Idiot’s guide to beating that hangover

A hangover is optional, we all know. You don’t have to take that 10th shot. You’re aware, as you drunkenly upend that bottle of mineral water over your head, that you’re dehydrated and it would be wiser to actually drink the water. But you’re at a party and drenched-dancing is the new thing in Jamaican videos. You gyrate wetly until you pass out on the carpet.

When you wake up, you wish you hadn’t. You lie prostrate for a while and then wiggle slowly, oh so slowly to the fridge. With an amount of effort that seems herculean, you inch it open and pull out a jerry can of the finest, most beautiful liquid in the world. Water.

With every sip of you take, your body sings. Water is life, alcohol is war. Somebody comes into the kitchen, drops what they’re holding, screams and exits. You lift your torso slightly off the floor and look at your face mirrored on the tiles. If you’re a weak person, this is the point at which you cry. Your face. It’s terrible. Your swollen tongue is splayed over your lower lip and your eyes have quit.

How do you become normal again? How do you survive the hell that’s your own moral depravation?

Let us consider the wings on which hangovers come into our lives. Overconsumption and dehydration.

When you consistently pour punch or battery acid into your body, without allowing it the relief of water, your system becomes saturated. You forehead becomes shiny with the oils of intoxication that are oozing out of your pores. Drink less and drink more. Less intoxicant, more water. Water is the answer.

So assuming you’re the character described above, drag your body, slowly, carefully into the bathroom and turn on the shower. You don’t have to take your clothes off. Just lie there and feel peace.

If you have to be at work in a few hours, get dressed and lurch into office. Everybody understands your suffering, on account of them suffering your smell which is a combination of dead grapes and a resentful liver. Physical activity improves your circulation so the moment you can manage to lift your body out of your seat, head to the parking lot. Contort your body into positions that would shame yogis worldwide. This might trick the alcohol in your veins into circulating a bit more. If your headache is confounding your efforts, hold a bag of ice to it and proceed.

You look, smell and sound scary. Use that to get an edge, get some respect, y’know.  Address people in short, gravelly barks, like a dog with a dislocated voice box. Be indifferent to their surprise and/ or disapproval.

Drink all of the antioxidants. If you can’t bear to spend money constructively, which is why you’re feeling like a soggy sandwich right now, pluck hibiscus flowers and boil them in your tea. Or chew them.

React with shock and horror when your officemates make loud noises, like clearing their throats. When they laugh, take it personal. Make a perfect fool of yourself by delivering long, cutting lectures about the levels of happiness that are acceptable within a healthy corporate environment.

Hot, oh so hot.

The air around your face has become hot all of a sudden. Either the cat has breathed on you or some idiot has, for the third time tonight, pulled the windows shut. You don’t want to check, because if you find them closed, the rage. Oh the rage. Flicking on a light is out of the question because lights generate warmth plus you don’t want thieves and other night creatures to see your window light up invitingly. They are not welcome.

You try and remember whether or not you had a bath before you entered your bed, which you didn’t obviously because only grownups do that and you wouldn’t be on this page if you were well and truly grown. You hear what sounds like a talon tapping your roof and that is when it occurs to you that rain is beginning to fall. Yay!

Ten minutes later, the sky is having a fully-fledged quarrel with your roof. The rain must be beating the heat monsters out of the air into the ground, right? Right? Why are you still sweating then? How can it be raining outside and baking inside? And no, central heating is not to blame. You live in Uganda for heaven’s sake. You’re marinating in a pool of your own sweat. You must taste delicious.

Perhaps the house is digesting you.

Sorry about that. Here’s a guide to surviving the night heat.

That pillow: Every ten minutes, quickly lift your body off the bed, turn the pillow and then slowly place your head on the cooler side. Sigh with appreciation. Savour the cool, airy cotton. Pretend not to notice that it’s warming up until you start to feel sweat trickling out of your ear. Repeat till morning.

Blow: Get your significant other to blow on your skin. What did they think for better or worse meant? You are currently experiencing a ‘for worse’ moment. That you’ve turned into the kind of maniac who expects people to abandon their sleep to blow cool air at you is his or her ‘for worse’ moment. Suffer together. Joy cometh in the morning.

