Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Yuletide...An Absolute Defence

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 As I write; tunes of Christmas resonate through my neighbor’s good speakers.
Yes, even bad neighbors can own good speakers.
I must state from the outset that the neighbor in question is a rascal of limited cerebral training. As a lawyer, my scorn for the unschooled mind offers no apologies, more so as the aforementioned personality is of a loud and pugnacious make-up.
The loudness would be forgiven if it were limited to his vocal chords (let them wither from over-use) but no, he generously endows his musical gadgets with this attribute as well.

Now, I consider myself a reasonable music enthusiast. I love Jazz, every lawyer should, soft rock also appeals to me; they set the mood right after the humdrum of our profession.
At occasional resurgences of the boy in me, I may sit through some Hip hop tunes.
But Highlife, No sir!
With due respects, I find it an irksome cacophony of exaggerated instrumentation and repetitive incantations. And the subject matter hardly varies from praise- singing or cheap didactics.
I firmly believe that music should be made of saner stuff (apologies, Mark Anthony)
Well, this low-life neighbor of mine does not share my opinion of Highlife, and he amplifies the point daily.
Everyday the walls echo with earsplitting reverberations from his speakers, any other blend of music may not have had the same sharp sting, but Highlife it must be…so everyday,  I grit my teeth and suffer the double jeopardy.
And he always sings in accompaniment!
My view of the fellow is not improved by the fact that his speakers sound far better than the ones in my house.
The few times I attempted to engage him in a Battle of the Decibels, my efforts were pathetically drowned.
Available case law on punitive damages for nuisance shall soon have its records broken, my file is building… before long, his cup shall run over.
I woke up this morning and the peace of the environment was once again being assaulted by his blaring monstrosity.
But wait a minute, it was not his usual…he was playing Christmas carols!
But Heavens, what a way to play them!
Jingle Bells clanged irritatingly on the auditory nerves, Silent Night turned into an oxymoron as The Drummer Boy joyously slammed away on the ear-drums,
O Little Town of Bethlehem would be rocked off its modest foundations by the volcanic vibrations of the woofers.
Hark! The heralding angels would have since gone hoarse if they sang eternally at such pitch.
I have never heard the age-long smoothness of Christmas melodies so ruthlessly abused and my neighbor enthusiastically joined the chorus, this time singing in English!
I muttered a curse and sprang from my bed.
In my methodical groundwork for a water-tight legal action against the scoundrel, I had overlooked my most convenient remedy -abatement of the nuisance.
My heavy poundings on his door finally seeped through the bedlam, the volumes reluctantly went down and the insufferable tort-feasor peeked out.
I gave vent to all my pent up exasperation in a flutter of expletives.
Safe in his ignorance, I let the words; culpability, prosecution and committal order at the Governor’s pleasure tumble freely.
My tirade must have run unceasingly for the chunky part of thirty minutes and from the crumbling face before me, I was hitting bull’s eye.
I turned to storm away, but behold! other inhabitants of our yard had gathered behind us in clusters evidently drawn by the thunderous emissions of my righteous indignation.
Voices, voices, voices…
‘Wetin dey do Lawyer, sef? Na only him go school? So make we no enjoy Christmas again?’
Yet another; ‘Do you blame him? Do lawyers go to church? Are they not the antichrist?’
This not inaccurate reference to the epileptic nature of my hebdomadal reverence to the Powers struck home, but the worst was still in transit:
‘If it is Highlife music he won’t complain o, now that it is God’s song, he is vexing, abeg no mind am my broda’
And we say there is justice in this world.
A quick glance at my vindicated adversary showed that he had regained his aplomb and was waving in solidarity to his formidable defence team.
Crimson-faced, I slunk away.
*                                              *                                                              *
I am lying on my bed, trying to shut out the din outside.
In celebration of this rare victory over the supercilious ‘The Law’, the crusaders of Christendom had assumed positions by my window and joined in the O Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant… chant.
Their voices rang to the skies, and thus motivated, my neighbor’s speakers trebled their vigour.
I have never been more humbled. They may be right; maybe like all lawyers, I am a grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge after all, trying to smother the joyous spirit of Christmas among ordinary folk.
In penitence, I pick up this piece of paper to jot a little list to guide my actions through the rest of the season.
1.)    Never complain about the nuisance value of deafening carols no matter how brazen the interference with quiet enjoyment of premises, Yuletide is an absolute defence.
2.)    Never scold the little boys (and recently, girls!) that ignite fireworks and knock-out bangers on busy streets, the potential hazards are equally excused by the Yuletide proviso.
3.)    Never grumble at the price tags that habitually grow wings this season…Angels also have wings.
4.)    Even if I suffer a salary cut at my workplace in order to finance sky-scraper sized Christmas trees and corresponding decorations, I shall never protest. It is in line with the spirit of giving…the poor and hungry shall behold the majesty and be filled…with awe.
5.)    Never frown at the message of the pre-dawn preacher that frequents our neighborhood this season.
He is right; I should feel guilty for still being alive to see the end of another year …as a sinner.
6.)    (Most importantly!) never forget to say:
                          MERRY CHRISTMAS DEAR READERS!!!

First Published in Thisday Newspapers: December 23, 2008

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Anatomy of a Lawyer

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Lawyers! Bah! A contemptible bunch the lot of them; conceited, swaggering, loud mouthed models of vainglorious pomposity.

