A thousand years ago, I stumbled upon Ambrose Bierce’s ruthless piece of work, The Devil’s Dictionary, in what was then one of the most solitary moments of my existence. I did not find necessary answers each time I followed his savage words into the numerous haunts we frequented, however after our romance, I was left with a keenness of mind that afterwards would cast me into the role of my own as a writer who must write or else suffer damage to several vital organs. Bierce introduced me to the art of writing one thing while saying the exact opposite; I believe it is called irony.
Astoundingly, for a book written over a hundred years ago it packs more wit in two lines than a million stand-up comedians would muster. And that was why I felt it necessary to create something of my own with the same originality that Ambrose seized upon, not forgetting that it would never occupy equal levels of prominence as his work but, with providence on my side, could make an old, forgotten warrior happy that at least someone caught the torch, and kept it burning. When I started to write it, I fell under the belief that it was book-worthy, however that goal became more elusive with each day. Having reconciled myself with reality, I hereby present it to you, gracious reader.
Readers are advised not to seek truth or sense or any of their kind among the lines of this work. If they do, their quest shall be an unpleasant one. While much of it is nonsense, the parts that try to make sense don’t go far at all. I wouldn’t take the author serious if I were you considering he had to be as drunk as a fish in order to write a complete sentence. However if you can read nonsense yet still make sense out of it, this is for you.
AIRPLANE (n): An artificial bird which has the ability of floating and moving in the air and is designed to own about two or more engines, a very large cabin, a pit where the pilot and his lesser half occupy, and two wings (rumours have it that wingless planes have become the subject of top scientific research companies, and as this may have drastic effects on the aesthetic predilections of most bird watchers, the national association of bird watchers- a thoroughly pointless organization, if you ask me- have called for the heads of the heads of these companies. It promises to be intriguing and absorbing, this lexicographer will update all interested sloths on the latest on-goings in the saga). Airplanes were originally made with the intent of defying the gods of nature who always gloated at humans’ inability to fly, and this riled two brothers who indeed invented the first ever airplane. It is rumoured that Zeus dropped the first plane ever to cross the sky with scores of thunderbolts rained down on the vessel. But man, ever so deviously ingenious, devised certain means of repelling the thunderbolts and thus won the battle against the dim witted gods. But it might be a source of consolation to persons afflicted with vertigo that this lexicographer is not known for flying on birds, at least artificial ones, for the same reason that sane people are not known for donning rags and eating rust. Besides this, the African airspace has no such configuration to admit the perpetuation, without being viewed as perpetration, of airplanes and their noise, and as a result stifles the atmosphere to breaking point that directly shortens a plane’s longevity and strengthens its pliability.
ANIMAL (n): Man’s distant ancestral cousin, whose existence on the map of evolution dates back to a time before the first man appeared.
ATHIEST (n): Someone who is pathologically against the existence of God but has no problem whatsoever with the existence of the devil. Speak of the devil!
BANK (n): A financial institution that deals with the finances of people by providing storage facilities (long term or short term) for their monies and providing bureaucratic blockage facilities to the withdrawal of the monies by the customers.
BANKER (n): A most disingenuous person who smiles when taking your money from you but frowns when giving it back. He would rather the bank be robbed than procuring your money back to you. The Banks have senior functionaries whose obsession with women exceed the limits of moderation. Indeed the rot eats deep into the morally insoluble intestines of the fat cats that bank tellers are mandatorily chosen to be women, warts and all; dimwits and all; and mermaids and all. It isn’t at all strange in any sense of it to come across tellers whose shades of makeup pins Cleopatra and Helen of Troy to the Unprepossessing wall of shame, whereby their apparels, compared to the banking vixens are moth-eaten, drab, and too antique to be unique. Considering all of the aforementioned and the fact that all banks in Nigeria have this in common, the patrons of the past who established their names in feats of vanquishing whole armies and conquering vast nations would be encouraged to cast the objects of their victories and all plaques and awards in their shelves into the incinerator; all for the encampment of the many vague interests of at least one of the luscious ladies of banks in their hearts.
BEARD (n): A bushy, hairy undergrowth which occurs at the base of the chin and reinforces the likeness of a goat in man’s physiognomy. No scientific theory till date has been able to disprove this outstanding reality, and none probably will. Again, providence drops a smart one on us!
CELEBRITY (n): A human idol endowed or encumbered with a certain ailment that attracts scorn and servitude, respect and rage, encomium and envy, disgust and dotage, and admiration and affrontation from the public. Celebrities cut a clean picture as being the talisman of a generation’s humbug; the pimple on the very conscience of an impressionable people; the gadfly that on the one hand galls and on the other gratifies equally all people and at the same time; the gallivanting prophet whose character is ripe with grand illusions and practices are infected with delusions of grandeur; the hope of an amoral future and the blood of a libertarian horse; the ogre of obsession and a period that darkens the sun, and flushes the stars out of the sky. A celebrity is a wonder of human species to behold; they exude affection and pronounce clamour wherever they go and in whatsoever they do.
