School was all fine and dandy. We were taught all kinds of cool things like all that stuff about logarithms and how to find the area of a tetrahedron. These are all very useful life skills that we undoubtedly use every waking day of our lives. No single day goes by without us running into tetrahedrons that make us stop and try to calculate their area. Much as school covered a whole lot of useful stuff, there are still a number of things that ought to have been taught to us, to prepare us better for ‘the real world’.

Handling taxi conductors

Taxis are nice places to meet people you’ll never meet again in your life. They are also great places to show you just how unprepared school left you. After your awesome trip from crowded town towards your peaceful abode, you pay the taxi fare and you want to get out of the taxi. Since you are at the back of the taxi, you squeeze past a few people, go under an armpit, gently nudge a goat out of the way and disembark. The conductor then hands you Shs400 less than what your change should be. School doesn’t prepare you for this. You are well-dressed; the purple shoes you are wearing did not come cheap. How exactly are you supposed to man-handle the evil conductor man for your change? How much is too little to shake-down the evil man for?

Handling tear gas

The average Ugandan will face tear gas three times before they are fifteen. I have no data to back that fact but my research team is out there doing the rounds. So with tear gas being a part of our reality, why aren’t we prepared for it? When walking down the street whistling your favorite Marc Anthony song and suddenly mayhem breaks out and tear gas is fired, what do you do? How do you run without looking like one of the miscreants? Do you kind of sashay as you run? Do you try to run stylishly? How do you flee while clearly distinguishing yourself as a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen? We need these things taught to us in school.

Handling security guards

A security guard is that person who has permission to grope you before granting you access to premises. The guards in Uganda take offence very easily.

“Sir, there’s nothing in the bag. See. (Unzipping the bag)”

“You think I cannot unzip for myself? You think I did not go to school?”

“Good morning Sir”

“What’s so good about the morning? You think I can’t see that it’s a good morning? You think I didn’t go to school?”

We need to be given skills on how to keep security personnel happy. Do we bow down? Kneel?

Published on Sunday October 2, 2011

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