In the Land of the Brave.

8. In the Land of The Brave



How do we measure bravery in modern times? First, why don’t we define what bravery is not. Am I brave if I take a bullet for my girlfriend? Or if I stand up to a bully who is three times my size?

If you answered yes to any of these questions. You are wrong. Those people are plain stupid. The bullet guy could have just grabbed the girl and pulled her out of the way. The bullied kid could also have run and attacked the bully with a weapon [a stick preferably, easier to wield] when he was alone. So yes they acted stupidly the first time.

Let me define bravery for you. Bravery is:

  • When after having been thrashed mercilessly by your older sibling for calling them names. You call them that name again as they walk away. Pure guts that.
  • Sneaking into a neighbour’s compound to go get a friend’s ball after you kicked it there. Conveniently forgetting the fact that the neighbour’s ridgebacks are loose.
  •  Or mustering courage and puffing your chest to walk all the way to your crush who is inconveniently located at the other end of the playground to give her a lollipop. With your friends watching to see if she takes it.

You might wonder why kids feature in most of the definitions. They actually are the bravest. Too ignorant to be scared.

Take this for instance. In Junior High school, we had this teacher who always wore a beanie hat. No matter the occasion, he always had it on. The hat was this faded red thing. Rumors sprang up about why he wore the hat.

Some said he had a big sore on his head, others a boil. One guy even said the hat was part of his head, and that he could never take it off. Needless to say, this sparked a whole new line of argument. Some believed some didn’t. Kids being kids, some began devising means to verify the theory of the head being a hat or not.

One boy called Nyansah [in case you are wondering, he didn’t act his name], said he would  solve the mystery the next day. The next day happened to be a Friday. He said he was going to just snatch the hat and run home. His reasoning was that by Monday, it would all have been forgotten. Mr. Holy [that was his name]  was really short by the way. Grabbing hold of the hat will be an easy feat for Nyansah.

Thinking back I wonder why we even bothered. This teacher was one of the best cane wielders in the school. There was this thing that he always did, whether boy or girl he always had four strong boys lay you out on a desk. They then grabbed hold of your limbs to prevent you from thrashing about. As if that wasn’t enough, he always spun the cane around before delivering a hit. Suffice to say he was feared. There was also this story about a boy’s parents threatening to have Mr. Holy ‘Take care of him’. That was if his grades didn’t improve. The boy, in tears pleaded with his parents. He became a straight A student in no time. That guy had been one of the best ‘Odeeshie’ [won’t show any sign of pain when caned] in the school.

Friday did arrive. We all in the class couldn’t wait for Nyansah to make his move. Many times throughout the day he pretended to grab the hat and stopped. He had an audience, he was playing it for all it was worth. He had made a game out of the pantomime. He was the ‘star boy’ that day. The girls were all over him.

Halfway through the day, Mr. Holy came to make an announcement. School was closing early today, the teachers had a meeting.

No sooner had the words left his mouth than we erupted into cheers. It was spontaneous. we hadn’t planned it. But it provided Nyansah with the right opportunity to make his move. He saw it too.

Making a mad dash from the back, he jumped and grabbed hold of the hat. But it wasn’t to be, the hat wouldn’t come off. The whole class had quietened down then. We all watched in silence. Why wouldn’t the hat come off though?

Holy, with reflexes born of years of catching students running from his beatings, had caught Nyansah’s hand without even looking.

In a stern voice, he asked the class prefect to get him Cobra. Cobra was this special cane which he kept soaked in kerosene in the staff room. It was reserved for the worst offenders. With cobra in hand and still holding on to Nyansah, he said: ‘four strong boys’. And Nyansah laughed.

Now you understand why I said kids are the bravest.

Author: OsugyaniAbrantie


5 thoughts on “In the Land of the Brave.”

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