CHAT (n): A modern, very modern, method of having a conversation whose length is indeterminate. It is strongly believed to have come on the advent of the internet and is solely the aim of social media. It allows one have a conversation with another individual without opening the mouth even for a second. Doubtless, if Isaac Newton, one of the founding fathers of classical physics, had been intimated about such phenomenon as this, he would have probably developed another one of his heinous laws, perhaps with this one twice as long as others, this time one guiding the act of conversation- given his unbridled and capricious penchant for inventions that attract indignation. And that would have been one extra law to memorize in schools. Oh! Thank providence for the provision of his absence.
CHEMIST (n): A pharmacist (?) who sells 30% wines, 40% toiletries, 20% food items, and 10% uhh.. drugs of course!
CHOLERIC (adj): A word used to describe a most unfortunate sufferer of an extreme but rare form of cholera that afflicts the mind. It causes the sufferer to act savagely under several bouts of irrepressible anger directed at people for no reason reasonable enough to make one angry, but pertinent enough to make one ‘choleric’.
COMEDIAN (n): A mischievous fellow, mostly male, who is a master of the dark arts of extortion. He is similar to a robber in that he strips you of your money but dissimilar in that while the robber fills you with dread and trepidation, the comedian leaves you laughing in an uncontrollable frenzy. Comic relief he calls it, brazen blatant extortion, I call it.
CONDUCTOR (n): A madman who loves to hang on moving vans while yelling names of places about in mostly in savage manners. His other attributes include being well versed at verbal warfare, physical combat and being a consummate accountant. Ironically enough, his inclinations are loved and adored by Nigerians. They hurry after his bus in droves and some even engage in fist fights just to get seated in the van.
CONTEMPT (n): Respect given to someone whom it would be too disrespectful to honour.
CRITIC (n): A philistine of barbarous inclinations and pathetic philippics whose descendants are from the most primitive of times when savages ruled the earth. He is a philanthropist to the clueless, a guide to the brute, a merchant to the unruly, a vizier to the unworthy, a fan of fantasy, a reveller in solipsism, a sidebar of junkies, a dessicator of obscenities, a guard dog of an asylum, a helpless loather of aesthetics, a swimming squirrel in the land of acornia, a fly that exists in the bowels, a professor of narcissistic narcissism, a philosopher who operates under the inebriation of stolen wine put under a hex by a circus clown, a tame beast in suit and tie, a mad doctor in flip flops on a rainy afternoon, a proponent of the ideology of bombasts and sleeping serenaders, a court jester born with a wooden ladle, a baby whose milk has gone through fractional centrifugation in the land of fairies.
CROTCH (n): That part of the male body that God envisaged by looking at the designs of a pair of scissors and the shape of a tree filled with branches. This probably tells us that God first thought of man, then thought of the scissors and the tree, and then returned to man. Only difference between them are the genitals, that probably came as an afterthought.
DICTIONARY (n): A book of cumbersome weight containing a hodgepodge of definitions of terms, miscellaneous and monstrous, with notes and examples on their proper usage in any context imaginable and unimaginable. The truth about dictionaries, which they omit to mention, is that while every other entry is defined properly, the definition given for a dictionary is fictitious and therefore false. This lexicographer has taken great pains to commit in this book the correct definition and puts it thus, a dictionary is a book that reveals the meaning of words in the reality of how they are perceived by a pool of professors as against the acceptance of the public. In essence, no word has a ‘real’ meaning in and of itself; it only has an accepted meaning.
DO-GOODER (n): One who tries to do good things for others, but which are usually impractical, ineffective, inappropriate, inessential, and inadequate, like the government.
DRUNKARD (n): A distinguished humanitarian who sublets his stomach as a biological laboratory for the conduction of tests on a solution of ethanol, more ethanol, and roughage in the “organic” form of his liver.
ECONOMICS (n): The scientific study of the relationship between human wants and needs, human demand and supply, and human riches and poverty. Its jargon include loan and shark, tax and outrageous, banks and stink, money and wings, and market and empty. It is a course specifically entered into by the elite, marginally scorned by the middle class, and glaringly dreaded by the poor. For some very strange reasons, it still remains a subject of dispute among various business schools which is of more importance to man- the economy or economics.
EPITAPH (n): A string of statements put together on a tombstone to honour the dead in his earthly achievements, which may vary from a composition of lies moulded into convincing aphorisms to an exaggeration of half-truths couched under pithy ideas, in order to spite the actualizations of the living. It could also be a precursor, sort of, to the many trials, temptations and triumphs a person achieved whilst alive, telling about his weakness and how it crumbled him totally into a corpse, in order for the dead to spite the living. Isaac Newton’s could read thus, “He was a man born with a probe and a problem. The problem, he attached to all phenomena he saw as engaging and worth his trouble; the probe, he used to conduct his laparotomy on scientific theories and superstitions, especially the ones that intrigued him into apparent madness and helpless insanity. For his death, it could be said it came at a most fortuitous time and hour…humanity cannot bear another of his inhumane experiments and laws, but maybe spirits will.” William B. Baikie’s epitaph could roll out as thus, “In him was found the fount from where the milk of human kindness issued. It cascaded into the dredges and canals he invaded with bacchanalian relish; he was forthright in his duties and concerned enough to make a home among foreigners without the usual dread accompanying their sight and presence, he taught them, took care of them, showed them how to live as one especially as they were composed of different tribes speaking different languages. He was a father, he was a mother;… another remarkable attribute of his was his affinity for the Hausa language. He was smitten with its use that it made him translate several parts of the bible into the local language. We pray he doesn’t lose the force where he has now gone to live, for it shall be disastrous for those who speak the language as they shall be cast out from practicing Christianity”.
