Monthly Archives: June 2013

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How to dodge a pothole

Merrily driving along what we use as roads in Kampala, you will tunnel down many a pothole. For you who drink coffee while driving to work, this may cause your drink to spill on the lower half of your body. This is not a good thing seeing as coffee, assuming it was not made in China, is hot. It may scald you and subsequently turn you into a ball of curse words. A day can only go downhill from there. And to think it all went under when you tunneled down a pothole. This is where this column rides in on a unicorn, or on a boda boda if you will, to save you. Now would be a good time to play victory music and usher in overzealous, smiley queen dancers

How can you avoid the elephant that is the Ugandan pothole? How do you thwart its well-laid plans to ruin your day and your life in general? How do you wag the proverbial finger in its face and say “No, no no, no”? How do you stick out your tongue and make faces at it till it feels compelled to shrink in size? How do you roll on the carpeted floor laughing at it till it gathers its offspring and moves to a small village path where the villagers who tunnel down it aren’t carrying coffee? This columnist, dear reader, visited and communed with several potholes to come up with a comprehensive guide for you. It was a dirty and unpleasant job but incisive, paradigm-shift-causing articles like this one require that level of research and dedication.

First things first, when you spot the pothole from a distance, begin by telling yourself that you are its boss. Chant this every few seconds as the distance between you two reduces. This amazing technique serves the dual purpose of waking up your brain as well as releasing endorphins that kick in in normal human beings when they realize that they are lord of something. It also has a bonus side effect of making you aspire to be a boss. Research hasn’t yet revealed what the technique does for bosses

Second, when you get to the pothole, take a deep breath-the kind you take when going underwater and you are uncertain about how long it’ll be before you come up for air. We will pick up from here next week.

How to handle spam

Do you ever receive those emails with blue skies, waterfalls and yellow sunflowers with a feel-good message that has a warning at the end; if you don’t forward this to 15 of your friends within the next three seconds, your face will fall off? Do you usually immediately cringe, snap your laptop shut, fight a panic attack, reach for your phone, call your trusted friend Shaniqua and ask for advice?

Does Shaniqua tell you to forward it immediately because the last time she received one of those emails and did not forward it her hair piece fell off while she was happily crossing Kampala road at that spot next to Constitutional square? Do you immediately forward the message to 16 friends; with the extra one added just to be sure that Shaniqua’s misfortune doesn’t befall you? Well this column is here for you. And Shaniqua. But mostly you since you still have all your hair.

This technique of getting messages to go viral isn’t new; ancient Romans used it to get contestants for gladiator matches. They would send out mail using their mailman, who was usually clad in leather sandals (sandals that date back to this time in our history can be seen even on some feet in Kampala today.

This amazing fact had to be shared). The mailman would get the message and go to a random homestead. There, he would issue strict instructions; spread this message to fifteen other people in one day or else you will have to come and battle lions and other bare-chested, sword-carrying, Russel-Crowe-ish individuals for a chance to kiss the emperor’s ring. No one wanted to battle lions and all those other things typed up there.

So they’d spread the message fast. And the recipients of the message would in turn spread it too. This is true stuff. The technique has clearly evolved over the ages seeing as the leather-sandal-wearing mailmen were replaced by computers and Gmail. The penalty for non-conformance has been replaced by something even more sinister; your mind’s images. Telling you “Don’t do this and you’ll fight lions” is one thing, telling you “Don’t do this and something bad will happen” is lighting a matchstick and throwing it into a field of dry grass.

Your mind will conjure up several ghastly “something bads” and you will end up forwarding the message. Don’t be a wuss; forward the message only if you want to