The Attic, Your Attic

THE ATTIC, YOUR ATTIC

            My all-time favorite fictional character is Sherlock Holmes. I think Arthur Conan Doyle created the most incredible thing in the master detective and I have the highest regard for his works. I have been reading Sherlock Holmes since I was a little boy and here’s one statement he made that I think has changed my life: “I consider that a man’s brain is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose…it is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it, there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge, you forget something that you knew before. It is of highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones”. In this statement from the very first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, (which was one of the very last I read, surprisingly) Conan Doyle sends a message that is of particular importance to everyone my age: Even though you feel infinite now, your resources WILL be exhausted.

A very notorious frame of mind in people is they think their brains are capable of everything and it has no limits. Now, I can’t exactly say that the human brain has a maximum limit of information it can store; I’ll leave that to the scientists. But Holmes’ theory isn’t really a bad way to look at it now, is it? The idea that we are indeed limitless and full of boundless opportunities we can succeed at is a great one, it has its advantages, but it comes with the greatest consequence; recklessness. Because we believe that the sky is the limit, we tend to think that we can fly all our jets there. Wrong, excessively wrong. A pilot cannot fly more than one plane simultaneously; therefore the sky is the limit for the plane he chooses to take to sky, any other plane that diminishes his attention to the one he’s on right now is nothing short of a liability. We cannot lead all the Israelites to the Promised Land, the Red sea would cover some, an earthquake would swallow some, and the snakes would poison others to their graves.

What then must we do? We must be focused. The universe has a constant supply of elaborate distractions that never runs dry but we must choose what we want to be and be just that. We have to decide what we want and go get it believing that what we want is enough to satisfy us and make our life worth it. Don’t overcrowd your brain with irrelevant things. In my dealings with technology, I have figured out that a gadget that tries to be too many things, does everything it tries to be inadequately. In other words, a “phablet” which is trying to be both a phone and a tablet, ends up being neither and it just winds up being too large to call a cellphone and too small to call a tablet (same applies to laptop hybrids). If you’re a medical student, you shouldn’t be interested in what’s going on in the CIA, if you want to be a musician, be a freaking musician, not a musician/engineer/entrepreneur/chef/chemist/designer. Concentrate all your energy on what you want to be and be that thing. Everything is possible, which is all the more reason why you have to choose. Guard your mind from being infiltrated by unimportant data, put all your effort in what you want and be the best at it. Employ, as David Acord calls it, a mental bouncer that prevents unwanted information from going in. The world of nowadays encourages us to have broad views. It tells us that we can have all we want, that it’s possible to be a great surgeon, have a large family, keep in touch with all your loved ones, spend a lot of time with your kids, engage in all your hobbies and still make mindless amounts of money while you’re at it, but that’s not true; life is way more complicated than that, sacrifices must be made. We have to choose. Choose what you want and let go of the rest, because we can’t have it all. No one can.

Your attic doesn’t have elastic walls, there will come a time when those song lyrics in your brain would be pushing out the relevant information you need on a daily basis, it is of highest importance to not let the useful stuff get kicked out by all the intellectual junk food you’ve been letting in. As my friend, Afoma put it, “be selfish with your resources; they aren’t permanent”.

Welcome To The Greys

My father would often say: “In life there are rules; laid down set of instructions for us to follow. A system that helps us determine what is right and what is wrong; that’s why we are called human beings, not Barbarians.” He couldn’t be anymore right about that; without the rules that serve as foundation for our thoughts and guidelines to our actions, we as a society would crumble on ourselves. The only thing about rules is how often they are broken. Despite the plethora of guidelines we have set to fine-tune our way of life once or twice, people have fallen under the group that defy these rules and are often punished for their actions. Over the years we have made excuses for these miscreants either calling them psychopaths, serial killers, sociopaths, or disobedient. We have, as a collective body, decided that our rules are the basis for what is right and what is wrong and we have chosen not to see otherwise. Perhaps one thing we need to consider is the fact that whether the very presence of these rules increase their propensity to be broken, or as it is better stated: Are rules meant to be broken?

The rules and regulations we have set for ourselves pave a very naïve way of thinking; it gives us a wrong perspective of our very own world. Rules suggest that things are either right or wrong, good or bad, painting a picture that the world exists as two different poles: black or white. But what about the times when the current circumstance goes against the rules we have made? What do the rules say about the necessary or the required, or the vital; what do our rules stand for in times of distress? If the norm is to respect our elders and then a particular elderly person has taken it upon himself to frustrate my life with utter wickedness and shame, does she really deserve my respect? If the norm is to study and then come to class, get taught, clarify our knowledge and then get tested for what we know, but our teachers never show up in class to teach and we never truly understand what we studied, are we really breaking the laws by indulging in examination malpractice? If everything in the market is way too expensive and our salaries from 3 jobs can’t still get us a decent 3 square meal a day while our presidency is busy buying a new jet to add to his fleet, is it treason if I betray my country for its corrupt leadership? If I am convinced that my flat mate brings people he kidnaps to his house and holds them hostage till their ransom are paid, is it breaking the law if I break into his apartment looking for evidence to prove I am right? If an armed robber was trying to snatch my father’s car and then shot him in the process, is it wrong for me to seek out this armed robber and kill him myself? What does the law stand for in times that demand us to be more than just people trying to keep our society peaceful but as what we are; human beings?

