go doing it with the guys.
And chase after boys… 

Speaking of whats-her-name.. yes.. Beyonce… any Single Ladies in the house? No, no Liz, you can’t raise your hand anymore. This marriage thing sure takes some time to get used to.

Single Ladies, this is where you are getting it wrong. Beyonce doesn’t point at her hands and say: If You Liked Me You Should Have Put Handcuffs On Me. Listen to the words…

Hopefully soon Beyonce will release another song called Pregnant Ladies. 

If you liked it then you should have put a thing on it
Don't be mad when you say you have to baby sit… 

So I was asked to give words of advice to the couple. No, don’t laugh. That’s not a joke. I am so hurt.

Those of you who don’t know, I am a divorce lawyer. No one is paying me for being up here, so I may as well slot in that commercial break. Three things I can mention about marriages in Kenya. According to the law, the doors to a wedding ceremony have to be open. The wedding has to be before 6pm. And no.. weddings are not regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

So irrespective of the result for Martin today, this wasn’t a Ponyoka Na Liz contest.

I used to have a teacher who would start a word and ask us to finish. It is a Kenyan thing. You ask for directions and someone tells you ‘Enda hivi, ukifika hapo kwa nyumba nyekundu, piga ko___?’ And you have to say ‘Kona’. I know someone who said ‘Kofi’ when presented with that ‘Ko___?’ question. Most teachers preferred someone not repeating the fist bit of the hint word so you just complete the word.

Just like Liz completes Martin.

So, knowing my qualifications, I want us to offer this advise to the couple jointly.

For the men here, now that Martin is married, he will be going home to find ugali na su____?

KUMA? Guys… behave. You are such perverts. I ask you to tell Martin what he will find and that is all you think about? You can’t shout that. Langi Langi is a respectable premise. If cops here you shouting KUMA what will they think we are doing here. Jeez.

Ladies only now. By now you know that a marriage is not valid until it is consummated. So to Liz and Martin we say that you must consu_____?

MATE? You ladies are just as perverted as the guys. Your advise is ‘mate?’

I give up. Let me do this advice thing on my own. After all, the preacher said in church that opinions are like (beep)holes. Every one has one. I know, I know.. he didn’t use the exact words. But that was the message.

During the Counseling Classes I bet you Liz asked “How many time a week?” My opinion is twice is nice. But if you are feeling philanthropic and sufficiently charitable to our boy, then you can make it five times a week.

I have read that nowadays, men are the ones who are telling their wives that they are not in the mood. Martin pliz. I beg you. Headache or whatever… you have to when you are required. Frankly, I miss those days when women were women and men were … animals.

You did well today. I see you even crammed the vows. Those of you who don’t know, the couple overruled me when I suggested we call the marriage vows ‘The Audacity of Hope’.

Truth is, we hoped for a good day. We had a great day! It was always going to be great day from the day he proposed to her. Sorry.. but I have to say this. I am actually the one who proposed to her. Martin asked me since I am the wordy wordy one to ask her to marry him. And I went on bended knee and asked her: WILL … YOU …. MARRY… HIM?

Yes, so romantic. And this marriage will succeed. Yes, Liz.. you will succeed. Oh, and that is two words actually. ‘Suck’ and ‘seed’.

Marriage oh marriage. So blissful. A friend of the couple said he had no idea he will feel so trapped. His life was completely taken over. He couldn’t use the kitchen because the mboch was ever there. He couldn’t walk to get the daily newspaper in the morning coz he found it already on the table. What to do? He got man best friend. A dog, just so he could spend time with it and feed it. He fed it only once. The next day, he found the dog was being fed.

Martin wont make the same mistake. After all, Liz, not a dog, is his best friend.

Is my time up? Sydney. OK.. I would like to finally thank all those who made this day succeed (and that is one word). The Wedding Committee, you guys were great. I for one am happy we no longer have to go back to Regional for our meetings. I never saw the fire exits. Actually all I saw was that sign that states ‘IN CASE OF FIRE, SHOUT FIRE!’

Works as efficiently as the sign that says: IN CASE OF FIRE, SING.. THE ROOF! THE ROOF! THE ROOF IS ON FIRE!

To Liz and Martin. Whose only mistake was to invite me to do this skit. May you live and love each other as you have always done.