From Primary To Tertiary Here Is My Diary Part (27)

From Primary To Tertiary Here Is My Diary Part (27)

4th May 2024, NewsOrient
Books, Arts, Culture, News
By Dapo Thomas

After I was technically sacked by the Chairman of the Board of Management of “Iya Ibadan Bread Depot”, Madam Moriamoh Aṣabi Buraimoh aka Iya Ibadan, I quickly sorted myself out.

By the way, what was my offence? I was accused of being distracted in my duties by extraneous activities thereby subjecting the 89 year-old Chairman to the agony of playing a dual role. As the Chairman, she would have to double as the Secretary as well since I was now “Ọmọ Dara” practically making Rainbow Cinema my second home, attending thuggery lessons and doing physical exercises in order to avenge my Paddington’s disgrace.

In addition, I was also functioning as a ticket boy, selling gala and tinko’ for iya Simbi for a very small commission that Iya Ibadan could double if I was serious.

This is what the spirit of revenge does to the soul of any man seeking vengeance against his enemy. I couldn’t stop going to Rainbow Cinema because it was the only place at that time that could provide a supplicatory atonement for the bruise of shame that the Dada saga had etched in my heart.

I was focused on pursuing vengeance without realizing that it was affecting my enterprising personality. Or how could one explain the fact that I dropped the position of “Akowe” only to take up an informal appointment as bakery attendant with the responsibility of pulling out the bread in the loaf pans as soon as they were removed from the oven.

If that was not demeaning, how about a situation where I was being sent around to buy food for my seniors in the bakery after serving as the CEO of Dapo Thomas “TRY YOUR LUCK International Incorporation” for almost a year.

Musa’s eyes had really seen terrible things. Imagine me carrying all manner of awful bowls perfectly and neatly arranged inside a big plastic container, crossing the Western Avenue expressway to Sanya street to go and buy “amala Sanya” for about four or five people with a note tucked in my pocket with comprehensive instructions on the types of soup and meat that each senior wanted.

Those who wanted only ewedu and pọnmọ, and those who wanted both ewedu and gbegiri popularly known as “abula” would warn you ahead of the consequences of “errand error”. Who should I now blame for this unfolding predicament, myself or Iya Ibadan that “sacked” me?

My second offence was that I was eating about 10 loaves of bread in a day thereby driving the business into bankruptcy.

Now that I was working in the bakery, I could eat about 4 to 5 loaves ‘on duty’ especially when we had many ‘rejects’ in the course of operations.

The ‘rejects” were dough which couldn’t develop into the normal bread sizes as a result of not being properly kneaded. The other ‘rejects’ were those hit by the peel while being slid out of the oven.

When going home, I would take about 3 normal loaves and about 5 ‘rejects’. In all, I had about 12/13 loaves a day.

The Iya Ijebu arrangement was an advancement in bread consumption, the iya Ibadan restriction was not. I had not enjoyed this ‘advancement’ for upto three weeks when I was reported to Iya Ijebu of going home with a ” lot of bread.” This was the handiwork of the Bakery manager, Broda Abbey and Baba Gani, the head baker.

They never liked the fact that I was eating too many loaves of bread in a day as if iya Ijebu was my mother. I could hear Baba Gani telling one of his colleagues that “O tun fi bread je ẹpa” (he was eating bread and groundnuts). Please, was that a crime?

Anyway, it took iya Ijebu some days to discuss this with me because she so much liked me that she didn’t want to offend me. We had to hold a discussion in the bakery in the presence of all the workers including my two ‘enemies’.

At the end of the deliberations, I was allowed to eat as many loaves as I wanted per day but under no circumstances should I take bread home.

I smiled with noticeable triumphalism. I remembered that Psalm “…Thou anointed my head with oil in the presence of my enemies.”

The following day, I resumed with pentecostal humility, bowing to all my seniors as I came in with misanthropic respect and ready to devour bread with gluttonous recklessness with the express permission of iya Ijebu, the owner of the bakery.

Flexing my new status, I started by eating the dough. Just a little, not so much so that I didn’t flex myself into “stomach complications”. But as soon as we started sliding the bread from the oven, I waited for some minutes before compressing one of the hot loaves into a consumable snack.

That day alone, because of the texture and succulency of fresh hot bread, I consumed close to 8 loaves, six of which were consumed fresh and steamy hot.

