“Shap Shap” by Faith Oyadiran

I know a very bright young man. He lacked proficiency in the English language. He is very diligent (I’m not giving out his details so people won’t come for me). He was asked to give another word that could replace “hurriedly.” In his innocence, he wrote “shap shap.” One of my girls saw it and burst into laughter. I had a good laugh as well. I must reiterate that the young man did it innocently.

I will assume that the song “Oluwa, answer me sharp, sharp, answer me sharp, sharp” from Funke Akindele’s epic Blockbuster “Battle on Buka Street” will naturally pop up in your head like it did in mine.

After that event, I headed to my office. I needed to be alone. I adjusted my chair, drew my table close and blanked out of my immediate environment.

I mulled over that particular incident. It was hilarious but the paradox didn’t elude me. It is a representation of how rationality has been rationed over the years. We have transcended the vistas of logic. “Sharp sharp” has morphed into “shap shap”

At that moment, I realized the importance of “deep work” which stood in stark contrast to “shap shap”

I joined a writing group (A Book in a Year, hosted by @cmonionline) in May, and I can remember two different sessions where the resource personnel emphasized the importance of “deep work.” It lent more depth to my contemplations. “We are the generation that is quick to put everything on display including our folly” I concluded. Process, depth, and diligence often eroded in a whiff. Hotness and parsimony have been awarded prominence over posterity.

“Balloons and balloons,” my friend and I once joked. An occasion without them is criticized as not colourful. A church service without them is bland and unorganized. Gifts and flowers without them are watered down. Pastries without them are regarded as a “mountain of flours” and so on.

My friend further mimicked a scenario from the Bible in the old KJV’s voice: “O ye generation of balloons, who has bewitched you into the blow fast and ‘poof’ in a swift doctrine?

The essence of the joke was to foreground how deep we have sunk into shallowness. We quest for everything like fast food but neglect the transcendence that comes from meticulous efforts. This is why the gaps in many success stories will forever remain unarticulated. The process can never be cheated.

I reminisce on Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man.’ My intent is not to draw attention to the shenanigans surrounding the settings of the literary work. Neither do I seek to draw away the sympathy the protagonist has garnered across ages. I’m intrigued by the unnamed guy’s demise into oblivion. He embarked on adventures to gain a voice. Every measure of visibility he attains makes him more obscure.

The irony of the story comes to the fore when the unnamed hero cements his invisibility by ending up in a manhole buried forever in oblivion. In isolation, we discover that he has been given a rare opportunity in the form of time, obscurity, and a perfect atmosphere to do an appraisal.

We have the tools for lasting success at our disposal, so why not give due diligence to careful observation? Pay attention to details. Ponder and rummage. Study and gather facts. Then give yourself time to grow.

Investing in the wind guarantees that you will be swept away by the formidable momentum it yields.

Oyadiran Faith is a graduate of English Language and Literary Studies from Obafemi Awolowo University Osun State, Nigeria. He is an avid reader and a passionate writer. He currently works as a Diction instructor. He is on Instagram as @Op_bolu and can be reached @oyadiranfaithopeyemi@gmail.com

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