Go and bathe: Even if you have to take five baths. On a normal night, bathing that often is a sign of low self-esteem. It is a sign that you can’t stand your God given smell or that you don’t trust your deodorant, in which case you don’t believe in your deodorant choosing skills. Low self-esteem! Shower with conviction, with faith and hope that sleep is eagerlywaiting to attack your eyeballs maumau style the moment you step out of the shower.

Commando: Rid your body of all things unnatural. If you weren’t born with it, discard it. Then sprawl until all four points touch all the corners of your bed. This usually helps. If you share your bed, establish dominance by pushing your bedmate off, then establish your compassion by throwing the bed clothes on top of them.

If none of the above work, go outside and stare disapprovingly at the air.

A (not so) deep analysis of THUMBS.

Every human being is entitled to two thumbs. Whether or not they have them at birth depends entirely on the integrity of their genes. If the thumb fund is diverted, you end up with one or no thumbs.

Because they’re rebellious and prefer to hangout on their own, on a lower level than the rest, thumbs are the most likely of your fingers to be caught between stapler jaws, trapped by car doors, hit by hammers.

They come in the same shape, mostly. Sharp head, broad face, flat back. If your thumb has booty, youwant to report that to your doctor. Many butchers have flat headed thumbs, for obvious reasons.

Some of them are disjointed, giving them the ability to swivel wantonly inside their sockets like…strippers. Owners of stripper thumbs need to stop showing off because it is not a super power. It is being disabled. Get that, Jero?

There is this joke that was very popular in 2003 about a waitress who has a very sore thumb but can’t get the day off because her boss is mean. To soothe it, she sticks it into the soup bowls of the restaurant’s diners, until one of them notices and makes a very big fuss. To shame her and placate the customer, her boss shouts at her saying, “Why was your finger in the customer’s soup?!” She says, “My thumb is so unbearably sore that if I don’t stick it into soup, I’ll surely pass out from the pain”. “What about when you’re not carrying soup? How come you don’t pass out then?” to which she answers, “well, I stick my finger into the next best thing. My bum.” That was the joke. I swear. Thumbs have been the butt(s) of some really bad jokes.

You can do neat stuff with your thumbs like:

Twiddle them to seem like something out of Noddy and Friends. If you had a massive crush on Noddy as you were growing up, put your thumb up. You are awesome.

You can make political decisions with them i.e. voting and then flash the ink stain at your peers as a symbol of your patriotism. Their admiration makes up for how slowly the dumb stain fades away.

You can surreptitiously dislodge boogers from deep deep inside your trunk with quick flicks to the tip of your nose.

You can state your opinion like a bawss. It’s still cool to hold your thumb high in approval and jab the air in a violent downward motion when unimpressed.

You can confuse opponents and sidestep violence by pointing thumbs instead of index fingers at them. It’s less offensive and more random. Nobody wants to engage in fisticuffs with unpredictable people. Thumb pointing is two steps away from hair chewing which is a half a skip away from back kicking.

Are you too lazy/poor to buy your own breakfast gnuts, mandazi, gonja? Do you rely on other people’s plates for morning nourishment? Does everybody hate you for it? Score begging points by wrapping a bandaid around your thumb. When people think you’re hurt, they’re more generous with their food.

 

Let’s dissect Easter.

What?

Easter is a time of joy, a time to press palm to chest and massage the slight ache that’s been caused by sudden explosions of good cheer. It is a time to celebrate life by eating and laughing as much as possible over the four day weekend.

Easter is the way some people misspell the name Esther. I have been informed by the internet that the intelligence of a person cannot be gauged by their ability or lack thereof to spell. But I really hate misspellings.

Easter is also a time to openly obsess over animals like rabbits and animal products like eggs. From when I started watching TV i.e. from when I was 32months old, Easter bunnies and Easter eggs have filled the screen at this time of the year. I don’t get it. Do the rabbits get eaten? Are the eggs raw but coated with chocolate? Or just egg shaped chocolate? And what the dickens is nutmeg? sharrap. I am aware of the existence of Google.

Most importantly, Easter celebrates the beating, killing, entombing and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. If you have no idea who he is, beera mu class.

