The Travails of the Fortunate: Maize Story

So I was eating beans and garri (B&G) one day. I was just ingesting one spoonful of the ordinary mixture after the other while I sent out or reply to tweets about how many haters I got and how fast their number was increasing daily. Well, see, I am safe bcos I never twitpic my meals, NEVER. So my haters never know what I eat. Smart, eh?
Then something caught my attention in the spoonful navigating to my mouth. I immediately pulled back to investigate. And behold, against the drab colors and texture of my B&G was standing a lone shiny ✨ yellow grain of maize! Boy was I excited! It perched elegantly on the north side of the heap on the spoon like an MTN mast. What was the odds of me getting the single maize 🌽 from the whole pot, the whole pot! Aren’t I the thoroughly lucky one?
Congratulating myself, I gingerly dumped the whole load in my mouth and carefully chewed, waiting for the kingly taste of the maize to kick in at any moment and rejuvenate my taste buds.
But nothing happened. I chewed and chewed, reluctant to swallow. Yet I only tasted B&G. I frantically moved the whole thang from one corner of my mouth to the other, making sure my teeth crushed repeatedly. Yet no maize.
I began to contemplate. The boys in my hood are among the sharpest things ever to wear jeans 👖. They can snatch ur phone battery 🔋 while you receive a phone call and you won’t even know. They can lift a girl’s makeup off her face and she will still go and meet her boyfriend thinking she is still beautiful. They even fap tweets you are composing in your brain, packing everything you learnt in primary school along just to rub salt in the wound.
Could they’ve pulled this stunt on my beloved little grain of shiny yellow maize before the poor thing entered the safety of my mouth? I don’t trust those boys with even my trash.
I was looking around to confirm them ruthless boys were not involved when I spotted my precious grain. The maize was resting at one of the legs of my stood. Miracles still happen yo, it had sustained no damage at all! No dent no nothing! It was like a dude dropping from the 15th floor of a building and immediately runs off to catch a BRT bus! Stuff straight off Jackie Chan movies!
You’ve probably concluded I was going to retrieve the maize and eat it. Well, yes, I was. Way I saw it, the maize belonged to me for ending up in my plate and a little accident didn’t change that fact. And don’t even mention contamination. It doesn’t move me one bit. I’ve seen men cleaning gutters, bare hands and all. If their immunity can deal with all that contamination, mine can block anything the poor grain picks up. And I ain’t self conscious at all. Why should I be? Food on the floor is still food.
All I wanted was pick up my grain and pop it in my mouth and crush it and pleasure my taste organs. But of course, this is life, you know. Something just have to come up and screw up things.
That thing was my dog, Bingo. The idiot wandered in and headed for the exact leg of the stood where my maize was. The stood had three other legs but Bingo chose that very one. Alarms went off in my head but before I could scare Bingo away, it scooped up my grain and swallowed it! Just like that!
Bingo looked at my face and bolted for the door to escape my wrath. Which was wise of it because I might’ve strangled it. Was I pained! The silly dog I bought with my pocket money in secondary school competed with me! And won! Where’s the respect and loyalty? Where?
I never forgave Bingo. Each time I saw it, I saw the illicit nutrient from my grain of maize making its bones and teeth stronger. I ain’t vindictive but I just couldn’t bear it. I sold Bingo to my Calabar neighbor the next day and bought myself a Nokia double sim phone with the money.

Lawma Food Bag Joke

I remember when I changed hostel room in school. While moving my stuff, I met my roommates who were also moving their things in. One of them was storing away his food stuffs. But he was using funny looking nylon bags to hold them. Me being myself, I couldn’t pass up a chance to make mischief.

So I asked “Do you live in Lagos?”

He said no, he actually lived in Ibadan.

“Do you have family living in Lagos?” I asked again casually.

He said yes of course. He said it like who didn’t? He went on to explain he spent most of the last holiday with an aunt in Lagos. I smiled, knowing where I was going. He must think I was attempting to get to know him.

I prompted again “Does she work with LAWMA?”

That took him aback. He didn’t know what LAWMA was. But he knew his aunt didn’t work for LAWMA. He said she worked in a bank.

