Have you ever wanted to be shocked? Not like emotionally or whatever, not that bull shit. I mean being shocked by electricity. My first knowledge of electric current was when I was about 5 years old. A lot was going on around me, unlimited sodas from my Dad’s job, a dog called tiger and my elder cousin getting thrown across the room for poking his fingers into an electrical socket.
Don’t be sad though, he’s alive with two kids now, and he’s an electrical engineer. Not everyone is Ephraim, but if for some reason you may be one of the people who think going through similar circumstances makes it easier to achieve greatness, you probably read self-help books too. So consider this a chapter in one.
Becoming an Engineer
Uganda recently introduced pre-paid electricity. We call it Yaka and you load that shit like airtime. Among my hopes when I got to SA was they somehow didn’t have Yaka. Leaving Tambo airport, I realised that wasn’t going to be the case. I sat in a CLK Mercedes Taxi, and was driven onto an 8 lane highway. Audi and other international brand factories and stores peppered the route. Pre-paid electricity surely couldn’t defeat these chaps.
A few weeks later in my flat and I realised it hadn’t because right at the door, was a prepaid meter. As luck would have it however, I’ve never paid a cent. The damn thing doesn’t work, or should I say works for me. And it’s next to the sink. So if you ever want to be an electrical engineer, pay me a visit. Ill feed you, and give you a chance to do the dishes. And hopefully, you’ll get shocked.
Securely & Shockingly moving on
Today’s entry however isn’t about career guidance and wall mounted keyboards. This article is about personal insecurity. That shit where you doubt yourself. Does she love me, do I matter, or in my case, am I stupid? That kind of shit.
How many of you have University degrees? Now how many of you can say that getting that shit was easy? I definitely can’t. See, despite believing I didn’t work hard, I did more than I was comfortable doing to graduate with my first degree. When I got that piece of paper, I forewent the usual social media euphoria of posting grad pics and went straight to upgrading the freelance job I had at the time. That ship sunk like a titanic built somewhere in Katwe. Four years later however, here I am. Presented with the honours of doing an honours. I guess this is how an MP feels.
But after two months of honourable studies, the assignments don’t make sense to me and the few results I’ve received insult my intelligence. It’s like intelligence is relative. But how can that be?
See, when a runner starts failing to hit the times he/she is used to, when a musician can’t hit the notes they used to, that is a scary moment. Now I’m not comparing myself to a fading Olympic star or an out of date singer, but I used to think of myself as smart. Smart enough to do anything half assed and still pass. That was my thing.
Recently, I realised I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. I actually felt stupid. No one told me. But a realisation came over me. My mental arsenal looked ill equipped for the battle ahead. It’s like all the machinery and tactics I had were out of date. Almost like Arsenal the team. But I digress, these are more serious matters.
So what made me feel stupid?
It’s crazy, but I think it’s true. I suck at keeping promises, especially those I make to myself. I swore I’d never touch a cigarette, this was when I was about 6 years old. I’ve been smoking longer than I’d lived by then. I also swore I’d never return to school, and that university graduation would be the final day. Unlike all those mock things at the end of Primary, O Level and A-level. This was going to be the real deal, I would say bye to that Prison that had held me for 19 years of my life. But guess what, having escaped the system the right way, it grabbed me again. Perhaps I was too dangerous to be left free, I’d probably radicalise the youth with my ideas, raise a bastard kid outside formal education.
So I’m back in a mental institution, one of higher learning that is. And admittedly, everything else is going alright, except for the god damn essays. I know it may seem weird, a writer moaning about writing. But fuck you, are puns allowed in essays? I don’t know.
I last wrote anything academic five years ago, four for anything creative. I was bribed by the system, after a few character building jobs, I landed one that allowed me have a rotating chair, the occasional trip, per-diem and the chance to live a little. All I had to do was show up and do my job. This meant writing took a back seat, at the end of the bus. Soon, I was planning my retirement. 30 is the golden age, I still believe. I could still make it if I finish this degree in time, make some good money and find something to invest it in.
Anyway, school was the furthest thing from my mind, even as I sent the applications, I still didn’t believe or want to get admitted. But alas, here I am. At least it’s a prestigious university.
So anyway, with a mind reset of almost everything academic, here I am faced with analysing and writing essays. After scoring two 50s and one 40% in my short essays, the fact that I have to write a final paper shocks me to the core. I was so scared when it hit me, I let out a little laugh. The kind you make when you’re not sure whether to laugh or scream. In this small panic, I wrote my first blog article in 3 years. Yep. That’s how this came to be. And I realised, maybe, just maybe, this is how ill cope with the essays. Practice makes perfect, but if you stop practicing, your perfection will be in the past. So what’s that thing they say about clouds, yeah, they bring rain sometimes?
Anyway, 2 months is shorter than how long most stupid people have been stupid, surely I can jump out of this before it becomes a permanent condition. Because that saying that no situation is permanent, isn’t understood by stupid people.
Shocked? So am I.