We Christians believe that while everybody is entitled to eternal life, you only get to enjoy yours if you believe in Jesus. To avoid being Zanzi roast pork after you die, you’d berra look your life over head to your nearest Christian worship center.

When?

Easter happens every April. Or every beginning of spring. Or two weeks after the last time you visited your kids in boarding school (first term). Or every time Bwaise’s residents have to buy floaters for their children and rafts to be able to leave the house.

Where?

All over the world. Even before Christianity, people were celebrating harvest festivals and cavorting with rabbits and chicken fetuses. Right? Tom Robbins, that heretic has upset all my good beliefs.

Why?

Why has Tom Robbins, that heretic, upset all my good Christian beliefs? Because he’s convincing and funny and attractive and his writing rocks. He’s a feminist and a lover of religion. Or is he? He seems to harbor all these Christianity busting notions. But this has nothing to do with Easter. This is me shamelessly rambling so that I can beat my word count.

Who?

N/A. Unless there are people actually called Easter. It’s a holiday. In plan B we are not desperate enough to start anthropomorphizing holidays.

How?

The way you celebrate Easter depends on what you think it is. If you’re a Christian, the right thing to do is go to church, be filled with happiness that your savior king died and rose again, then go home and eat a lot.

If you’re a bunny-egg person, go on doing whatever it is you do. Do trees get decorated? Man, I don’t know. Ask an American near you.

If you’re atheist, start the marination early. Tenderize your flesh with intoxicants so that when roasting time comes, you’ll be all soft and delicious.

DON’T PANIC around me.

Panicking is the act of collecting all the fear, paranoia and silliness that your body contains and expressing it at the people, animals and objects around you. It is the same thing as publicly shitting your pants or standing on a table in a crowded room to vomit.

It is not good form to panic because when you put your madness on display, you make everybody much more uncomfortable than you are. This is especially bad for the people that don’t care about you and your problems. While it stands to reason that you shouldn’t care about other peoples’ feelings pertaining to your wild and scary behavior because they don’t care about you, remember that humans are violent and can tranquilize you or hit you on the back of your head with shoes, or punch you in the chest, anything really to make you quit panicking in their space.

To protect you from your own lack of decorum and quietness in times of trouble, here is a list of situations in which you must cease and desist from all forms of panic:

House robbery: If, in the night, you are roused by sinister sounds approaching your bedroom, don’t panic. Screaming omubi! Omubi! will firstly, annoy the thief, because not even thieves like to be called thieves. Your shouts, far from bringing help, will scare the neighbors into firmly bolting their doors. If ever in this situation, send all your neighbors a series of text messages, with many exclamation marks to impress on them the gravity of things. If these texts are grammatically sound and coherent, your neighbors will burst in just before you get shot in the face and save the day.

Soulja boy and Kony: Many ugly things are born into the world every day. Most times, we remain happily ignorant and therefore unaffected. But occasionally, these twisted gargoyles will look for you and ram themselves down your ears; for example, that disgusting, full of pupu track that Soulja boy has just released called Stop Kony. In this song, he bleats the words stop Kony about 5000 times to a beat that sounds like dubstep dying of constipation. Before this track, I was indifferent towards this idiot musician but now, I have to include a rant about him in everything I write for the next five years.

Farting in public: This has happened to everybody. You’re walking towards a sexy person in the street, you fart. You’re walking in front of your uncle, you fart. You’re dozing in a lecture room, you fart. The only thing for it is to quickly convince yourself that you’re not the culprit. Somebody, anybody else, around you is the one that did it. No. No this doesn’t work. Farting in public is horrible. Panic about it.

One situation, in which you should panic, is if you’re being mugged outside a bar or your house or anywhere where help will come quickly. Don’t fight fiercely and quietly like I did once upon a time. The bloody thief will try to eat your fingers. Shout like your voice box just split itself into boom boxes.

How to grin through ulcers (OR brokness in January)

Brokness: Definition. #1.When you’ve got nothing in your wallet but echoes. #2. One of two circumstances in which anorexia becomes acceptable, the second being when you have a violently greedy housemate; then the anorexia is a survival measure.

