Of Shoes And A Wristwatch

I have never been rich in my life. I have so far oscillated between abject poverty and mere sustenance.

I can count my illustrious possessions on the fingers of one hand. But I want to be rich, for two reasons:

1. I like comfort. There is a difference between basic comfort and ostentation. Comfort is what you acquire to satisfy your longing for ease; ostentation is what you acquire to satisfy the public and earn a specific reputation. 
2. I want to be rich so I can be economically useful to society. Create jobs, help the poor, etc.
These are not any special wishes. Let me add that sustenance is relative. What I call sustenance, another person calls wealth. Reason I was once accused of money rituals even though I have never been able to afford a brand-new car in my life.

For whatever reason, some people have convinced themselves that I have a lot of money stashed away in my accounts. I've stopped protesting. When I move around in my rickety car, they say I'm "pretending". I know the problem.

The problem is that those really close to me know if I have one billion Naira today, not much will change about my lifestyle. Jeans and shirt. Sneakers. No jewelry, a new car but not one that tells a special story. No wristwatch or sartorial attires. First time I wore a suit was for a presentation in school. Second time was my wedding. First time on any native attire was also on my wedding. Never will take a chieftaincy title, or make a public donation. First time I "sprayed" money to honour a friend who wanted it for his event, I felt so vain and ashamed. Close relatives assume, wrongly, that since I'm the same man at all times, the rickety car does not imply poverty. So they don't believe that I'm wallowing in penury as we speak.

Not a way to live, I know. But it is not something I labour to do. It comes naturally to many who have made a vocation in philosophy. Philosophy was my life. Peter Obi has a degree in Philosophy. You can now understand. Philosophy is the Deeper-life church of the intellectual community. It teaches you to despise gloss and showiness and bling. To buy exactly what you need, not what you want.

But people who are used to bling will never understand how a man will have only two pairs of shoes and one wristwatch. Such trivial virtue will make news in a world where many live for everyone else but themselves. Such irony in a nation poor by every standard.

Written By Immanuel James Ibe-Anyanwu
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