I went home with glorified supremacy over my ‘adversaries’. One thing that amazed me was that despite the humiliation suffered, some of my seniors were still smiling and shaking their heads as I was greeting them “odaro” (goodnight). Were they trying to attenuate the humiliation? That was their problem.

Some hours after getting home, I visited the toilet for ‘waste disposal ‘. I didn’t know where the tears in my eyes were coming from other than the fact that I was feeling like there was a fire underneath me, something like a fiery furnace. It was a terrible condition that could only be solved by a very powerful cooling system. In our toilet, there was no system at all let alone a powerful cooling system.

What we had were four colonial holes drilled at the back of the choky room serving no obvious purpose than acting as rat holes. Anyone who saw me in the state I was would think I had mistaken toilet for bathroom because of the way I was sweating profusely. Every attempt I made to leave the toilet after about 45 minutes of effective but laborious occupation proved abortive. I cleaned upto 5 times yet the ‘radiation’ refused to subside. I didn’t really know where this was coming from but my “waste disposal” had ended in “painful calamity”, pardon my hyperbole.

The fire from the furnace, my “furnace”, was hotter than the bread from the oven which I consumed with orgasmic hilarity in the presence of my “enemies”.

Within the 45 minutes I was inside the toilet, iya Ibadan had knocked twice or so. Her usual statement to anyone staying in the toilet for long was: “Se o fe bimo sibe ni” (are you giving birth in the toilet?).

Honestly, I didn’t see any difference between what I was going through and what a woman in labour would be going through. Hers was even better because she knew what she “ate” . But I didn’t know what I ate that was heating my ‘furnace’ and hurting my ‘downside’. My entire body system was on fire.

The following day when I got to the bakery, I was explaining to Baba Gani why I came late. He burst into a cynical laughter that soon became infectious.

By the time I came, they had started sliding the bread from the oven. I was planning to compress the first loaf of the day when one of them suggested to me that I should increase the number of the hot loaves from 8 to 12 may be my ‘furnace” would stop hurting. I quickly drew a linkage between this sarcastic statement and my “burning furnace”. It was then I knew the cause of the ‘fiery furnace’. I therefore decided to stay away from eating hot bread again and I realized that everything was subsiding.

Since that time, I never ate hot bread again. I threw away my exclusive executive approval in order to save myself the trouble of fire brigade mobilization. Mi o le wa kú nitori bread gbigbona (I shouldn’t walk in the shadow of death just because of some loaves of bread.).

After this bakery episode, I started thinking about school. Some weeks after the admission letter was given to me by iya Ibadan, I didn’t show it to my mother or any other person. It was only iya Ibadan who knew about it but she didn’t know what it was all about.

I decided to hide the letter because it was not mine. It must have been written in error. Here is what was in the letter: “Consequent upon your exceptional and brilliant performance in the entrance examination into our school, we hereby offer you a provisional admission into the first form. You are requested to visit the school to complete necessary documentation and collect other packages….”

Immediately I saw the contents of the letter, I knew an error had been made by the school and I didn’t want to play along. I didn’t need anybody to tell me I was not an exceptional student nor was I a brilliant student either.

One, I never passed any promotion examination in my life. I was a beneficiary of “Divine Manipulation” from primary one to primary six. In official term, it was called “On Trial”. The only time it was not “on trial”, it was “on compassionate ground”.

It had always been “on something”. But this time around, they forgot to write “on what ground” they were offering me admission. Yes, they wrote “exceptional and brilliant” performance but I knew it was a lie.

Two, during my six years in primary school, I never passed English, Mathematics and General knowledge, the three subjects which formed the bulk of the objective questions. How come I was now brilliant all of a sudden in these three subjects? My best scores in these three subjects in primary school were always in the regions of 30s, not even 40s.

Three, I failed my first primary school leaving certificate.

Four, on the day of the examination, I deliberately shaded nonsense because I didn’t even read the questions nor did I pay attention to any details, not even to the time allocated to the exam.

So, where did the “exceptional and brilliant performance” come from?

With these numerous points of mine, I put it to the school that the only thing that was true in the letter was my name. I was thinking about everything when my mother and a gentleman walked in in a “ghen ghen style”. I knew the game was up.


Dr Dapo Thomas’ From Primary To Tertiary Here Is My Diary Is Serialized Here Weekly Every Saturday

~ NewsOrient