I watched an episode of Modern Family season nine where Phil says he does a ritual every morning in the bathroom before taking a bath. It’s a tradition, a long one which was passed down to him from his grandfather. He flicks up his underwear from his ankles using his right foot, lets it fly and he stretches out his arms to catch it. If he catches it, it’s going to be one great day he will remember for the rest of his day. Birds will sing many love songs, bees will make some more honey, hens will lay bigger eggs and cows will give buckets full of milk. Pigs will even give better bacon. Bacon!
I know a muslim who eats bacon, says it’s one of the best meats they have eaten, says they would die with streaks of it in their mouth without letting go. Says all this with a face that speaks of deliciousness. Whether they know where bacon comes from is a question I don’t want to think about. I almost told them as 2017 came to an end. It played out in my head.
“You know bacon is processed from those fat animals which Jesus sent demons into, right?” I wanted to say. But why spoil a muslim’s day by revealing such callous information yet they could keep eating their delicious bacon without the guilt of knowing where it comes from? I let it pass. If they read this post and figure I’m writing about them, I hope they will forgive me from the depths of their right ventricle. I feel bad that I can’t say it straight to their face. The guilt is killing me smoothly.
Anyway, back to Phil.
If he misses it and his undie drops on the bathroom floor, it will be disastrous, a sign his day will be messed up from head to toe, top to bottom, front to back. Everything will go red knickers. Totally dried leaves with thorns and hooks. It will be a mournful day.
Birds will shit on his head. Cars will knock off his hairline. The sun will melt him into orange cream. He will slide off the walkway and hit his balls. He’ll forget his name and his life will turn into a rotten egg. Smelly thing. It will mean he needs to be a notch careful to go through the day with no incidents, which will be unlikely.
In short, his day will be horrible luck. A real fuku – if you’ve read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz’s book. A full course meal of shitty luck. It’s that bad. It’s superstitious, I know but that’s what happens to Phil when his undie touches the ground.
Do I believe in superstitions? I used to, when I was a lot younger. I’m a grown man now and I know a little bit of stuff. But I was told by some really strange people who don’t wear boxers that superstitions are real. Yep, I’m not kidding. How do I know this?
Well – I’m saying I’m one of those strange people – some weird things have happened to me that have made me tilt my head, twist my mouth and squint my right eye. Just to be clear, I don’t flick up my boxers in the morning to know whether my day will shine light or spray darkness. I’m thinking of trying it out though.
The afternoon I decided to get my eyes checked was cloudy, the smooth of wind running past my shirt, blowing it with its softness it felt cool. Marabous were gliding in the air and police tear gas trucks were on standby at the Square, waiting for God knows who, the trouble makers of Kampala. I strolled down the road from Lumumba Avenue, went passed the Ministry of Gender offices and as I got close to the old white building of CPS which needs a facelift, I hit my shoe on a stone and almost went tumbling in to an open manhole. Two police officers jumped onto the grass like I had triggered something. They said pole and went back to their positions, holding their guns with the nozzles facing the ground.
And when I completed my check up, the optometrist gave me the news. He said I was short sighted. I bought eyeglasses, headed for that karaoke that evening; I forgot the lyrics, which were projected on a screen. They bounced right off my four eyes, into my brain and before I could process it all and make it into a sound people could sing along to, the words would vanish. I remained there like a kid, with a microphone in my right hand, watching this guy waving me on, encouraging me to keep going, like he was a dad telling his little boy that he would be alright. That he wouldn’t fall off the bike.
But nothing moved well. I was stuck, lyrics-less, my teammates forging a smile as they died of embarrassment. I know this guys, even if you didn’t mention it. See, it started when I hit my leg on my way down for the check-up. Nothing creepy about this.
Then, the day I fractured my leg has something else. It was a sunny morning a few years ago, smelling of the hot January sun. I set out to have a green day, promoting urban agriculture and setting up a greenhouse. I hit my leg on a hoe. Before the sun crossed to the west, I had a cast on my left leg, all white, from my foot to my thigh. It was heavy. And the doc asked me to stay still for six of the quietest weeks of my life.
If you thought it wouldn’t get spear sharp, listen to this.
I made an appointment to see a dentist. The first time I went, the dental clinic was closed. They were out for Christmas holidays on December 23. I bounced like a tennis ball hit by a broken racket. The next time I returned, which was last Tuesday, I hit my left toe on a concrete block which found it’s way on the tarmac by powers I don’t understand. It was not there when I first checked. Then it was there when I least expected and my big toe was bleeding as I made my way to the dentist.
Guess what the dentist found; A humiliating case of cavities and a set of bad teeth which need to be root canaled and removed. Tough thing. My gums are going to miss some of their teeth.
Have you noticed a pattern there? On all those occasions, I knocked my foot, toe, or leg. Now, I’m not saying this is some bad luck thing. I’m not saying knocking my leg leads to some bad thing happening. No, I’m not implying anything. I’m also not saying you should think about it. No.
All I’m saying is, I leave that to you to figure out.