Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I share credit for this week’s installment with Adomi Ochuko, which is a nice way of saying that I was too lazy to write it all myself. Mr. Ochuko’s book, “Powerful Emotional Text Messages, Volume 5”, is listed as a “No. 1 Best Seller” and the back of the slender volume warns “CAUTION!!! 94% of the text messages in this book has changed people’s relationship positively, yours can not be an exception if you grab your copy now.” How can I resist? I need this book!!

Some background before we go any further. As mentioned, Nigeria is a nation of cellphone users and a recent adopter of the system. Prior to 2001, cellphones were non-existent in the country, and so was telecommunication for the most part. Some communities, including my hometowns of Kagoro and Kafanchan, had no telephone systems at all. Placing a call meant travelling to Jos, the nearest town connected by landlines to the rest of the country. This is a 90-minute journey by car. For critical matters, such as a death in the family, people relied on a network of relatives and friends to travel to other communities to spread the word. To say the introduction of the cellphone has transformed the country is an exercise in stating the obvious.

That is not to say that the system is perfect. Far from it, in fact. Three service providers currently vie for cellphone supremacy in Nigeria, but none seems to be competing through good service. My own provider, MTN, regularly fails and is sometimes unavailable for a day or more. The others, Celltel and Glo, have similar track records. This history of failure has led some in the country to hedge their bets by carrying two or more cellphones with different service providers, the expectation being that at least one will work at all times. Sadly, this often proves to be incorrect.

But the flawed system has led to an interesting trend in communication. No calling plans exist with any of the providers; rather, charge cards of different denominations can be purchased and loaded on to one’s phone. The sale of these cards has become its own industry, and booths painted in the respective colours of the three providers have become ubiquitous. I use a Celltel booth as a landmark for my stop when I take a taxi home. If they ever remove it, I’ll likely end up in Cameroon. Every call placed on the cellphone subtracts from the charged amount, and even brief domestic calls can soon reduce one’s balance to zero. But text messages (short emails typed out on one's phone) cost only a fraction of an actual call, so the majority of people communicate this way, rather than attempting to speak to each other.

It didn’t take long for satellite businesses to be created to capitalize on the text messaging phenomenon. One of the most interesting is the publication of books ( extended pamphlets, really) that seek to help those with writer’s block when it comes to communicating with their sweethearts. Ready-made text messages for all occasions and reasons, including birthday wishes, messages of encouragement and good morning greetings, are now at one’s fingertips. I don’t know whether Mr. Ochuko’s series represents the best or worst of these books on the market, but reading through some of the “new, hot and RELOADED” messages, I found some to be noteworthy, for reasons both good and bad.

So, just in time for Valentine’s Day next week, here is my top ten list of the most memorable love texts from Mr. Ochuko’s tome. Please feel free to use them and take full credit for their brilliance, but remember that only 94% of the text messages in the book changed people’s relationships positively, so the ones I've listed may be the 6% that flushed people from the bathroom of the heart (to paraphrase Johnny Cash). You’ve been warned.

All spelling, grammar and use of capitalization are as they appear in the book. Here we go!

10. If I hav a Heart Attack, then that’s all becuz of u, cuz, u r in my heart with anotha heart that is ur heart, which is striking my heart and saying, I LOVE U!

9. If 100% of people Love u, make Sure I’m one of them, if 99% hate u, make sure I’m the 1% which Love u, If 100% hate u, make sure I am dead.

8. U r like asthma, U take my breath away. U r likes dandruff, I can’t get U out of my head. U r like my car, U drive me crazy. U r like my Lips, I can’t smile without U.

7. Why did God Create U before Me….? Ans: Bcos he wanted to Create a Sample, Be4 Creating A *MasterPiece* He! He! He! Hu!! Hu!! Hey!! Hey!!

6. Just go to hell, yes u only ! bcos only u can change hell into heaven by your sweetness.

5. Can we do romance in the midnite 2day? I’m in a gud mood:) Just a little bit of kissing n bitin!! Reply me soon, urs Loving Mosquito

4. As a person u r:
In short U R an ASSHOLE!

3. Wakeup & Wink those Teeny Weeny Eyes. Stretch those lazy Winzy Bones, Wear that Jolly Winning smile & tell urself today is a beautiful day… Good Morning….

2. As u go 2 bed 2night, I ordered bats 2 guard u tight. I told some ghosts to dance in white, & 2 make sure u r alryt, i’LL ask the dracula 2 kiss ur neck goodnight..

And my personal favourite:

1. I m going to write on all the bricks I MISS YOU and I wish that one falls on ur head, so that u knows how it hurts when u miss someone special like u.


Anonymous said...

OMG, as in O My God! I do not know how to text message. It's one of those skills I've intentionally refused to learn. It's not because I'm some kind of latter day luddite. My stubby fingers simply won't allow me to glide across those tiny keys on mini cell phones. The frustration is too great; the pain too physical, and my patience too limited to punch out inane messages to people who only pretend to care as a way to fill in their empty boredom. I'm being harsh and apologize. Mr. O is a master of romantic one and two liners, a veritable Will S of R&J calibre. I am fascinated as much by his analogies as by his eliptical style. The brick thing is indeed the best, and I can see it being a personal favorite. What a thought -- to inflict physical pain, as in throwing a brick at you, so that you know how much emotional pain you give me by your absence! While I don't want to over-analyze this reference, it is indeed interesting to note that pain of any sort is pain -- whether physical or emotional, whether deliberately inflicted or the result of an omission or loss or absence. There is no nuance here. And that may be a major differentiator among cultures and even within cultures: those that embrace the subtle vs those that see everything in the same way, no matter what. I personally think that the major fight between English and French Canada revolves around nuance -- the English are in your face; the French are subtle. The French want independence, as in freedom of thought, expression, identity, operating structures and even jurisdications [Civil Code vs Common Law], while the English understand this first and foremost to mean separate jurisdiction, as in stay out of my backyard because it's mine not yours. Mr O is Nigeria's modern day substitute for love potion #9. I wish him and all of you in Nigeria a most wonderful Valentine's Day. Victor

Jenn said...

I'm crying - that is the most hilarious thing I have ever read. It's also really tragic that this classes as "reading material" for you. What can we expect next? Are you going to get a subsription to Cosmo? Please let me know if you need me to send books...

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha! And here I was about to boycott Valentine's Day. Well, no more! Now I have some good material when the words just don't come. Those are classic. Though I'm still not sure why calling someone and asshole is a good thing ... or why calling the ghosts to dance and dracula to kiss ones neck is good either ... now I see why it is only 94% successful.
Hope ur hppy ;)
And happy V-Day 2 u.
Jess xo

Sister J said...

Hello Glenn;
This is about the third comment I've left on your blog and when I go to check, they are not there so obviously I"m not doing something just right.
Your blog is being distributed / I only wish I could say "published" as it is that well written!! Also, the royalities could allow you to expand your menu beyond the Yam.
Take care,
Enjoying the Blog
Sister J