Leave The Wahala Alone
One of my favorite memories from my childhood was this skit by a famous Nigerian actor named James Iroha aka Gringory of Masquerade fame. The short of it is that he rolled up on a house, and knocked on the front door. A young lady comes out and greets him.
"Yes, can I help you?"—She was cordial, yet guarded.
"I understand this is Mr. Trouble's residence. I have an appointment with him right now"—said Gringory.
Her face changed and she backed up toward the door—"No, no, no...Mr. Trouble is sleeping. He is not taking any appointments right now. Please, go and come back tomorrow, abeg. Please." She closed the door.
Gringory was not hearing it. He got agitated, and banged on the door—"I have an appointment with Trouble, and I came here on time to meet with him. He must keep this appointment. Open this door o. I have an appointment!" And he banged on the door some more.
The young lady poked her head out the window from up top, and said "Listen, he is asleep. He doesn't want to meet you right now. Just go. Leave Trouble alone." Her head poked back into the house.
You could see the intensity and building aggravation on Gringory's face. This was getting out of control. His appointment was standing him up, and he was not having it. He banged on the door even more loudly, yelling and shouting about his appointment.
In the middle of his assault on the door, it opened abruptly and a humongous bobo stood over Gringory. "You want to meet with Mr. Trouble, eh?"
Yes, Gringory said, without flinching.
Mr. Trouble brandished a machete, scraped it on the ground, pointed it at Gringory. "Ok, time for your appointment with Trouble!!".
Gringory took off, "I'm sorry, Trouble. Please leave me, Trouble". For the rest of the skit, Trouble chased Gringory all across the city; under the bridges, across the highway, in the sewer, through the market, into the police station, across the lake. Gringory got in a cab, ordered the cab driver to drive fast, fast...the cab driver turned around, and it was Trouble himself.
You get the picture.
Seneca said in Moral Letters:
I don't agree with those who plunge headlong into the middle of the flood and who, accepting a turbulent life, struggle daily in the great spirit with difficult cricumstances. The wise person will endure that, but won't choose it—choosing to be at peace, rather than at war."
I have never understood folks who like to find trouble. You hear of significant others who just start arguments, just because. People who burrow into rabbit holes looking for drama with their neighbors or co-workers. Adrenaline addicts that climb hundred story buildings and take selfies of them hanging off the top with no harness. You go on social media and post nonsense.
Knock, knock, knocking on Trouble's door.
Some folks just love wahala, and that is a subscription I am not paying for. When Trouble asks me how I am doing, I turn around and walk in the other direction, telling over my shoulder that my calendar is full. It is such a waste of time and energy to go looking for trouble, just because. I am not a pacifist, but this Igbo proverb has always stuck with me (paraphrasing):
"If you wake up in the morning and a chicken starts to chase you, run because you don't know if it grew teeth overnight."
See me see trouble o.
Don't chase the wahala, or the wahala will chase you, and it runs faster than you.