0419: The evolution of my Birthday groove

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yesterday was my birthday. You could describe it as what 'Slay Queens' of Instagram would call a 'Slayage'.

It was awesome.

But my birthday did not always used to be such a positive affair.

Let me share with you the true story of the metamorphosis of my birthday groove.

(Grab your fish biscuits)


You see... my birthday happens to fall around Easter. Sometimes, before. Sometimes, after.

In quite some cases, I had my birthday nailed to the Cross, with the countless sins Jesus had to die for. Yes... my birthday has also heralded the worst of all death.

In such cases, I was not even allowed to eat puff-puff.


Because we had to wait till the resurrection from the grave to eat the chicken. By which time everyone had forgotten my birthday. And we all just focused on Easter instead.

(You would think that was more than enough suffering for one child to bear, abi??)


My birthday also happened to always fall during the 2nd term holidays. So during the school terms, I would watch kid in kid out be one day celebrities on their birthdays.

You know how you were a star that one day, and no one wrote your name on the list of noisemakers for that day?? My name made the list every day of the school year, with no retreat, no surrender.

So I figured boarding secondary school would end the misery.

Alas, the trauma awaiting me there was on a different level....


My secondary school turned out to have a solemn ritual for birthdays. (Hello ex-commandos!)

You would lay your bed in immaculate white to announce that you were ready to receive gifts, in return for sharing your birthday goodies ... ranging from doughnut and orange-drink, to (in rare cases) plates of home-made rice.

Your birthday could make you. Or break you, if:
1. You did not receive any gifts.
2. You received only cheap gifts - such as stale yellow garri. Or bread.
3. Having laid your bed as white so that you received gifts, you did not create 'the List', and share birthday munchies appropriately.

The days leading to your birthday... people began to be 'nice' to you. Offering to help you iron your house-wear. To save a seat for you in the dining-hall. Give you one or two buckets of water. Even make your hair without you begging.


Because they had to make THE List.

That list where the junior students would sidle up to their various hostels in the various houses and ceremoniously announce the names found worthy enough to be bestowed with a nylon of 'downtown' doughnut, and an orange drink.

If you made the list, your reputation - 'rep' as we called it - was upped. If you were a creator of the List, your rep was upped.

Sadly... my nemesis followed me even into secondary school. School always closed for the Easter holidays just about a week before my birthday. 

Overjoyed does not begin to explain the emotions that welled inside when it was announced in my JSS3 year that due to extension classes, a whole lot of us would return to school just a week after closure for the 2nd Term holidays and spend the Easter holidays in school. For the first time in my short life, I was about to experience a school birthday.

(Hee haa!!)


I cashed in on all my years of ‘suffering’, and asked mother for some money to celebrate my birthday with. It may be nothing now, but back then, N10,000 was a HUGE deal for a JSS3 girl’s birthday celebration, and that was what she obliged me with.

Upon resumption of extension classes. I wasted no time in announcing to all my hostel mates that I had enough ‘cheese’ to celebrate my birthday (how wise). I was going to be a creator of the List. So I happily kept my N10,000 in my white kom-kom, with a green cover, and placed it in my locker. Under lock and key.

(El oh El)

As the days approached I grew a little cockier. My steps sprung a little more. I even began to use Jack-5 on my ‘permed’ short hair.

So on the 19th of April of that year (you want to calculate my real age bah?), I woke up literally floating.

My day of ‘Celebrity’ was finally at hand.

I got off bed a little early, and laid my bed with the white bed-sheet I had never used. ‘Immaculate’ is an understatement of its description. By that singular act, I had made my declaration:

The List was coming.

Gifts started trudging in from various houses; my bed began getting filled. I also got some cards, and for those who could not afford gifts, they bestowed me with doe-eyed “Happy Birthday” wishes.

I was kind. I made mental notes to give them either orange-drink or doughnut. But not both.

I was all smiles that day, springing upandan on the tip of my toes. 

