Mar. 24, 2014
by Farouk Martins Aresa
Thrill seekers that cheat death! You would think that with so many provoked and unprovoked wars, dictators killing their own people, domestic violence, hunger and diseases; humans would not engage in self-destructive behaviors mimicking Russian roulette. If you do not care about you, how about those that care, love, rely on you and would be left helpless without you?
While young and carefree, we see ourselves as invisible, untouchable and invulnerable to illness and death. As we get holder, it gradually dawns on us that we have to be responsible or careful about our choices in life. In other words we play safe. However, as some of us realize the risk of cheating death, we still seek a thrill out of it. A few of us even chose it as a profession like race car driver, hooliganism and sometimes politics in a dangerous country.
There are usually more boys than girls at birth in most countries, by the time we get to late twenties and thirties, ladies may outnumber men because of risky behaviors and wars. At fifties or even late forties a man should stop most risky behaviors because of those that may be left behind in case of death. Others may say that is what insurance is for. Insurance may provide money, it does not provide touch, caring and loving.
Late forties and fifties are not the ages our sense of balance and dexterity are so sharp. It is the age of the spirit is willing and the body is week. This is not the age you want to try and jump over that gutter because you think it is not as wide as you are used to or become village egungun, fanty or in kareta. At that age you leave it to the younger ones. Even careful and sensible youths always choose the type of sport and activity that will not render them useless.
Easier to lose our sense of balance, many grown men have fallen off the leader. If they are not badly injured, they must thank their stars. Sometimes if you cannot afford a car, some of us ride a bicycle, motorbikes or okada. Those are cases of circumstances. Illegal street car racing, riding motor bikes or okada and acrobatic display should be left to youths and younger generation. In these days of AIDS, you wouldn’t dare risk a known prostitute without a condom, would you?
Money buys a great deal but it also buys self-destruction. We have witnessed some youths whose parents have fortunes, drag raced in expensive cars on busy streets killing innocent pedestrians. If they do not care about their own lives and the sadness they would cause to their parents when killed, they should rut in jail for killing talikawa or anyone on busy streets. We express disgust and sorrow for the loss of lives.
There was an “accident” some years ago when a young promising boy with three others were speeding in a car that had donut as the fourth wheel. They were all students of one of those prestigious universities. The driver died and the rest sustained grievous injuries. The funeral was full of parents and many of their university students. The father was in his sixties suffering from diabetes. He sat near the open coffin with his wife.
We lined up to see the open casket and bowed. This writer, was so mad and just wished he could wake him up for a minute and ask him to imagine the agony he had caused his parents and siblings. He refused to bow. As he got to the parents, he bowed and hugged them. They were really shaken up as he was their first son. The father had hoped that he would perform great in life for himself and would act as an example for his brothers and sisters.
If that was sad enough, we cannot in good conscience justify a man in his fifties cheating death by choosing dangerous ride, sport or profession knowing full well it can end his life at any time. In consolation, we have heard different rationales. Some claimed, he died happy doing what he loved best. Others claimed he would not have died any other way. However, those that were close would forever miss his presence, caring and love.
Many people had the opportunity and privilege to be that close to someone that has passed away doing what he loved best. You see, it is not about him because he has gone. It is about those he has left behind. Personal loss, death and illness in a family cannot be understood fully by others. Only those affected know what has hit them since they have to live with it after all the sympathizers are gone, for the rest of their lives.
The world is dangerous enough without seeking cheap thrill resulting in reckless death. We always say we can get hit by a car crossing the road, it does not justify jumping unto the traffic. We have religions that rationalize death in any form. They claim it has been written down by God. Others claim we shall meet in paradise where death does not exist. While those kind words may console those left behind, it does not replace the dead.
If you want to choose the way to die find a better choice like at home instead of on the street or by a Rolls Royce instead of okada. Hey, Nigerian politicians never die at home, they shop for the best hospital abroad to die in. We have enough loved ones dying in dangerous jobs, accidents, ethnic violence in hostile areas they cannot leave because there is nowhere to go for better offers. The point is why cheat or die recklessly to increase the number of people in agony?
But then, and again, who would tell a grown man what to do or dissuade him form a dangerous hobby, recreation if he claimed that was his only avenue of releasing stress?