Dan Barongo will sue my ass one day

January is the official month of brokness. Everybody knows this. One of the reasons that adults are so determined to have a great time in December is that they know what’s coming. I don’t think there’s a way of surviving the wave of poverty that sweeps the nation during the first month of every year. Even if you save in anticipation of this horribleness, the money will find ways of wriggling out of your careful grip and you will be dirt broke.

I hadn’t expected to be poor last month. According to my careful calculations, moneys were supposed to hit my account on the fifth of January. This gave me the liberty to CUT THROUGH what money I had like a scissor through butter, a knife through a grasshopper, a sickle through morning grass. I raided every shop that I knew for selling pretty things and discovered others. In summary, I exploded my finances all over Uganda, and all was good in my life. Happiness abounded.

This was the state of things until page 5 of 366 came and passed with no notable change in my depleted account. “Huh.”, I said. 7th came along and I kwasa kwasad myself to the bank teller, happy about the funds that were going to grace my life. To my dismay, there was nothing.

On the 10th, I walked into my bank with a tough look on my face, a look that said, “If there’s money in the bank, so help it God” but alas, there was none. It was when I phoned the “traitorous fools” to shout at them for standing between me and my right to spend that I was informed that my money had in fact arrived, several weeks earlier.

I walked away from the bank cackling with the hysteria of the financially doomed, just cracking up, trying not to be thrown into the road by the force of my raucous laughter, helplessness and a very comic variety of despair. It hit me- what had happened to that money. I had unknowingly quaffed it. I had exchanged it for fleeting enjoyment and now hunger had come to collect.

On gmail, I said to my BFF, “Kampire, I may as well be dead.” “Because you’re broke?” she asked. “Yea. Maybe I should start killing people for money again. Alternatively, I could go to random restaurants and relieve strangers of their meals with a sharp knife”. She didn’t discourage me.

To my workmate, I said, “Remember how in the morning you said you’d do anything for me to do both yours and my work for the day? How about you give me some money?” Him: LOL. No.

And finally, like every helpless tween on the planet, I said to my father, “Hi daddy. You know I love you, especially the way you’re always so willing to give your children support when they need it. The Bible says fathers give their children loaves of bread when they ask for things to eat, and not stones. I’d really like some bread shaped like 50 bob notes, thanks; which is how I survived death by stupidity.

I come to February skinny and contrite, with strong resolutions and a story.

Step aside, chocolate. Cuteness is the new solution to everything.

“The only rule is don’t be boring and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.” That’s right. I just quoted Paris Hilton at you. There are times when she makes lots of sense, or maybe it was just that one time. I don’t google her enough to know.

The essentialness of cuteness cannot be stressed enough, mostly if you want things to fall into place for you as smoothly as petals off a rose that is being roughly shaken.

Those S.V peoples can draw, eh?

It’s just as much a weapon as intimidating eyes and strong teeth and a black belt in judo. If your genes haven’t blessed you with features that make people’s eyes drool, don’t despair, for with the right combination of clothing and face paint, you can catch up.

Babies are born looking adorable to counter the violent feelings that they inspire in adults. Cuteness is their only defense against the likelihood of their caretakers karate kicking them as a direct result of their loud, insatiable, dramatic ways.

Some girls have even made it into a life philosophy. For it to work properly though, the girl has to be as cute as a teacup pig, as a bunny in drag, as a five year old in his mother’s shoes.

When she turns up with five annoying girlfriends to further delay the time that you’ll be partaking of her goodies, you pay that bill with a smile in your heart, because she is cute. When she soaks all your white shirts with all your black jeans in her attempt to appear ‘helplessly spoiled’ and ‘naturally unable to do housework’, you forgive her, because with your big shirt hanging over her sweet frame, she’s the cutest thing in the history of ever.

Take Sarah. Sarah went shopping at a boutique in equatorial mall manned by one of the cutest specimens on the globe. Strong shoulders, tiny waist, nice calves, amazing teeth and an endearing tendency to hug her customers more than once one they’re inside her shop.

It was a good shopping trip, with Sarah finding many gorgeous clothes, paying for them and flying back to office on a boda boda. Two hours later, she received a frantic call. “Oh nooo”, the voice on the other end whined. I’ve looked for the money every where. Could you have taken it? It’s not anywhere in my shop.” To which Sarah said, “Um. I have no idea.”