Now here was the critical part. I said nothing, hoping he would ask why I had asked.
To my relief, he did and I replied coolly “Nothing. Just that those bags of yours remind me of LAWMA bags”

My poor roommate didn’t get it but another roommate who had been toying with his laptop while listening did. He was from Lagos and he knew LAWMA and their bags. He burst out laughing, rolling from his bed to the floor. The laughingstock was confused at first but then realised he was the butt of a joke he didn’t understand. Unfortunately, the only other roommate in the room was also from Ibadan.
The roommate from Lagos eventually calmed down enough to explain that I had implied he was storing his food in LAWMA refuse bags. The other roommate burst out in his own laughter.
I quickly stepped out of my new room to escape the latest wrath my mouth had caused me. I will now leave you to guess the roommate I never got along with.

Beauty in the Ghetto

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Yes, ghetto beauty pageants do exist. I saw the poster of one today. Believe me, I was in a moving bus but I saw it nevertheless.

The prizes push the known boundaries of wackiness. The most beautiful damsel carts away a whopping generating set! Brand new yellow Summec generator! Just imagine the possibilities if the beauty queen is a hairdresser; power problems solved! Neat!

Imagine you are enjoying the ministrations of the nimble fingers of your hairdresser in your hair. Then you become conscious of the noise of the generator powering the fan blowing cool air at you. For some strange reason (it’s not your nature to nose in other people business), you ask about how she came about the machine. And your hairdresser proudly says it is the prize of the latest beauty contest she squeezed into her busy schedule. You take a careful look at her in the mirror. Now tell me, please, which fact is stranger: the prize or that she has  potentials you are unaware of?

The first runner up, for being careless to come to the world with beauty inferior to that of the first place contestant will have to settle for…no, not a blender, not a vulcanizing machine, not a grand father clock…just wait for it…an iPad! Yes, an Apple tablet! I wonder if poor Jobs ever imagined his invention would be used to reward comeliness. I’ll let you imagine the lifestyle of who the second prize suits.

And sorry, I can’t remember the third prize and it’s a shame because it is going to be another mouth-watering, form-grabbing hot stuff.

Speaking of forms, any beauty hopeful pays two  thousand naira to get in, the poster says. Please don’t criticize me for my selective memory. Details escape the best of us sometimes. The cost of the form even happened to be the most prominent thing in the poster, having the largest and most colorful font.

What won’t I give to see a cross-section of the contestants? I hope you aren’t imagining it would be like that in the pictures above and below.

Perhaps, I should just stop this sarcasm and focus on the positives instead. Who knows, I might be mocking the making of a future World Queen. Beauty and brains don’t discriminate neighborhoods, or you have evidence it does? I don’t think Agbani grew up in mansions.

What is even in a prize? Is it not winning that matters? Is exposure not the main thing? Come to think of it, everybody has an inalienable right to showcase their beauty. It is debatable though, whether the showcasing is worthy of a television broadcast.

Tips for Taking Care of your Phone

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If you own a smartphone, chances are that you have parted with some considerable amount of money. It’s not my desire to do a refund or reimburse you, what I want to do is help you with tips to make sure your investment remains in a good condition. This is a list of do’s and don’ts brought to you by me.

1. Get a durable phone to start with. Delicate models may be chic and classy but you don’t want to live in fear of cracking your screen or damaging your charging port by simply putting it in your pocket. Or do you?

2. If you must buy a delicate phone, then be ready to slap a protective case on it. The alluring aesthetic will most likely be lost so why buy a delicate phone then?

3. Handle your phone with care. Instead of tossing it on the table and chipping off a corner, gently put it down. Don’t throw it to a friend, he might not catch it, he is not perfect. Don’t put your phone in your back pocket if you won’t remember to remove it before sitting down. When the phone hangs or a call refuses to go through, don’t take out your frustration on the poor thing. It’s advisable to slap the nearest person to you, instead of hitting the phone or flinging it away. Shebi you know that last one was a joke? But you get the point.

4. Protect your phone screen and camera cover from scratches by not putting the phone with sharp-edged objects like keys, coins and biros. You might have to dedicate a whole pocket or compartment in your handbag. It’s not ridiculous, you are only protecting your asset. Sand is another enemy of your smartphone. It does things you don’t like to your screen. The use of screen guards is highly encouraged.

