Thursday, 17 April 2014


Picture a fish-monger in a marketplace full of raw fish, whether fresh or rotten? Do you smell the odor? Worse still, they go through their duties cutting through the intestines without a slight care of the scent emanating from this delicacy. Sometimes, I wonder whether those who maraud as fish-eaters really understand the procedure to getting it on the table. Even after eating their whole tilapia and licking their fingers all through, finally realize their fingers are smelly. Come on, a fish-monger has done the dirty work, why are you so hysterical. Anyway it’s simple, they are in the business of SELLING FISH, while you, you eating that fish, you are SELFISH. Indeed, this is proven beyond reasonable doubt, never been to the lake but complain when you see the price of tilapia on the menu. Never bisected a fish, but still complain when the tail is missing.

Sometimes I wonder is it that I'm that selfish, have I really been generous with myself? My

heart? My thoughts, My resources? A quick flash back and boooooom, reality checks in. A myriad of emotions flow, almost a tear falls down my cheek (Not that am that emotional). What could I have done better? Did it really necessitate that reaction, what was I supposed to do? As I seat and ask these sticky questions, I realize that some moments have really made me a selfish being. However, there are other experiences that have revealed my generous side. Once and for all, I feel it’s time to set the record straight. All around me nowadays I see, smell, taste, hear and touch selfishness? Are we selfish beings by nature? Are we taught to be selfish? Do we become selfish by design? What really makes us selfish? see Top acts of Selfishness here.

Now, allow me to delve into the root of this menace. Growing up as a kid was the best experience of my life. Imagine waking up and looking forward to what the day had to offer. Without a damn care of what’s happening to the world. Always, ecstatic to rush to school with your lunch box exerting weight on your back in addition to the books that followed you like your shadow. Man, nothing really was essential than meeting the hood kids in the evening and getting down to a game of soccer or watching 4 o’clock cartoon…..Johny Bravo, Donald duck, Flinstones, Scoooby Doooby Dooooooo. I mean, in the whole world we cared for nothing but friends, family and of course our enemies too. Remember those friendship breakups that lasted minutes or days, long enough till your proclaimed enemy acquired the latest model of bicycle, BMX? Then all the accumulated anger just disappeared without a trace? Remember, the first time your scolding neighbor’s dad or better still your dad walked in carrying a 14 inch colored TV set? Or the day your worst enemy acquired a PlayStation?   As I remember in my childhood, enmity never lasted past a certain limit. There were always reconciliatory opportunities that went beyond the adult’s own sense of understanding.

However, this was the order of the day from January till November. Then the month of
December came with all its intrigues and some unforeseen humiliation not forgetting the adrenalin rush that culminated to a big bash on Christmas Eve or a trip upcountry. I remember very well that we always looked forward to getting new stuff, clothing, shoes, presents, I mean everything that went with the Christmas celebrations apart from seeing a real Father Christmas (the one with a flying chariot dropping presents over the chimney).But I wonder how many houses had a chimney then, this would have been a blander if he was to drop by.  If I can clearly remember every kid in the estate or should I say those lucky enough to have caring parents would run their mouths to spread the gospel of their new possessions, mostly right immediately an argument unfolded. They would narrate how their mum or dad had showered them with all the niceties as well as the overzealous promises that were on their way to fruition either from their parents, uncles, unties or in exception cases their maid’s sneaky boyfriend (Had to bring this up).

Needless to say, some of these arguments were unwarranted for just some way to show off. I mean even our parents played the game. Why would our parents work their sweat throughout the year to make sure their kids had the best designs, toys or holiday get away, while you ate chicken or chapos utmost twice a year? I bet you, this was a supremacy battle between our parents. They wanted to show off, I am sure if a parent wanted to find out what went on in their neighbor’s house they’d easily involve their kid in a chit chat. This was actually manifested by the rate at which the so called Greatwall black &white TVs disappeared in the estate. In a matter of months most households had a Color TV in their sitting room tucked in a wall unit. If I’d actually give a marketing advice to the Digital Migration team, STOP COURT BATTLES, USE KIDS TO SPREAD THE DIGITAL MIGRATION IN THE ESTATE THROUGH A COMMERCIAL. I think kids are more effective marketers for products, I mean how much stuff do kids make their parents buy from the supermarket, and they even know the best brands more than their parents who just look at the cheapest option.