What was to be done? Was this shopper supposed to harden her heart and deafen her ears towards this cute, potentially shady girl? Of course not. Nobody but a total cretin that was brought up in the buttocks of a warthog can be unkind to a cutie. So she said, “Ok. When can I see you to pay you again?” and that was that.

There are theories all over the internet about how cute people are more likeable and how they’re more likely to succeed because everybody wants them to be happy. Well, of course they’re true. Who doesn’t want a cute president?

Even Japanese anime probably wouldn’t have become so popular if the girls in it weren’t svelte, large eyed, watermelon bosomed and tiny voiced.

Idiot’s guide to surviving post holiday fat(terness).

Two weeks after the holiday season and people are still fat. Two whole weeks and faces haven’t stopped widening, guts haven’t stopped trying to out-expand balloons and entumbwes have gone on getting chunkier and wobblier. This makes me feel:  amusement, disdain, kinship, joy and most of all, surprise that Ugandans, including myself, haven’t grown snouts, spouted tails and thick body hair as a result of all the livestock that we’ve consumed ever since we were set free from employment mbu Christmas break.

Gaining more weight in four weeks than you have ever carried is inconveniencing to say the least. You start to avert your eyes and mutter “poser!” under your breath whenever you see people heading for the stairs instead of hopping into the elevator with you. You begin to be paranoid that your new butt is hogging more space in the lift than is decent and then get defensive about it. “So what if my behind looks like a sofa? ‘twas the season to get fatter!”. You discover a deep hatred of joggers and a new tolerance for the phrase ‘phat and fabulous’ and yet that is a really annoying phrase.

What solutions are there to this new state of things? Not new year resolutions which are a waste of note paper. Skipping will take forever to yield results and you don’t have the motivation to make a gym schedule and stick with it or you wouldn’t be reading idiot’s guides. Whatever shall you do? This is what:

Boil your food: The only drawback here is that boiled food sucks. Your enthusiasm for eating in general can be so diminished by the insipid lumps in front of you that really you’re not eating anymore. You’re lost in a game in which your fork is Godzilla, your plate is his cave and he’s throwing a tantrum in which all his property get’s destroyed. Also, the likelihood of food attacking your face is higher when it’s boiled because it’s not weighed down by grease. If you’ve never felt the caress of lukewarm, watery soup on your cornea, know that it feels really disgusting.

Walk to work. Every time you hail a boda to haul you up the hill to your office, you give your stomach permission to bulge and sag. Unless you’re pregnant and/ or really comfortable with a huge droopy belly, this isn’t cool. So the next time the taxi drops you at your stage, stretch, walk to the kasoli woman, buy your breakfast gonja and walk to work.

Get comfortable. Because the holiday is over and the black hole that is school/work stress is yawning open to receive you, you’re going to return to normal. Your neck will deflate and your fingers will stop resembling sausages. In the meantime, if you have cool friends, have fun. Turn their disastrous figures into laughs to take attention away from your own shapelessness. Say things like: Hey Albo, your butt looks pregnant. Or Shut up, Martha or I’ll pop you. Or Linda, you look like a condom full of odi. Things like that. By bobbing up and down with laughter, you all get some exercise. Also, your remark might convince them to take on sports or green tea or both.


Growing PAINS.

If you spent your childhood in Uganda, you know that there’s no place for shyness and sensitivity here. We manufacture the evilest, most creative bullies and all the playgrounds have too few functioning slides and swings. In my hood, you could only get away with your sweet, flowery, unassertive ways if you had a violent older sibling who watched you all the time to make sure that nobody stole your lindazi or if you had a deck and many Disney cartoons at your house. Otherwise it was necessary to act like a little gangster.

I didn’t have older siblings and the only tapes at my house were The Ten Commandments and Alice in Wonderland, so I had to work hard at perfecting a tough façade. Being naturally demure, this was terribly hard and confusing. Gangster Apenyo would come out in the most inappropriate places like Sunday school and make me loud and argumentative while sweet; sensitive me would wait for when I most needed to be tough to make an appearance- like on the playground where kids were always trying to cheat each other out of swing time. Occasionally, I’d get things right and yell, “Get off the swing or I’ll spit in your nose!” but most of the time, I was trying hard to wear the right personality at the right time.