The truth is this: the world we live in is far too complicated for the rules we make to keep it too orderly. Time and time again, situations would arise where we have to drop those rules and be what we are; we have to take the demanded action and sometimes the only action that seems relevant to us. Rules are not supposed to make us robots; the world is not that easy. There is no infinite good and terrible bad, the world is not made of two extremes; black and white, there are grey areas. Those grey areas are where it no longer rests on the arms of the law, the rules, or the bible. In those grey areas we must then decide what we want to do, for ourselves and see the result of our actions through the eyes of others.

Cheeky

Cheeky

            If there is anything I hate more than stupidity, it should be stereotyping. I, among all things, do not like to be defined; I do not like to be interpreted, especially wrongly. But the interesting thing is: I should not blame others for trying to understand my behavior and come up with words characterizing me; they have to make a meaning for themselves. This trait comes from years and years of people telling me what to do and I obeying them believing they know me better than I know myself, but if life has taught me anything, it’s that no one can never know me as much as I do. I would, at this point, like to indicate that what I mean is not somewhere along the lines of ‘don’t judge me, you don’t know my story’, no, not at all; I find that statement very suggestive of a low IQ. What I wish to let you understand is that I don’t like to be told who I am, not because people do not know my ‘story’ or what I have been through but due to the fact that they just can’t.

Cheeky is a word with which I have been defined time and time again. I never took it seriously until I decided to look it up about 2 weeks ago, when a certain feminine individual labeled me with the C-word. Her arrival at this conclusion was something I found both appalling and sweet at the same time, perhaps due to the harmony with which the word flew out of her mouth. Cheeky means ‘offensively bold’, and for me it means ‘story of my life’. I, Victor, am indeed very offensively bold; I would always feel obliged to tell you how I feel with or without reference to how I think it would make you feel – offensive, and I would say it to your face – bold. Now, my cheeky attitude is not something I have been entirely ignorant of but also a thing of which I am not entirely aware. In other words, I am not cheeky to people because I want to be, that is just the way it turns out, and for this young lady who had only heard me speak for less than 15 minutes to jump to such a conclusion had a lot to say about how I should conduct myself in front of people, especially those who have a short fuse or don’t know me too well.

This particular lady had drawn her conclusion from my intrusions in her attempt to tell her friend, who was preparing for an exam, that everything would be okay. They were having a sort-of private conversation (in front of me) where the lady in question was trying to motivate a friend of mine in order for her to gather courage to go face her examiner in her forthcoming hygiene exams, but my friend had earlier put forth that she had indeed not studied her notes and as for the multiple choice she was answering, she hadn’t even accomplished half. I intruded into the discussion by the time I heard someone say, “Everything would be okay, you are going to pass and YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT”. I had bared loads of tragic crap bleed from the mouths of both correspondents, but this particular one was unbearable for my uncomprehending mind. “That’s a lie, you actually have a lot to worry about” was my unexpected reply to what the speaker had no idea was a question posed to me. With a look of what I would like to call surprise but frankly seemed like insult, she asked “why did you say that?” and thus began my rant of things my friend had to worry about. For beginners I pointed out that she had in fact not studied and even though she was what you’d call a good student, knowledge is of particular importance when it comes to exams, then I hinted at her unfortunate lack of preparation; the biggest step to success, in the sense that she had not studied her notebooks and had not finished answering her MCQs, and her lack of aforementioned knowledge insinuates that even the MCQs that had been answered have more than a 70% chance of being wrong and putting all this together, a word of encouragement plays but an insignificant role in her success story today; if she hadn’t studied for an exam she was to sit for in less than 2 hours time, she indeed had a lot to worry about. I also threw in a thing or two about wars all over globe and people dying of hunger in obscure places, all things that should trouble our idle minds every now and then. That was what I said to the face of this apparent stranger and she immediately labeled me cheeky.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression and that’s great advice, one I’d most likely bear in mind but on that day I had a higher calling; to point out the shortcomings of my friend’s companion’s piece of motivation. But a very important subject I had failed to attend was that nothing was actually wrong in what was going on and nothing was absolutely wrong with my perceptions of the matter too. The lady and I only had what we call a difference of opinion; her mind was lighted down a path different from my own. While she sought to calm the flaring nerves of her close friend, I sought to look at things from a more realistic point of view. I did not need to tell my friend that she had not studied, mainly because she was well aware of this fact and I definitely did not have to interject to the ‘you have nothing to worry about’ bit because my friend indeed knew she had something to worry about, but the fact that someone was telling her otherwise might have lightened her view on her upcoming doom in the hands of the hygiene exams and softened her heart towards her remaining bit of preparation, all signs of a noble course

I am cheeky at best and that, among many others, is a trait I would most likely want to keep. After all, the world needs a little cheeky at times, people who wouldn’t care how it looked but told you the whole truth and anything but. In my more sober moments, I have come to realize that I should have to exert more control on my offensively bold antics. I should, instead of pouring my heart out, look around me to observe the mood of the room; try to acknowledge the true meaning of the goings on in my current atmosphere and weigh the implications of most of my opinions. If I wait patiently, I’m sure a time would call for the cheeky and I would most likely not disappoint, but initially I must calm my nerves and wait my turn. After all, there’s time for everything.

