DEAR SON: Here are the answers to some of life’s tough questions

Friday October 20 2017

You may also hear someone ask, “Who are you?

You may also hear someone ask, “Who are you? What are you? Who the hell do you think you are? Do you know me? Do I know you?” ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 


Dear Jijee,

Like it happens to all other kids, when you are old enough to speak we will teach you to answer questions like “What is your name?” and “What is the name of your mother?” and “What is the name of your father?” and “Where do you live?”

That should be easy.

But there are some questions that you need to prepare answers for in advance. That's what I will teach you today.

Like if someone asks, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Look at the person in the eye and answer, “Because it saw a computer on the other side.” The person may ask further, “Why?” Give them an even tougher look and say, “Because this was a grown-up kifaranga cha computer that had just seen its parent.”

Give that answer and you will pass any test with flying colours.

One day, you may visit a hair stylist and be shown a chart with many ways to style your hair. One of the styles that will be there, I can bet, will be called the “Nairobi Business Community”. The stylist will ask whether you would like your hair to be styled as the Nairobi Business Community. Please say a blunt, unequivocal, irreducible, un-withdrawable “no.”


Another person may ask, “What is the place value of mum?” That should be a piece of cake. The answer is: “Billionth.”

They may ask for an explanation and this is what you will tell them:

“My mum is one in a billion because of the hardships she underwent just to ensure I was healthy and happy. I would bite her nipples, soil her clothes, scratch her face, uproot her hair, make her postpone eating so she could feed a disinterested me among many other tests. But never once did she get tired of me. She even sacrificed her job to take care of me.”

Some other day, not far from the day I’m writing this, someone will ask you:

“Which is the best football club in the world?” That is a no-brainer, son. Straight away, say it is the great, glorious, ever-dangerous Manchester United.

If they probe further, refer them to me. I will explain to them which club has the power to make your dad’s heart skip a beat for 90-odd minutes.

I will tell them about the club I follow so fanatically that on the day you came to this world, your dad had left your mum alone in the house — not knowing the hour of delivery was so near — to go watch Manchester United play at a pub in the neighbourhood. Few minutes after his return from the televised match, the journey to hospital started.

Some other person may ask, “Why did the slay queen cross the road?” I would like you to memorise this answer: “Because she saw a slaughterhouse on the other side.” Don’t add any explanation.

You may also be asked, “What is Newton’s first law of motion?” This person will be testing your intelligence. Before answering him, tell him your dad is a bright chap who studied all the physics that was on offer up to Form Four level, though the Kenya National Examination Council did not give him a grade commensurate with the physics he had chewed. Tell the owner of the question that your dad had vowed to revisit the KNEC matter.

Anyway, Newton’s first law of motion says: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.”

If you need to explain this, you can refer to your younger days. Before you learnt to crawl when you were eight months old, the hard floor had been the external force that stopped your head.


Put differently, your head had hit the ground several times as you attempted to walk on fours. At one time you fell backwards on the cold, tough floor and the sound of the impact made my intestines grow 1,017 blossoming flowers. But after wailing for a minute or so, and some rubbing from mum’s experienced hands, and suckling from the good old mum’s bosom, you were fine.

How I pitied that head of yours…! You can use your head to explain the law of motion created the man who discovered the force of gravity.

You may also hear someone ask, “Who are you? What are you? Who the hell do you think you are? Do you know me? Do I know you?”

Don’t answer him, son. It’s just a song.