Years later, in the world of grownups, things are still confusing. Most people expect you to be demure and accommodating because you’re female and call you aggressive if you so much as have an opinion. For example:

#1: Boy says something; Girl maintains eye contact with the floor and giggles. Boy: I conclude that this chick is cool and not intimidating at all. Will you marry me, chick?

#2: Boy says something; Girl makes an equally witty/withering/clever/retort. Boy: Why do you have opinions? You’ll never find love with all those opinions of yours. You even have penis envy! (This has happened)

Excuse me? When did opinions become male? Anyway, it’s taken me five years to reach a comfortable level of femininity and it doesn’t include being demure, poised or even sensible. Being inappropriate, bubbly and awkward is worlds more fun. If you don’t agree, you need to watch Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, fall in love with her and be influenced by this love to agree with me. Because I don’t have the space to map my seriously entertaining journey to womanhood, which was my intention when I began this article, I’ll give just the first milestone. Step.

For the longest time, my feet were two shades lighter than the rest of my body. Why? Because they always had at least three films of dirt on them. It must have had something to do with the way I walked. This didn’t bother me until the Agataliko nfu fu incident. I was getting out of class one Saturday when I saw the love of my life (of the week) approaching me. I’d spent the whole morning in that class so I’m not sure how they managed to accumulate so much dirt, but as he got closer, his focus shifted from my grinning face to my feet. He didn’t say anything vocally but the look on his face yelled, “Wow. What dirty feet. I have only just realized how bad they always look. I can’t handle taking a girl with such shady feet for a walk around the school. My self esteem isn’t sufficient. The shame will kill me.” and he turned around and went back to hostel.

This is when I discovered wet wipes.

‘Tiiiis the season to get nasty. Falalalala-lala-lala.

There are certain words and phrases that automatically lend credence to the sentences they appear in, for example, credence.  The phrase it turns out makes its user sound like they have a special laboratory where they go to form all their smart, respectable opinions. E.g. As it turns out, the sky is yellow.

Anything that comes after the human condition seems common to everybody, doesn’t it? For example: Loneliness is the human condition. Greed is the human condition. Blue eyelashes are the human condition.

The desire to name flaws and shame their owners is also the human condition. We all, at some point, feel we know precisely how somebody else should alter themselves and we’re very vocal about it. Sometimes, like when we want to win arguments, we even name imaginary flaws. Because it’s the end of the year, many families are going to be stuck in the same place for the first time in months and this means that insults are going to fly.

Here’s a guide to guarantee that you always sound like you have a nice flavor of brain and reduce your opponent to a trembling, floor-hugging pile of annoyingness.

Listen carefully to your adversary’s insult and then throw it back at them word for word. Be sure to keep your face straight while you do this, or else you won’t be capitalizing on the irritating-ness of your act. You can go as far as copying their body language, making sure to add muchuzi. Like, if they’re waving their hands around, wave your entire body.

Who says your quarrel-mate has to understand you? Be the Twista of insults. Loudly fire three hot ones and then start making random noises. For example: you look like a spinster goat with two humps and three legs, buh buh black sheep, kanankanyi, giraffe fool!!

Vulgarity, unless skillfully used, will water down your insult. It is the last refuge of the loser. When you’re winning a fight, you don’t need the shock value that expletives offer. You can just finish your opponent off with witty and insightful invective. Also, very few people are thrown off by bad language nowadays. Someone can easily sneer and say something like “your head is so big, you look like a question mark” and just like that, you’ll have lost.

Have you read those novels where the writer goes, “He unleashed his dangerously quiet voice and Assumptah found herself caught between trembling and wincing”? Speaking quietly, apart from freaking your foe out, is a very effective way of expressing maturity and therefore, dominance. Remember how Batman in The Dark Knight sounded? Like an upside down tortoise being dragged slowly over one of Komamboga’s roads. So the next time you find yourself about to say, “I will eat your lower intestine if you don’t shut your cavernous trap” remember to not shout.

Speaking in a low voice also frustrates your foe by making them strain to hear you. It’s the most annoying thing to be quarreling with somebody who makes you go “pardon? Eh? What was that? Increase volume naawe!”