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DEAR SON: Your mouth is a hotbed of talent

Friday September 15 2017

Before you could even crawl, your deft,

Before you could even crawl, your deft, ruin-happy hands and eager mouth had started showing some of the funny talents you possessed. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

By PETER MOGAMBI

Dear Jijee,

Before you could even crawl, your deft, ruin-happy hands and eager mouth had started showing some of the funny talents you possessed, and some of the prospective occupations you were poised to take made my cheeks bulge in amusement.

By your fifth month, you were tearing my newspapers with such a vengeance I reckoned you would one day take up a job in the meat industry. See, the president at the time you were born had said a number of times that newspapers are for wrapping meat. And the way you tore newspapers and any other piece of paper that your hands could reach worried me that maybe that job suited you.

I could see you as a grown-up wearing some stained overcoat in some butchery, chopping up a poor dead goat’s steak then throwing it to the scale in the company of too much bone that draws an instant complaint from the buyer. Because of the complaint, I saw you replacing some of the bones with another useless part of the dead goat then quickly tear some newspaper to wrap the beef. Funny, because no one in our family tree had ever tried a hand in such business.

RUINED YOUR MUM’S PHONE

And when you were eight months old, you ruined your mum’s phone using your mouth. She had left you with it to attend to some chore, thinking you wouldn’t do much harm. She feared you would knock it down, yes, but you weren’t sitting on a hard surface so she thought it would not take much of a beating. Little did she know that you would turn the phone into a lollipop and give it the kiss of death.

By the time she returned, about half an hour later, you had pumped so much saliva into the gadget that it blacked out. It never regained full functionality afterwards. That got me thinking if you could maybe earn a job at a mobile phone manufacturing company in a department that ensures all phones are saliva-resistant. By 2017, no phone was being marketed as saliva-resistant and I started wondering if your action created the need for having such a feature on mobiles and even remote controls.

TASTE OF BATHWATER

One other funny ability you showed was the licking of bathwater. Whether you were in the city being bathed by tap water or in the countryside being cleaned by rain or river water, one constant is that you always wanted your tongue to have a taste of the water that was being used to wash your face and head. Many are the times the bitterness of the soap made you cry but you were not very fast in changing your ways.

That got me thinking that perhaps you could inspire mineral water companies to package flavoured bathwater. I could see someone hiring you to test whether the vanilla flavour of the bathwater is mild enough for young ones. This is a job you would perform excellently, I reckoned. I would see you licking some water then twitching your face a little then nodding then commenting:

 “This orange flavour will be irresistible to the young ones. They’ll want to be washed every hour.” And that way, you would ensure that people would no longer throw any baby out with bathwater.

Speaking of licking, in your seventh month you also showed the rare ability to bend your back so that your mouth reached your toes. Whenever you did this, there was always a sock on your leg which you wanted to lick. What a busy mouth you had!

That got me thinking that perhaps you could one day be the head of the leg-lollipop department of some big confectionery company. By then, the company would have opened a line for lollipops that people fit on their toes then bend to lick them. As the head of department, I would see you in a room explaining something to your juniors using a PowerPoint presentation: “Guys, our leg-lollipop line is doing relatively well especially in the under-18-month group of buyers. But we need to find ways of appealing to older people, especially the yoga-practising people.” And the juniors would nod and take some notes.

 

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This series brings you writings by PETER MOGAMBI, a Nairobi residentwho became a father in January 2017. By the time his son is old enough to read and comprehend, which is at least 11 years from today, a lot of water will have passed under the bridge. So, he has decided to preserve happenings in black and white so that when the boy can finally comprehend, he will get to follow his father’s feelings.