5. Keep your phone away from liquids, especially if it’s touchscreen. Phones and beer make horrible companions. Even phones that are advertised as water resistant should not be dipped in water or anointed with oil except you are attempting to prove the manufacturer wrong. Don’t clean with liquids, it does more harm than good.

6. Children and smartphones, a combination that has brought ‘had I known’ to many adults. If they don’t mutilate the hardware by dropping it in their innocence, they might delete important messages, emails and contacts. Or call your contacts. The good thing is you can train the children you know to appreciate that your own phone is not a toy, even if other adults indulge them. There are plenty of ways to entertain kids apart from handing them your pricey smartphone.

7. Avoiding charging your phone all the time. Doing so affects the battery in a negative way.

8. Avoid exposing your phone to extreme temperatures. E.g. placing it near the stove while frying turkey or in front of the heat vent of your laptop.

follow me on Twitter: @davidtayos for more tips

Tips for Teaching Corpers

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Not many of you should become teachers. So says the bible (part of James 3:1). NYSC has a different idea, though. (Just joking)

Most Corpers will teach in schools. That’s even more probable in this era where primary schools can expect to get Corpers. As such, you will likely deal with children, a special set of individuals. Some of your students will be stubborn, abusive, dull, ungrateful, etc. How can you cope with all these? Below are tips to help you.

NOTE: Not all your students will exhibit the traits above.

1. Don’t look down on any of your students, whether poor, dull or local. Remember, at least, one of the presidents to ever rule this country had no shoes. Don’t show favoritism. Treat each of them with courtesy. Regard them as your own siblings.

2. Be friendly to your students and let them know they can approach you for legitimate assistance. Show empathy, some of the children are passing through alot because of their surroundings: poverty, malnutrition, diseases, etc.

3. Cover everything in the curriculum. Don’t shortchange your students. Remember you are contributing to their future.

4. It is smart to let local teachers handle corporal punishment (if applicable). As a Corper, I was advised by some local staff to avoid caning students. Cultism was rampant in the community and the boys were always looking for a victim to prove their wicked prowess. Remember you are more or less a foreigner, quite vulnerable. But don’t worry, every school has the caning specialist that derives joy from beating students. Enlist his or her help.

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5. As to enforcing discipline, beating is not the only form of punishment, except you are a sadist.

6. The notion that African children will not comply with anything until they are beaten is NOT true. I used to be an African child, so I know this.

7. Don’t give up on the dull ones. Your persistence maybe the motivation they need to make something useful of themselves.

8. If it appears you are not seeing positive results for your labor, don’t torment yourself. Student performance is not necessarily an indicator of your abilities as a teacher. And you are probably not trained for teaching.

9. It’s not everything your students say that you take personal. Some things can be overlooked with dignity. You know you are dealing with kids anyway. They are kids, not mini-adults. Learn to deflect  or even ignore some misbehavior.

10. Set reasonable limits in your interaction with your students. Too much familiarity breeds contempt. If you become the joking, playful Corper, you might not be able to command the respect or attention that a teacher needs to run a class. Dating one of them is one of the dumbest things you can do during your service year.

11. Show personal interest in your students but don’t attempt to run their lives. Remember you are in reality only passing by. Let their parents do so and offer assistance if possible.

12. Don’t belittle fellow Corpers in the presence of your students.

13. Lastly, don’t destroy the reputation of NYSC before leaving your PPA so as not to cause problems for future Corpers.

ANOTHER NOTE: NYSC has a guide for teaching Corpers. You will likely get a copy in camp. Try to read it.

follow me on Twitter: @davidtayos for more tips

Tips for Staying Safe on Social Networks

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The leading social networks are great places to hang out. You can relax, have fun, meet people, and even learn. But you have one major responsibility:

Protect yourself. If you don’t, who will? Me?

It is no news that criminal-minded people use social networks too, even to further their wicked interests.

Below are do’s and don’t’s for a social network adventure that doesn’t end in regret:

PRIVACY

1. You may wish to be known as a down to earth person, but it’s not everything about you that should be put online.

2. Note that the levels of privacy available differ from one social network to another. Eg, on Twitter, just about anybody can mention or retweet you, unless people you block.

