It is 16 years since my Dad went to be with the Lord in the sky.
And the one lesson the old man taught us was that ‘real men don’t cry!’
An African in the old school style, Mr Bonnie Ontita had been a medal winning boxer in his days at Makerere, and was as tough as a box of rusty nails, with an abrasive personality to boot.
If me or my little brother shed tears when being ‘disciplined’ with one of his hefty belts, we got a thorough lashing so that ‘you have something to really cry about, Thorny.’
And I am pretty happy my Dad brought us boys up that way, because it prepared us to face life’s occasional ‘beatings’ and put a brave face on it.
Yet you’ll find some silly black person, who has read/heard a lot of white person literature on the Internet say that was a form of child abuse.
When I was in Standard Three, and I may have told you this story before, a bully called Ray thumped the hell out of me at home time, and I went home with tears running down my eyes.
My Dad found me sobbing, and snarled: ‘Thorny, why are you
‘Ray beat me,’ I hiccupped between tears.
The Old Man belted me for not fighting back. Then gave me one of those little spanners and said: “At break time, use this spanner to whack Ray very hard on the head.”
Following that quite-frankly-lunatic advice got me in lotsa trouble at school the following day.
And when I told the discipline master, a wiry guy called Mr Njoroge who doubled up as the Games Master that it was my Dad who had armed me with the small spanner to ambush Ray, I was given a double caning for the audacious attempt to ‘implicate your father’ in (your) acts of savagery…
The lesson the Old Man left me with is that when Life’s bullies gang up on you, get a metaphorical spanner, lie in wait – and deal with them thoroughly in the fullness of time in such a way that they will never think of touching a hair on your head.
For the remainder of my time in primary, thanks to the Story of the Spanner, I went unmolested (especially as, back then, I was your classic skinny bookworm, but also known for my ‘mchongoano’).
These days, thanks to the Internet that has allowed the world of Whites to cross over and dominate our thinking, young men are encouraged to cry and ‘let it all out,’ the modern thinking being that bottling up emotions is harmful to your health.
‘A real man does not cry,’ sound advice if you ask me, is being tossed aside to encourage all sorts of crybabies, who even have the guts to throw self-pity parties all over social media, and whine like wusses.
I was appalled to see a man who Trump wants to be a federal judge cry during his testimony to Congress, not because he had just received some tragic news that a loved one has died, but because he felt he was being questioned unfairly by a Democrat on the bench. But he is American, and they encourage those ones to weep these days over every little thing.
My thinking is that, as long as we are alive, death, divorce, debt and other bad things can, and do happen. But as a man, it is your job to maintain a stiff upper lip and Stalin-like steel interior.
Otherwise if your kids see you wailing, how terrified are they supposed to be?
In my life, I saw my late Dad cry only three times in the quarter century that we shared together.
(i) The night my mom passed away (ii) The day I was suspended for a year from college. (iii) When Diego Maradona ran the length of the field to score that goal against England.