Our parent’s rivalry didn’t actually stop there. It was extended to the family; hence sibling rivalry became order of the day. I mean, if you happen to be the first born in a family of more than four siblings you will understand. There was no notice to stop celebrating your birthday, nor getting a Christmas outfit just after your 11th birthday, if you were lucky to have had that so many. All over a sudden your younger siblings would incidentally attract all the attention. Whatever, they said or did was the gospel truth and actions were never questioned. In fact, you suffered the consequences for not been there to look after your younger siblings. Mind you, at this age something was naturally happening to your slender, less built body. Be it your croaking voice, bulging shoulders, or chest, your growing forest in the middle of no terrain. I mean it was like if the world and its inhabitants had colluded to clobber you with embarrassment. 

Remember the many nights you’d pretend to be asleep while actually you were planning how to commit a treacherous crime the next day. How many times you actually planned on disappearing from the face of the earth without a trace. Just because you had actually broke a glass, torn your uniform or accidentally lost money you were sent to buy oil or bread. All because your friends’ game was too attractive to just pass-by. GFF, the 80's and 90's were so much fun to grow in. 

However, with or without their knowledge our parents had really inculcated some selfishness in our arteries and young brains. It really didn’t take much effort, because their actions either translated into competition among siblings or with the hood kids on what your parents could afford or not. Nothing went unnoticed even the slightest additions to the flower gardens that sometimes were covered with cactus and grass. Needless to say, shifting to an upmarket estate felt like taking a chartered plane to the USA or England. This would be the talk of every kid notwithstanding their interest.

Why did I narrate all this? Why have I wasted my time in scribbling such a long narrative that will only be read halfway or first and last paragraph if am lucky. Anyway no matter the situation, the truth is all that’s happening today is as a result of these outrageous nonetheless innocent actions by our “loving parents”. The world today is full of competitive individuals seeking to outlive or outdo each other. Look at the statistics, the number of nonperforming loans taken from the banks. The hefty mortgages to buy that home better than your childhood
estate mate or friend. The rushed decisions to take your child to an international school at the age of 4 years to prove your status. The many broken marriages with estranged wives or husbands that are consumed by bitterness.  Is this a coincidence? Does it stem from somewhere? I mean in some families see the court cases filed to dispossess others from their rightful or otherwise acquired inheritance. Look at the many witchdoctors’ advertisements cropping all over the place. Look at the unexplained if not ridiculous kidnappings involving lovers, families and relatives.

Where did we go wrong? What happened to the society? I mean our girls and women are stealing our dads from their wives, our fathers are flying all over the place with girls their daughters’ age, or their best friend’s wives? All the young men losing their virginity, to women their grannies or mothers’ age, all in the name of paper making, or chasing windward dreams to a land of “Opportunities.”

What has befallen our people is it really worth the hustles, bustles or even that pain from
realizing the losses. When did we become this selfish? Is it in our blood lines, our genes, or just carried over from our parents? I have come to appreciate one thing, though sometimes we have to be selfish to accomplish some goals in life, also being selfless can make one prosper. But for heaven’s sake where does one draw the line? How should we differentiate between the two? Have we lost it with a silly act of innocence? Can we unlearn our acquired selfishness and be objective towards our lives. Has life given us so many lemons until we forgot what an orange tasted like?  

As I end this, I still am faced with lots of unanswered questions? Is selfishness a good thing, Is it worth it? God, help me to see beyond my selfishness, enable me to steer away from my individualistic bargain and be inclusive, considerate, and generous. As you saw the widow who gave her whole or the time you fed thousands with five loaves and two fish of bread. That’s what I want to be, give my whole and when I have food and am hungry, always think about the thousands more who are hungry. I want to be selfless not selfish. 

“ I believe It’s the rut we are in that blinds us from living an objective Life, Live your life and not other people’s lives, Judge your actions based on your set goals, not other people's achievements, and cut your coat according to your size, not your EGO" William Murithi
© William Murithi 2014

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