3. The default privacy level is usually no privacy at all, so go through the privacy settings to see what works for you.

4. Avoiding asking for advice on personal issues. If you must, try disguising. Say a friend needs advice. This might not fool everybody though.

5. Do not talk about a friend’s personal stuff that you know about: some of us are smart and jobless enough to take time to work out who you are talking about even if you do not mention names.

6. Don’t publicize misunderstandings between you and your partner or friend, etc. It wrecks relationships.

7. Some social networks don’t actually delete pictures even when you click the delete button. The pictures just become inaccessible to you.

8. Careful about uploading a friend’s photo. It might be funny to you but career ruining to your friend.

SECURITY/SAFETY

1. God blessed your hustle, you made some money and you tweeted ‘money making mode activated’. Even if robbers don’t trace you, you might have alerted ‘friends’ to apply for loans and gifts.

2. If the money in question is really much, don’t be surprised if armed robbers actually trace you out and separate you from your money.

3. Avoid mentioning your location or putting up your phone numbers and address. Tweets go viral.

4. Hooking up with a complete stranger met on a social network is like walking onto a battlefield blindfolded. You need a jogging partner tomorrow and you put a notice on Tweeter?

5. Don’t turn kids loose on social networks. They need to be monitored, even on networks designed for kids.

REPUTATION.

1. I often come across rant tweets targeted at firms like MTN, Guinness, etc. Yet some of the individuals behind the tweets are unemployed. If MTN were to check your time line, would you still be employable to them? Perhaps that’s when you regret that rash tweet in the moment of anger when you couldn’t load a recharge card.

2. Same goes for display pictures. The pictures go where you can’t reach personally. What will your Avi say about you?

3. Social networks are like your neighborhood. You could be known as the next-door gentleman, pervert, idiot, rude girl, pesky individual, etc. People might even decide to avoid you, based on how you present yourself. There are some ‘volatile’ Twitter handles that I personally give a wide berth. And don’t ask me to mention names because I won’t.

TIME

1. The wish of social networks is for you to spend all your time with them. You decide whether to make that wish come true or not.

2. Relax, you don’t have to reply to every tweet or status update immediately, except you are @Gidi_Traffic.

3. Why attempt a 24-7 presence on social networks? Remember you are supposed to have a life outside Facebook or 2go, even if it’s boring. Jobs, studies, family, religion, exercise, etc deserve time.

Miscellaneous

1. If you commit gbagaun or typo and it is pointed out to you, graciously note it and move on. It doesn’t have to end in a twitfyt.

2. Twitfyt is not the only exciting thing on Tweeter.

3. If you are sick, go see a real doctor. Asking for prescription on social networks will most likely get you contradicting recommendations or trial and error prescriptions.

4. Don’t tweet while crossing the road, except you are tweeting ‘dying tinz’

5. Careful of apps that update on your behalf. Eg, your Now Playing List or Horoscope. Remember such automatic posts appear on your ‘contact’s’ time line and such things quickly get boring and annoying. What’s fascinating about the music a former classmate chooses to listen to? Or the horoscope of a neighbor’s firstborn?

6. Careful with tweets that ask you to retweet to gain followers. It doesn’t always work out well. Imagine ending up with 500 Japanese followers when you can’t understand a single word in Japanese.

7. Avoid ‘yabbing’ a celeb. Some celebs have a fanatically loyal fan base that can make social life unbearable for you if you are perceived to have slighted their idol. Some would even take it beyond social networks into real life. There are other people to diss, if you must.

8. Username. Some people don’t give thought to choosing their usernames. But consider your twitter username; twenty years from now, will you still be proud of it? If you become a governor, will your username still be appropriate? Can you even put it on your CV right now? The username might look hot or cool to you but it can stamp you as a frisky youth for a long time.

9. Don’t lie in your bio. Strange as it may seem, some people do read bios and if there are discrepancies they will know. You could just leave it blank, instead of saying you live in the UK and yet cursing PHCN everyday.

10. Avoid using social networks to communicate official business within your organization. Use company emails instead of Facebook walls or Tweeter timelines.

