Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The reason I write is because I have a number of brain cells missing. This means that I cannot get into any meaningful profession. When I say this, I am being very lenient (which is only human) with myself. I know some of you have been thinking that there is a job group ‘W’ for writers and are actually aspiring to be writers someday.

Writers are jobless people who help media houses to employ hi-tech, snotty employees who are referred to as ‘Editors’. The editors’ work is to press the spell check button on the computer. If there are no red or green wavy lines under the words of a writer, they call it a day and release the article to the press. Note: The editor did not see this.

The only advantage you have as a writer is that you don’t have to go to work at 8AM . You are usually given the time after the alarm goes off (usually 6AM for most Nairobians) to just lie on your bed and start torturing your brain to come up with a story that can fill in the gaps left by advertisers in the following day’s paper. There is coffee allowance too to activate your brain (or so the editors tell us).
Once you get to the office, you are provided with ‘working space’. The advantage of this is that you can play computer games the whole day. We also have free internet. These are the measly benefits you have been killing yourself to please an editor for. I can hear some unconvinced writers-to-be in the background asking the obvious, ‘Why then do you write?’ Here comes the ANSWER.

Writing is the only job in which you can have an excuse for unfinished assignments. There is a big scorpion-like hand-biting thing that visits writers referred to as Writer’s Block. When the editor asks for your assignment, you can tell him that the Writer’s Block struck. The block leaves them with no option but to send you on a day’s off.

Not so with other professions. Getting a day off can be reaaallllly difficult which means you have to wrack your brain hard (needs the extra brain cells that I don’t have) to come up with an acceptable excuse. This being the Kenya it has become, with two or more people eyeing your job, you do not tell those tired lies of catching the flu or killing a relative of yours every now and then. Today’s employers make sure that you have perspired their every shilling’s worth.
In the good old days, which our parents don’t tire of telling us, the D.O. walked through ridges and mountains cajoling people to go to work. Today, the D.O. is paid for sitting on a swivel chair and is promoted on the basis of how many rotations he makes for a certain period of time, and demands that people stay at home and not bother him with their joblessness.

The employees that the D.O. would round up were treated like kings. For a day off, you just called your boss and the following conversation ensued;

You: Hello.
Boss: Hello, what can I do for you? (Very polite and caring)
You: I have a headache
Boss: Take a day off. Take as long as you need to recover.


You: Hello, Sec, it’s me
Secretary directs you to this new creation of our times called the HR
You: Hello this is (your name) I am calling to request for a day off……
HR: You are fired!

Some are coping though. I have a friend who had to see a girlfriend whom he wanted to impress by passing his uncle’s office as his. The uncle would be away from the office on a certain afternoon and my friend had to be at the office since that is where he had directed the girl. His boss however, would not hear of a day’s off.
He (my friend)came up with this story of a running stomach. He walked up to his boss and before he could finish a sentence, he dashed off to the loo. He did this several times until the boss got suspicious at the frequency of his dashing out. Hoping to beat my friend in his own little lying game, he followed him to the loo. His face (boss’s) was almost breaking into a smile when he heard this sound coming from the loo. My friend has saved a ringtone in his phone that resembles the sound of his implied affliction. He got the afternoon off.

I am through with my writing assignment for the week. Isn’t that great? I mean, just burbling on the page and getting paid for it?