The many wildlife documentaries I have watched have stirred something in me. I will admit I have never seen a lion in the flesh but, having watched many of them filmed in their habitat, I now want to be a male lion.
I will sashay from these pretentious streets that people have called civilised and adopt a diet of zero carbs and all protein. Healthy, huh? I bet I will have the darkest, baddest mane and the scariest roar.
Wherever I will piss, any rival who smells the area will scamper away in fear. It is already refreshing to know that some notices often seen on city walls will no longer apply to me.
With those strong alpha-male traits, I will wander into the thick of the jungle, leaving Kenyans to come to grips with their 16 per cent value-added tax on fuel and everything else, their hefty pay-as-you-earn deductions that make employees want to cry every end of the month, their pastors who insist that tithe should be calculated against the gross pay and not the net pay, their politicians who consider taking human life as part of their game plans … Basically, I’ll leave all their problems and join the more unpretentious jungle.
In the wild, I will be sleeping 20 hours a day. According to one Nat Geo Wild documentary, that is the average sleeping time of a male lion.
I will snore away the hours, leaving the day-to-day running of the pride to my harem. I will not be bothered by rent or what society thinks of my work ethic.
Appraisals can appraise themselves. I will not be concerned one bit about the impact of increased fuel prices on the economy. I will not be giving a single damn on whether Kenyans have ingested mercury and other heavy metals en masse and that diseases may rain down the populace a few years ahead.
Twenty hours of sleep sounds like paradise to me, and you will no longer see any red in my eyes. My eyes in the photo you are seeing on this page will not show any sign of sleep deprivation because I will no longer be expected to wake up at 3.27am to investigate why Baby is weeping. My harem of females will be in charge.
I will only be waking up when dinner is served, to be the first to enjoy the warm, juicy flesh of a gazelle hunted down by my lionesses. I have seen in the documentaries that a male lion hardly plays a part in hunting. I will need to save that energy for fights to protect the pride.
Speaking of fights, any males who threaten to invade my pride will have it rough. I can imagine my territory being as big as Starehe constituency in Nairobi. I can visualise this day when I am napping under a tree at a location like Laico Regency then I hear another male challenging my superiority from Pangani with a sickly, tepid roar. I will rush there and square it out the only way lions know how.
But, unlike some humans, I will not be fighting so I can appear strong in public while my main agenda is to get bargaining power elsewhere so I can make money. I will not be fighting to impress anyone. Needless to say, I will not be taking a swipe at my enemies on social media. In the jungle, fights will be the way to existence, not for show.
But I will need to change a few things in the kingdom. For instance, I will lobby my fellow male lions to stop the infanticide madness where they kill cubs from a different father when they oust the reigning male.
There can be a way, I will tell them, to let another male’s children thrive without killing them. I will tell them about humans in blended families. I will share stories of some men and women who have raised children belonging to different parents and done it so well.
I will also advocate for more sustainable ways of ejecting males in the pride who come of age to check against cases of robbery with violence in the jungle.
In a way, as a male lion I will amplify the role of females as the powerhouses of life: the sacrifices the lionesses make to get food for the whole pride, the anguish of raising cubs while still being required to hunt.
It is sad how old age weighs them down as they are slowly eclipsed by younger lionesses and slowly waste away before death comes knocking.
Oh, and from one corner of my Starehe-sized territory, I can hear zebra and giraffes celebrating through that song about the lion sleeping tonight.
Elvis Ondieki is a ‘Nation’ reporter. [email protected] Caroline Njungé’s column will resume soon.