The First Relevant Post

Ever since I opened this blog, I cannot think of any post that reflects the title of the blog itself in any way. I decided to do a recap of all I have written and even though they reflect part of who I am, they fail to show in adequate clarity what I hope to accomplish by the creation of this cyber-social diary; I actually want to attain perfection.

Perfection in itself is an ambiguous word, one with which many choose to refrain from, due to its, for lack of a better word, absurdity. Nonetheless, I, as always, have chosen the most absurd of goals to be mine. I have received a lot of stick for my choice and some people I consider close to my heart have opened up to me and said I am on track for a head-on collision with disappointment by the time I find out that there’s no such thing as perfection. From my side of the canyon, I believe that their myopic view of my choice is not because of how impossible the subject at hand may seem, but in their lack of understanding of the term itself and the meaning I give to it in my heart.

I see perfection, not as a word describing the very precise arrangement of entities, but as a word describing the precise arrangement of self, both within and without. In other words, perfection, for me, is creating an acceptable and practical way of seeing the world I interact with daily both in my thoughts and in my words. I appreciate the analysis that everyone is different in their very special way and my pursuit of perfection entails me, spotting what makes me stand out in the world and using it to appreciate it as my safe haven. But when I read through my previous blog posts, I have done nothing but concentrate on the world outside me rather the world within; I have missed the point and for this I apologize to everyone out there who ever had the displeasure of reading such a disorganized blog; I’m sorry I wasn’t all I said I was.

My sudden decision to reminisce on my past comes as a result of routine, and unfortunately, a routine I have chosen to ignore for far too long. My pursuit of perfection is meant to portray what I like to call ‘my journey to the promised land’; a land flowing with deeds of great pleasure and content in those deeds. It should follow through all my challenges and how they either beat me up or were crushed by my resilience. My pursuit has nothing to do with how comical I could be at writing, or how creative I could be at photography, or how awful I am at story telling, my pursuit is meant to be about me; my life and my journey. Though I must concede that I indeed do have an artistic tendency, I have, against my better judgment; given in to the curiosity of my scientific mind and I do not intend to look back in any way. That said, I hereby relinquish any fiber of my more creative being that would try to stop me from attaining eternal bliss in the field I have set to mind. I refuse to be distracted by the intriguing nature of flash fiction challenges, photography and real-life comical displays on this blog. I am, from now on, a journal blogger only.

The way I have put it may make it seem like the earlier installations on this blog have been a total mistake or that I was previously abducted by a slightly demented mind, which is nevertheless not true. I would like to point out that in a way, my previous posts have a role to play on the outlook of this blog and on my nature as well. They signify my complexity and entanglement, in that they show the struggle in my heart by two giants who want to take utter control of my living soul. I am a clutter of both hidden and expressed talents but I’m afraid the onset of this blog, much like many other things in my life, caught the unfortunate twist of my duality; the comico-artistic one, when that was not the premise for which it was laid. Perhaps, all these go a long way to show my level of indecision and discontent with either side of me or maybe the urgent need for control of these bipolar traits. The most important inference to be made from all the clutter I have spilled is that: I believe in re-inventing myself now and again; fine-tuning my existence so I am a little more than a scab on the surface of the earth but now, I created this blog for one reason and one reason only; to find my place, my position, my niche among the greats and at the current level I am, I can only utilize one part of me and ‘funny’ is not that part.

It is with such great discontent that I apologize to all those I have misled; those who came here looking for a story, but found a silly article about Prince William and Gareth Bale. Those who came here searching for inspiration but instead found a picture of lights, which were out of focus. Those who came searching for a story but instead found a piece telling a woman to stuff her children with pipecuronium. I have failed you as much as I have failed myself, but I vow to never lose touch of my reality anymore; that I have come here for a purpose and a purpose I must achieve.

New Year Food For Thought

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Just because today is 31st of December and it crosses over to the 1st of January, everything seems to mean a little more to everyone. Whether it’s the festivities, or the mere fact that a new year is about to begin, for some reason, people want to spend their cross-over night in church and they make it seem obligatory to do so, people want to be more careful with what they say to each other, people want to watch what they eat into the new year, everyone immediately takes their life more seriously than they do on any other day. Suppose today was 20th of June and we were crossing over to 21st of June, would we care so much? Chances are it wouldn’t mean anything to us, even if 20th was a Sunday, some people still wouldn’t go to church and they wouldn’t care. Perhaps we should put more thought into the whole “New Year” thing; maybe we should try to take everyday just as seriously as January 1st, maybe we should take every cross-over night just as seriously as we take the transition from December 31st to January 1st, maybe we should watch what we say to one another every day of the year, maybe we should get on our knees and give glory to God as we move from one day to the other and not run to God only on New Year’s eve. Perhaps the New Year should not be only about the day, but about the entire year.