The mobile phone as your next-of-kin!
IN the beginning, man was created for friendship, association, kinship and communal relationship upon which the whole essence of humanity was expected to have both vertical and horizontal affinities. In the course of evolving development, even the most meanest of all creatures, man and beast alike, came to the inevitable realisation for intra- and inter-cohabitations, because none can unendingly afford to be an island to itself.
Perhaps this is one basic reason there exist different terms for groups of mankind and their far-reaching callings vis-à-vis animals in their own peculiarities. Such characterised nomenclature include: an army of soldiers, a blush of boys, a bevy of ladies, a faith of merchants, a pity of prisoners; a pride of lions, a herd of goats, a peep of chickens, a flight of doves, a cloud of flies/insects…on and on!
Coming nearer to the home front, man, in generic terms, seeks solace in all imaginable succour. For some, it is in their earthly possession, espousal partnership, family belongings, ideological affinity; others, quite unashamedly, go for their faith beliefs. By extension, a man (or woman)’s ultimate trust is basically defined by the sort of his or her carefully selected next of kin; be it in biological, material, immaterial or otherwise reasoning.
Nevertheless, in our contemporary age where weirdness, unconventional and shocking vices are now ways of life, a modern device called the global system mobile (GSM) piece is increasingly becoming a widely adopted next-of-kin for some folks. In their habitual mannerisms, the seeming regulatory ‘guides’ are subtleties of ‘harmless, colourless’ lies and other antics of devil-daring deceptions. Usually, the universally induced five instances (what, where, when, why and how) of falsehoods mean absolutely nothing to them as they break every set-rule against lying!
So closely-knit is this act of lying that peculiar liars speak from both ends of their mouths; and in quantifiable measures, three quarter-’truths’/falsehoods and one quarter-truths! At their ‘peak moments,’ their locational places of calls and receipts are fluidly decided by the lying/integrity ratings of those so involved, because while many resort to ‘geographic oscillations’(i.e. a call in Abuja can be said to be ‘taking place’ in Abidjan and another in London can be ‘holding’ in Los Angeles). However, others who are so mindful of their character-consciousness still prefer to stay by the rules of straightforwardness by doing exactly what they say.
On purpose, it’s like a round-robin game where all want to be full participants without anyone being a left-behind spectator. Apparently operating in its own set-ploys of intrigues and deceits, it is only those caught in the spiral webs of lying that are indeed liars while others yet on the loose-fringe are defiantly active on the service of lying tricks.
A thrilling account of this typical scenario once happened in Africa’s most boisterous city, Lagos, in the early 2000s shortly after the introduction of the GSM device between two long-lost friends, who on just joining the so-privileged few on acquiring some handsets, decided to call each other. In reality both fellows were residents in Lagos. While the first caller claimed to be talking from New York, the other chap rhapsodised to be in Johannesburg when in fact both were in the thick crowd of Oshodi Oke!
After having exhausted their lying theatrics, both now mounted a typical Lagos aged molue bus from the different entry and exit points and standing in the middle rail of the overcrowded bus, both friends were so twisted for space during the fare collection period that they were faced with each other… to their utter shocking shame!
Or of a similar instance which involved a trio of the blind, deaf and dumb in a riotous marketplace on a market day. Initially, it was the pair of the deaf and dumb that had the perceptive advantage of all the immediacy of their environment since both were clearly sighted and for this, the duo teasingly told their third colleague that they were in a motor park. Not long afterwards, coded words went round of an impending invasion by some formidable enemy forces and it was the blind but audibly sharp fellow who received this alertness, through a call from a friend from yonder, to the saving grace of all-at-large.
On deep reflection, he who had not lied on his mobile telephone since its usage, let the fellow step forward to cast the first sling of innocence because of the obvious or inherent temptation for quasi-truths!
Even at that, by some historical account, the mechanism now tagged GSM telephoning dates back to the era of the European War 2 of 1939-45 when troops of the Allied Forces on the warfront had to pick forwarded, needed reconnaissance messages on what to do accordingly against their Axis Forces. After the end of the aforementioned war-of-attrition and over time, the somewhat communication ‘war booty’ was further explored to the point of being turned around, after the war, to a now widely commercial success, on a global scale, in the outbursts of Nokia, Samsung, Techno, et al products.
As if responding to the several demands of the existing information and communication technology, the GSM maddening rave has become so universal and irresistible that the mobile handset is guardedly treated by virtually all residents of the 21st global village as a close, ubiquitous and penetrating ‘trusted next-of-kin.’ It has been raised to a height of a needed air of sustenance, quite inevitably, without which one’s sense of living is seemingly trapped in sheer darkness and worthless irrelevance.
For some, their mobile telephone is taken as their regulatory heartbeat and inseparable confidant and what they cannot ordinarily discuss with or divulge to just anyone is a mere plaything with their trusted ally discreetly stored in its memory log. Whereas, at the effortless touch of a screen key note, the entire biodata, vital signatures, financial capability, ‘guarded secrets’ cum related attached hints of its owner’s life story are within the reach of those who so dare to know and by extension made accessible to the ridiculous curiosity, critique and consumption of a cynical audience, possibly bent on spite or scandal.
Indeed, is it not the scandalous side of the GSM telephoning that prompts instantaneous loading of unfortunate incidents like accident scenes or other tragedies rather than rescue the victims at hand or the spilt-second speed of bad news coverage? In the real sense of the acronym: news – north, east, west and south – is only news if it is devastatingly viral in content, heart-rending in casualties and unbelievably bloody in cardinal calculations!
Coming to being a next-of-kin of some sort, it may take high level of trust and maturity before any spouses can release their telephones to their partners for a brief moment of encounter (browsing, text messaging or assisted calls) because of the ‘guarded and incriminating contents’ loaded on the magical oracle called mobile telephone. A once-reputed case of a husband was in the bath and in the course of this, his mobile set ‘needed his attention’. Out of sheer courtesy, his supposed wifely alter ego went for it only for the man to dash out, soap and all, to snatch it off her grip!
By inference and on applied wisdom, when next you sight a fellow—male or female, young or old, rich or deprived, lettered or not—engagingly busy on his or her preferred network, just watch the body language and countenance during the conversations before you venture to fraternize. For, if these displayed antics match their owner’s consequential gesticulations, may be all is well or if not, advisedly keep a safe distance as you may be at the receiving end of some unpleasantness afterward. Afterall, you are supposed to be a mere acquaintance at that particular moment and not a trusted next-of-kin like the ever handy handset!