Hatched in the pits of hell, this mutant species are sprung upon our peaceful ecosystem to wreak unspeakable mischief.
Like termites (with whom they are incidentally similarly clad) they gnaw upon the very fabrics that hold our world together with their diabolic tripod proboscis of ‘words, words and bigger words’

As a seasoned expert in the sciences, oh, that noblest of all vocations worth pursuing, I am propelled by the characteristic chivalry of my profession to rid the world forever of the perils posed by that toxic class-the gentlemen of the law!
In line with the empirical tenets of my field, the panacea for a disease can only be discovered upon detailed and accurate isolation and culturing of the pathogens that transmit it; in their various levels and mode of occurrence.

I proceed now to lay bare my findings on the obnoxious subject under review.
These loathsome changelings are actually born normal, yes, from their mothers’ wombs they proceed as ordinary enough children grow to be; bright eyed and happy, chubby and fresh coloured as they romp in the sunshine.
Let us therefore lay to rest any blames on the good Creator for the plague of Lawyers…
The transformation starts in the schools; the University precisely. Within those four walls of their Faculty of Darkness, akin to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, the tutoring wizards and witches brew their sinister spells and mesmerize the unquestioning minds of the poor lost souls.

For a start, the children are decreed unto, to discard every trace of colour –in both mind and attire…all intellectual and sartorial imagination are brutally sacrificed for the grimness of black and white. Volumes of magic couched in the best traditions of Abracadabra are transmitted into their brains, and they are taught to repeatedly recite dubious phrases of Latinese balderdash and are tested on their memory capacity to turn out same at short notice, in examinations that reek strongly of the Spanish Inquisition.

Five long Years, the process lasts-the decapitation of their humanness, the vapourization of their hearts, the blackening of their souls.
They are drilled to understand that theirs is the only ‘pure’ race. And that they have a duty to confound, betray and ultimately destroy the rest of humanity.
Rebels against this draconian outfit are kicked out and disgraced; they are not fit and proper for the task ahead.
For the eager scholars, a special place is prepared, at the centre of Hades in the symbolic Sixth Year.
Here, they are exposed to the practical manifestations of their powers; they see how they can break homes, deny freedoms and crumble dynasties.

They revel in their ability to strike terror at the stoutest hearts with a mere glance of disapproval, they strut about in the  amphi-theatre of courtrooms, wielding their singular tool…words, words and bigger words…
In a bizarre procedure of battle, they beguile onlookers, speak in strange tongues and are guided by the untouchable apparition that presides from the Bench.
They, argue, rattle, adjourn…united in the plunder of the poor litigants…
The Good Creator gave us all brains and brawn, He meant for us to fight our own battles, but the Lawyers shriek, ‘No! Don’t take the Law into your hands!’…Yes, leave it, alongside your money in theirs…

At the end of the sixth symbolic year, with the triad of mystical feasts and muted conversations, the new creatures are decked in long flowing dark robes of sorcery, and the great grey hat of magic is placed on their heads…and our world is futher imperiled.
They are commanded to spread to all nations and damn souls.
Their successes are varied…
Some grow oily faced, double jowled and round bellied, nourished by the blood of victims whose necks bear the deadly marks of their teeth.

They clutch smugly at their brief cases…though nothing is brief about the cases they handle, because their survival is hinged on the protracted agony of their unsuspecting targets.
They recline in their glossy cars, air conditioners at full blast; it is cold comfort to be given a free ride by them, Do not be carried away.
On their golden staff of office, there are several notches, each representing the number of conquests by their hundreds.
Upon attainment of the hundredth hundred, they are conferred the title of; Wizard of the Senior category.

For the others, the nemesis of their soiled origins ropes them in the most scorching poverty.
These are hungry and lean. Their robes drape on their gaunt backs, their hats lie askew atop their misshapen heads.
No scene is more ridiculous than encountering a member of this sub-specie in a struggle to assert some dignity.
Even the big words cannot salvage them, they traverse immense distances like the lost souls they are, a myriad of lost soles of their long suffering shoes in their wake.

A pole apart, both classes are still composed of identical ingredients:
Ignorance; Yes, nothing is more reflective of utter vacuum than the cranium of a lawyer. Once the layered mist of longwinded vocabulary blows away, it exposes the emptiness underneath.
In all other fields of human endeavour, they are aliens. They gape in utter idiocy, as the expert witness makes his depositions, true or false –they cannot decipher, they know no better.
In their pitiful state, they proclaim themselves Learned…brethren let us judge, is that not the Holy Book’s portrayal of a Fool? He who knows not and knows not that he knows not…
Of course the Lawyers never read the Good Book; they only swear by it… an act it prohibits.
The second ingredient is cowardice, ah! They have it in excess, these lawyers.
Try and get a handshake from one of them (mind to scrub your hands immediately afterwards) Their fingers are soft, sweaty stubs of non-warriors.
They hide behind the statute books and judicial precedents.

They have not the guts to reply to a  mere  slap from a fellow man, instead they run sniffling to the courts screaming ‘Assault, Assault!’ pointing accusing fingers and hiding behind Daddy’s silken gown, leaving the judgment to him.
A more unfeeling set you have never seen, when calamity befalls through an  accident and claims a life…instead of wailing their hearts out like honest folks do in emotional distress, the lawyer stares dry eyed and scribbles the list of torts and contributory liabilities ,corresponding liquidated and unliquidated damages, further forfeitures and penalties…
While we pray for the dead, they prey on their estate, the vultures!

I am working with a team of the most reputable scientists from various nations, we have isolated the pathogens and cultured the germs, we are making progress.
We shall soon come up with a fool-proof fumigant to chase this vermin from our air space, it shall be labeled ANARCHY.

I rest my thesis.

First Published in Thisday Newspapers: December 9, 2008