By Ted Malanda
Ibrahim, the Butere Intermediate School Standard Three dropout and a tipsy sage from whose loins I sprung, would have been horrified by Albert Einstein’s carelessness and naiveté.
Note in passing, however, that Einstein is never addressed as ‘Professor’ or ‘Dr’. Nonetheless, it is generally agreed, even by his worst political enemies and detractors, that he was a peerless intellectual who, apart from bagging a real doctorate, must have had bagfuls of the honorary accolades that our politicians wear like wedding bands.
Divorce and chemicals
Why would a man so brilliant pen the following piece of marital treason in 1914?
“You will expect no affection from me and will not reproach me for this... You will see to it that my clothes and linen are kept in order...I will be served three regular meals per day in my room.”
This is a letter he wrote not to his mboch but to Mileva, a woman he miraculously wooed in between titrating chemicals and chewing books. You need not be a genius to deduce that Mileza quickly became ‘ex’. In fact, it would be a shame if she got divorced instead of rightfully flinging the bushy-haired intellectual out on the fatter end of her cooking stick.
Boys, the female species thrives on affection the way a maize crop flourishes on organic manure. Affection is what leads wives to ensure ‘your clothes and linen are kept in order and that you are regularly served gizzards in your room’. Okay, a little money in your M-Pesa account helps, especially if you invest it in earrings and the latest shoes on Christmas eve.
Look, old Ibrahim never had clothes and linen to be kept in order, apart from an odd blanket and the threadbare shirt on his back. But he was served two regular meals (the logistics of delivering packed lunch to the busaa club had not been figured out yet. Not in his room, but outside his hut because only mean men ate ‘hiding’ in their rooms back then.
How he achieved this was not rocket science. First, he paid bride price to his in-laws to demonstrate that his women were worth their weight in livestock. Then occasionally, he slapped his three wives around to demonstrate the depth of his love and affection.
As late as when he was 75, I recall him telling one of his heartthrobs, “When you saw me in my white shirt (with three biro pens strung in the pocket), my khaki shorts and long stockings (with three multi-coloured biro pens strung at the end of each stocking), you fell hopelessly in love. How could you resist me? How? But you were a woman among women, Rhoda – a woman...”