Wednesday 2 December, 2020

‘Seriously’ Speaking: Rain, rain, just go away

Editor's Note: 

Just a reminder for the readers to appreciate that this opinion column is largely centred around light-hearted fun as its content, with as much focus on tickling the ribs as the minds.

So enjoy it if you can, but don't take it all too seriously, one way or the other, okay?

One of my fondest memories of my teenage days at Wolmer's Boys’ School was a riveting game of 'rain ball' – our favourite form of fun football - on the muddy rectangle of land beside the third form block.

The rain had come down in a mongrel drizzle for most of the day, and by the time we started to play, it began to come down in torrents.

Anyone who has ever played 'rain ball' knows that every cut can send a slide-tackling man flying off the field of battle, and each 'salad' is made sweeter because of the slippery underfoot conditions.

It was on one particular day that I remember the diminutive Mark Brown coining the phrase 'militant'. He had scored a ‘worldie’ of a goal, performing a 'pile' and then volleying the ball past Arthur Lindo, aka ‘Flabba’, the tallest, fattest kid in our class.

Brown shouted 'MILITANT' and ran the length of the field to celebrate.

My beloved fellow student was still at least six years removed from the brain cancer that would later kill him, and Arthur - God bless him - had not yet shuffled off this mortal coil. They were young, but with all the dirty cards life can play buried deep down in the deck. Oh how they laughed that wet day.

It's a reminder to enjoy every moment of your life, no matter how insignificant they may seem, because when it gets right down to where the cheese binds, memories are all you have.

It's funny how a few months ago, Jamaicans were grumbling that there wasn't enough rain, and that the farmers were struggling and all that. Now, they are cursing that TOO much rain is falling.

You simply can't please Jamaicans. It's a good thing that as the proverb goes: when the rain falls, it doesn't fall on one man's house. Everybody (within range) is affected.

The incessant rainfall is triggering landslides, major flooding, loss of life and property for people who decided to build their homes on the lip of a river, or in what is a dry river bed till the river returns to reclaim its territory.

Here's a tip to all my squatter friends: how about you don't build houses where the rivers used to reside?

Coupled to that are the reports of car accidents caused by speeding on wet roads; the ‘Joe Grind’ injuries of men falling off housetops or landings after being caught in flagrante delicto with another man's woman, and then there are the potholes. Oh those holes of vintage Pearnel Charles Snr memory.

Almost daily, you have to acquire the skills of a master navigator, committing new sets of potholes to memory. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "in Jamaica, when potholes come, they come not in single spies, but in battalions".

The used car auto parts industry is perhaps the only sector benefiting; in fact, making a ‘killing’ right now, as some of the roads have more craters than the moon.

As a motorist, when you drop in a pothole, you can actually hear the money leaking out of your pocket. These days, it hurts even when you check Bert’s.

For an island nation, Jamaica has a weird relationship with rainfall. Traditionally, when the rain falls, productivity falls, because either you don't want to go to work, or you try to invent creative reasons and fake road blockages to avoid that trek into the office, so that you can snuggle up with someone and eat dumplings and saltfish/salt mackerel.

Yes, one used to look forward to rainy days.

Now, as the long run of rainy days show little signs of abating, you stare at that gunmetal grey sky, hear the ill-tempered mutter of distant thunder, and see those thunderclouds dragging their pregnant bellies across the sky and wonder what the hell is going on? This rain ting ah overdo it right now, seriously!

Forget cats and dogs, it's now raining elephants and giraffes over Jamaica.

Most men are now, in fact, under extra pressure because their side chicks are feeling a bit more amorous at this time. But with the advent of COVID-19 and its attendant depression and financial pressures, most men are not feeling as libidinous (randy) as a year ago.

Ask them. Too much pressure. Too many bills. Too many demands. Not enough money to spread around. This bloody rain better stop soon. Rain, rain just go away....

Another one of my fondest memories of a rainy day came as a student at my primary school. We had a grade six teacher who will remain nameless in this account. She was an impossibly attractive woman whose physical attributes were nothing short of superlative. However, she had the personality of a deep freeze, so she wasn't a big favourite of the students.

So one day, the heavens opened and she was trapped on the sixth floor block after the school day ended. She decided that she could not wait, so she made a mad sprint, running along the corridor in the general direction of the administrative office.

Then she fell right on her derriere. Laughter, laughter, laughter. When she finally got up and duck-walked to the office, her peach dress was stained black, her hair was a mess, but I think her pride was hurt more than any part of her body

Us kids, talked about it for weeks. You might think we were cruel, but the incident was unfunny only to those who have never tested positive for a good sense of humour.

Even with all the challenges, I am asking you Jamaicans not to curse the elements. The Man Upstairs is in control. Just exercise care, due diligence and common sense in your travels. You know that in your heart of hearts, where the temple of truth resides, God is in the rain.

When it is raining, just let it rain.

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