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Lessons Of My Life I Have Learnt From A Mad Man —By Bayo Egunlae

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One of the most important lessons of my life I have learnt from a mad man, yes, a mild non-violent lunatic if there is anything like that. 

Anybody familiar with Awolowo Avenue old Bodija around 1999 will know Mr Ade, some people call him Londoner.

He is always going about the street politely begging for five naira. “Brother e joo e fun mu ni 5 naira” meaning bros please give me 5 naira. He is always well-dressed and polite; I bet you will be willing to give him. 

I had sometimes heard a rumour that he was formerly in the UK and was conjured home by his family magically, this eventually had effect on his sanity. While I cannot authenticate the story, I can confidently say he was a very polite mad man.

On this faithful day as I was standing in front of the gate of my Uncle’s house, Mr Ade passed by soliloquising.

He eventually turned to me and begged for the usual five naira, unfortunately, I had no five naira change with me, so I told him I have no money, at least I used to give him.

But the look on his face shows so much need, he must be really in need, I changed my mind and called him back, I gave him twenty naira. 

Twenty naira at this time will buy you a complete lunch with a bottle of coke in Zik hall cafeteria, hence to both of us, it was a big money. 

He was happy and with joy and trust he moved close to me and said “can I ask you a very important question”, I nodded in acceptance, and then he asked “am I a mad man?” 

The obvious answer from a sane person will be no, and that was what I said. “Thank you!” he replied, then he said, “just because I don’t see things the way other people do, does that make me a mad man?” No, I answered again. 

He bent down on the floor, and wrote “W” and asked me what he wrote.

At this point, I was already feeling ashamed getting involved in a lengthy conversation with him, in a hurry to leave, I said “w”, but I was amazed when he replied to my answer.

“You only see “W” because of the angle at which you are looking at it, if you turn upside down you’ll see “M”, from the right side it is “3” and from the left side it is “E”. The fact that I don’t see things at the perspective that everyone is seeing it doesn’t make me a mad man, he said. Then he left.

I pondered for so long about this though, and more, its application to life.

We act and relate to people based on the perspective at which we are looking at their situation.

Have you taken your time to look at other possible perspectives, views and angles, maybe a little from their own view before we judge them. 

I then decided before I go angry or act against or judge anyone that has done something unfavourable to me, I will view it in at least three possible perspective, mine, theirs and other’s view.

So before you judge people, before you rage your anger on them, take a little time to view their angle or perspective and if you still cannot see a reasonable reason, then you can.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Please note that Mr Ade Adeyemo was rehabilitated and he taught Physics in Oke Ibadan High School till 2004 when he passed away. His students were proud of him, they told me so. I am glad I met him.

PS: We had a similar teacher at Ipetu Ijesha Grammar School, Mr. Ogunba a Shakespearean who taught literature like Apala or Oriki. He was transitioned from London because his family thought he had gone crazy. They thought he was crazy because he was not conventional like them.

Courtesy: Akib Abiola

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