FOOD (n): Drug taken every six hours to prevent the putrefaction of the liver, the nerves, and lastly, the drug itself; it is also the only drugs doctors are at the risk of being overdosed on, perhaps to protect their own lives too.
FORGIVE (vb): For a believer to act in the consciousness of a believer in the maxim, “a hug for a tongue” and “a smile for an eye”.
FLATULENCE (n): Gas that occupies the stomach and makes the human body uninhabitable for demons and which when released purifies the atmosphere and performs a petrifying anaesthesia on the nerves.
FRATERNAL TWIN (n): One of two children born of the same mother at the same time but not from the same egg, and therefore of different fathers.
GENERATOR (n): A most ingenious machine that provides electricity through a series of energy transformation. Its energy transfer is unique and repute in its outstanding longevity and overarching tenacity to always deliver the dividends of generocracy. It converts chemical energy to noise energy, which is then converted to smoke energy, and ultimately ends in death energy. Of course while all these conversions are going on, electricity is being generated, but not enough of it is being delivered as Nigerians need electricity all of the time not some of the time. A generator is the best gift you can get a fellow Nigerian on whatever occasion, it has proven itself more capable of delivering heavily on electricity than the ghoulish PHCN, and therefore occupies the pride of place in the average person’s heart. Its manufacturers, located anywhere in Asia, where people grow on trees and where the earth has a persistent inclination to be savagely peripatetic, have always bared their minds on why they continue to export third rate generators to the Black Country. Most of them claim that while the more durable ones don’t last longer that five to ten weeks, the inferior ones show a remarkable characteristic in being three times more efficient, five times more smoke- diffusing, and ten times more long lasting. Ergo, as one of them added, it is cheaper to allow multiple purchase and acquisition. Most Nigerians were quick to attribute this faction to our weather, and some traced it back to the prayers supposedly said on their behalf by their forefathers. This Lexicographer, as it cannot be said that he often forgoes his penchant for nobler cases, delved into a research of his own and came up with an answer, that seemed more sinister than salvaging. It appeared that the Asians have had Nigeria’s oil reserves in their plans for a long time, this gave rise to healthful competition among their top manufacturing companies to help exorcise the demon of darkness from the nation by building generators that emit forty barrels of smoke in five minutes. Drunk observed that the plan was to send out as many generators as was possible so that the land will have its atmosphere exchanged with smoke and as a result prohibit vision. And when this happens they could swoop in, hijack the country and claim the black gold as theirs. On discovering this, Drunk conjectured that the average Asian had an intimidating IQ, which bore a semblance to his. This led him to a greater truth- that his forefathers were probably Asians.
“The only thing I need PHCN for is to remind me of the reliability of my generator. Truly, a generator is man’s third best friend preceded by booze, with microorganisms being the best of course” Drunk.
HANDWRITING (n): Grotesque representations of words by the instrumental penmanship of man. Only very few people can deliver a perfect rendition of words with legible handwritings, and according to the late professor of knowledge, Gregor Drunk, the handwriting of an individual can best be determined by the gastronomic inclinations of such individual. The cannibals are described as the most gifted select group of humans whose handwritings are closer than any other human to the standard used by divinities to ascertain legibility in writing. Indeed, it requires no painful sojourn through the fortress of cogitation to know why this is so; a cannibal eats plants, animals, and of course, humans (which places him on top of the food chain). He is a perfect reservoir of organisms, their nutritive energies already absorbed into his and their creative enthusiasms all merged into his, to give him more ‘living’ attributes that anoint him with the ideal aesthetics of good penmanship. Gregor Drunk’s findings weren’t received with much accommodation because he couldn’t provide enough physical evidence to buttress his claims, no cannibal having ever written a book- the imbeciles!
HELL (n): The one word usually referred to when trying to describe something that is extremely hot and numbingly cold.
LENGTH (vb): (The projected sense of lent). This verb comes into use when the person to whom one has lent a particular commodity deliberately, or not, withholds from one the restoration and repayment of the commodity in question in so great a time that it exceeds the agreed time of repayment between both parties. The commodity in question could be anything from a skipping rope to a wallet to a time machine to a wife and even a kidney, but never money.
YOGA (n): A form of exercise for the body for controlling breathing, used by people who lose their breath too easily and have been forced to gain it under labour.