Pubs not right places for children

Last week, my friend Odhiambo and I took our little angels to one of those places that serve all-round family entertainment.

Our comptrollers had gone to attend a chama, and only Tiffany came with me as my boys declined to come along.

Odhiambo brought along his daughter, Marion who is the same age as Tiff. As Odhiambo and I chatted, Marion and Tiff enjoyed snacks.

Our two angels then made a beeline for the bouncy castle and had fun for good measure.

Moments into our little party, Odhiambo excused himself to attend to some urgent business and left me having drinks.

The little angels eventually grew tired of bouncing and came back to the table, taking the seats directly opposite me.

As little Marion sipped her soda, she took a long look at my glass and asked: “Baba Jimmy, why do people drink beer?”

This question caught me off-guard, but I had to tell her the truth without arousing her taste buds.

Sometimes back, Odhiambo liked to joke that he drinks beer because it revitalises his intellect, but that was no answer to give his little daughter. I simply told her grown-ups drink beer because it helps them relax their minds.

“Relax their minds? How?” she wondered.

“Er..... beer helps them forget the stress of everyday life.” I said solemnly.

I could tell from the look on her face that I had lost her at the word “stress”, but this did not stop her from shooting another question.

“Na kwa nini watu wakikunywa pombe hutembea kama wanataka kuanguka?” she wondered.

Sshe pressed me to explain why some grown-ups, in their fits of inebriation, turn violent. To this, I responded that only wicked people engage in such acts, and that such people will not go to heaven. “My daddy told me that beer is bad. Is that true?” Marion pressed.

“Yes, beer is a very bad drink. It also has a nasty taste and a terrible smell,” I said.

Heh! Today’s children are maturing really fast. The little angels were clearly having a ball pelting me with these high-voltage questions.

“Lakini daddy si umesema inasaidia watu wakubwa ku-relax?” Tiffany reminded me.

At this point, I took out my phone and started doing what looked like texting, but this was just a ploy to avoid the question.

Tiffany, being the smart lass she is, did not buy my little act.

“Daddy, kwa nini hawa watu wamefurahi hivyo?” she wondered.

Again, that was a good question.

I looked around and sure enough, everyone looked happy as they sipped their beer.

“Er...they are celebrating today’s fine weather.” I stammered.

“Look, daddy has to make a phone call,” I said as I placed the cell phone on my ear and pretended to have a heated conversation. I even decorated this ghost phone conversation with loud, exaggerated laughter and gestures.

Still, I felt it was my duty to provide the correct information.

So, after my lengthy “phone conversation”, I informed the angels that alcohol is not good for health — children’s health for that

“Why?” asked Tiff, ignoring the thin bead of sweat that was slowly trickling down my brow.

“Because if little children drink, they go to hell”, I said solemnly.

“Baba Jimmy, so it is only children who go to hell if they drink beer?” enquired Marion.

“Yes. If little children drink beer, they go to hell and burn forever,” I said.

That place called Hell can be very good sometimes, especially when you need to scare the little ones.

Then the truth suddenly hit me — I was inadvertently marketing beer to the two angels.

True, I had said that drinking is a bad habit.

But I had also said that beer gives you a happy feeling and even worse, I had implied that it is a wonderful stress reliever.

At this point, I felt like a walking beer commercial.

After plenty of soul-searching, I made a silent vow: I will never take my heirs to the bar again.

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