My bunk mates assisted in coming up with the List. And towards evening, we were ready to take the short trip to ‘downtown’ to purchase my goodies.

(Did I mention I was springing on my toes all day, that day?)

So I reached into my locker for my white kom-kom, with a green cover, and opened it…

It was as empty as Jesus’ grave on Easter Monday.

I looked into the locker itself. I checked under the locker. I hit the kom-kom upside-down on the floor severally…

My bunk-mates who were waiting to escort me to ‘downtown’ were getting impatient…

I checked, and looked, and re-checked…

My N10,000 birthday-groove money had disappeared. It was stolen.

Hian! (And I thought I had experienced trauma)

I was too young. I had never heard the phrase "High Blood Pressure", which is the natural Nigerian reaction to every problem. But that day, I experienced it: High Blood Pressure.

I wished I could become a witch immediately and find who had taken my money, and recover it; to no avail.

Everything after then was pretty much a blur. I honestly do not remember how that day ended. With the benefit of hindsight, I think I must have gone into some kind of shock. I have no recollection whatsoever of how that day ended.

Whatever it was, I was cured of the craze to have a school birthday or any sort of birthday-groove. Infact, I stopped looking forward to my birthdays.

But you know what they say about new beginnings and new adventures. Being in the University as an undergraduate was delightfully different. Thanks to the unstable University schedule in Nigeria, my birthday pretty much was always while school was in session.

My older brothers were in the same higher institution as I was, so for the period they were in school with me, they and their friends would make my birthdays a totally fun affair. (Crayfish rice was never absent).

Thus, my trauma was exorcised.


By the time I was an ‘adult’, I’d learnt to always find reason to look forward to my birthday.


Because, life is beautiful. And short.

Most of the time, I’d mark it at work. Thanks to the invention of Automated Teller Machines, at least there was no threat of anyone stealing my birthday-groove money from my white kom-kom, with a green cover.

I hear some people take leave on their birthdays.


Even if I were on leave, I (most likely) would resume before the date. And if I found myself without a job during my birthday, I’d probably go into the nearest office, and 'borrow' colleagues. I mean… what is a birthday without ‘paparazzi’?

My childhood and adulthood cannot all be traumatic. Someone must also watch me pretend to be shy, and modest, and not wanting all of the attention which birthdays bring.

Moral of the story...

It is not every time moral of the story. I simply enjoyed my birthday.


Oya… come and be going.

(The End)



P.s.: If you really want to gift me with a birthday present, other than getting me a brand-new (red) Ferrari (2017) sports car, just click the follow button on the blog. Daalu.

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  1. You always crack me up with your posts. The 'Moral of the story' part tho..LMAO!

  2. You always crack me up with your posts. The 'Moral of the story' part tho..LMAO!

  3. Hope u swore for that thief. Cos i have started swearing already o. Lol. Kom kom
    Nice piece, kept reading and smiling.

    1. Walahi... I did o. Every day, till I left school.

      Thank you. Keep coming back. Keep reading..

  4. And i was about sending a little recharge but as i saw ferrari, i think i wud look for the like button.
    Happy birthday dear.

  5. Barrister are you sure you are not in the wrong profession??? Am sure you had fun cos nobody emptied your kom kom(winks)

    1. (Smiles) Advocacy in itself requires the art of story-telling. I am exactly where I always wanted to be!
      And yes... nobody emptied my kom-kom this time. Lol.

  6. Can't stop laughing here, nice one

  7. I just can't help but laugh out my pain.
    Nice piece ma'am....

  8. My kom kom cannot be created nor destroyed those days. Always under my armpit, lol. Nice piece my lawyer.

    1. Haha! I learnt the hard way. Thank you Mike.

  9. I really wanted to know what your mates did after you lost your parry money...lolzzzzzzz i have help u complete the story in my head

    keep celebrating...

    1. Darling... I honestly cannot remember. I was in catatonia for days to come.

      I should ask them actually... But thank you for finishing it in your head. Be nice to me!