11. Don’t spread rumors. You could be ruining someone’s life. What you can’t confirm, don’t spread.

For more useful tips, follow me on Twitter: @davidtayos

Tips For Buying A Good Phone

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Just like taxes, getting new phones is inevitable these days. It may not be a life or death decision but buying a good phone requires some effort. Here are tips to help you decide before handing your money over:

What you need.

You have the money but do you really need a smartphone or even a new phone? If you don’t need your email on the move, don’t care for music, never take pictures, don’t play games, etc, you may not need a smartphone at all. A feature phone should do. If your current phone still works, meets your needs and the manufacturer has not stopped supporting it, then continue to use it. You don’t really need a new phone. You might only have to replace the casing if it’s scratched and has started showing it’s age.

Meanwhile, some phones have strong points, e.g. camera, speaker, antenna, messaging, making you appear cool and rich, screen, social networking, long battery life, etc. Your need determines what you go for. I like taking pictures so I got a phone acclaimed for it’s camera technology.

Which Operating System (OS) Or Brand (Hardware)?

The truth is no OS is significantly better than the rest, regardless of what fanboys/girls say. They all continue to outdo one another. In the end, you use what works for you, your personal preference. Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc each have their own limitations but a reasonable user experience can be obtained within these limits.

Hardware is where some phones distinguish themselves. Some are known to be elegant but delicate and pricey. Some are sturdy and reliable but tend to be overweight. Others are cheap but plastic and flimsy. I can mention names but why start fans war? You are responsible for what you buy.

Your circumstances

Your environment influence your purchases, including phones. For example, a mother with young and active children will need a durable phone that can survive dropping in water, hurling, even tasting and chewing. Delicate phones may not work. Or if your work requires you put your hands in liquid, touch screen phones may not work. Big phones are not advisable in areas when crime rate is on the high side. And so on.

Used Vs New Phones

Phones are cheaper when bought as used than new. But used phones usually come with headaches: parts stop working after a while, no warranty (I have invoked warranty so I know what it means), embarrassment when you have to admit to people that your phone is used, etc. I have seen used BlackBerry phones that can’t ping in the dark….ok, it’s a joke but you get the point.

Price

What can we say here? There are cheap phones, expensive phones and those in between. It’s your money so buy what you want. But don’t try to oppress me with your purchasing power.

Who To Approach For Advice

Don’t rely completely on online reviews. Some reviewers are simply biased, perhaps they get paid by some manufacturers. Try and get info from people that use the phone or brand you are interested in. I only pray you don’t fall into the hands of a fanboy/girl though.

Keypad Vs Touch-screen

Keypads are good for fast typing (so say some people), feel more phone-like and contribute to a good grip. Touch-screens have larger screen real estate and thus make browsing and watching videos more interesting. Touch-screens also usually have screen auto rotate that makes games more immersive. Low quality Touch-screens may collect fingerprints and smudges though.

 

Miscellaneous

1. There is no feminine or masculine phone, don’t mind what adverts say.

2. Try and buy slightly older phone models, they are cheaper. E.g. the prize of Samsung Galaxy S3 (SGS3) will drop when SGS4 enters the market, yet SGS3 is a solid phone.

4. Establish a buying pattern, e.g. change your phone every two years rather than jumping on the latest.

5. Buy from reputable stores. You might have to replace a defective unit. Roadside merchants are not keen on doing this.

6. Don’t get carried away by high specs sheet like camera mega pixels, RAM, processor speed, etc. Some phones perform very well on less horsepower than their competition.

7. Non removable batteries are not necessarily deal breakers. Portable and trendy external batteries are easily available, just ask around.

8. Some models have killer features that you probably won’t use twice but you will definitely pay for. They are gimmicks. For example, you are not a geologist but your phone has thermometer and hydrometer, other than amaze friends, what will you use them for?

9. If you buy common brands, support and accessories will be more available.

10. Buy phones with longer battery lives. Nigerians know why.

11. No matter the type of phone, limit phone use when driving or communicating face to face. For instance pinging while talking with your boss even though new may not be good for your career.

For more tips, follow me on Twitter: @davidtayos

Got any question/suggestion/objection? Kindly drop it as a comment below.