Polo

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You are a sperm. You are the best sperm. The chosen one. The one that made it. Of course you don’t know this at the beginning, you don’t think you are special because nobody affirms you and besides there are so many of you and you look like everybody else. Your heads are big, your legs are tiny. You don’t have any identity to speak of. You are a sperm, a protein. You are raised to believe in the fate of your purpose but also to embrace the inevitability of your odds. The competition you face is brutal, but you remain hopeful because what else you got? You got time and fate and you got duty.

As it is sometimes in life, and especially in old age, you start by doing nothing the whole day, just mucking about, waiting for something to happen. Nothing happens for days or even months. And then something happens. The race you have been preparing for is on! Suddenly you are aware of your innate talent to swim, to rise above the parapet. Your arms are strong. Your back is solid. Your lungs are powerful. Your focus is laser. You are ahead of the pack, in the swim of life. Suddenly there it is, you were never told what it looks like, that it would be an egg. Your chest touches the rope. And you are in, breathless, elated.

“Oh baby,” you gush.

The rest of the sperm – the sore losers – moan. They bitch. You hear disgruntled murmurs about how you cheated. How unfair it was. How the playing ground was uneven. How you started before the bell. All that hoopla.  Sour grapes. It doesn’t matter. You won. They lost. They lost because they were waiting for the bell. What is this, the bloody stock exchange?

You develop. You grow. You become a person. Slowly. But it’s boring, this process of becoming; so much waiting, so little to do. Most days you just lie there wondering if winning that race was even worth all that hustle. You wonder if you won to lie here, all day, all night, in this unyielding darkness, this obscure bed of boredom. You toss and turn. Sometimes you are upside down because it makes you feel zen. Sometimes you get a bit tipsy, when you realise suddenly there is wine in your food; your host seems to be drinking a glass of wine a day. You hear music. You hear the thudding footsteps that, unbeknownst to you, are feet on a treadmill. Thud. Thud. Thud. Sometimes there is what sounds like a party, a hubbub, laughter, someone shouting, “Tell me when you get home, sweetie.” You often hear a deep voice. It could be that of a man, but the world out there as you will find out in a few months has changed so much, so it could also be a deep voice of a woman. Mostly you hear the voice of the woman you now know very well, sometimes it’s of the man. It’s deep and it vibrates against the walls of your little sac, like a distant reluctant thunder.

At the beginning of the first three months, it was tumultuous. She would scream, “You don’t care how I am. You just sit there, with your disgusting beer. Why do you drink in the house? I hate it. It smells like death!” There would be silence, after which the deep voice would say, “OK, I will drink it outside in the garden.” To which she would say, “Go drink it away from this house. With your friends who wear those awful suspenders.”

But things settled down after a while. There was calm and laughter and disgusting movements followed by the deep voice making funny disgusting sounds. You started feeling your hands at some point and your legs and you learnt how to kick, something you became fond of doing whenever you didn’t hear the lady’s voice. Whenever you kicked there would be a yelp of excitement followed by a loving caress and the soothing voice of the lady. As time wore on, the thud thud sounds died. There were less and less activities. There was always the sound of TV. Or her on the phone. Or her sighing as she stood up. She also ate a lot of masala chips, so much you could smell them. Once in a while, a strange hand would stroke you which you found intrusive. Because you were bigger now you’d clearly hear conversations. Someone would say, “Oh Janice, you look wonderful, you are glowing.” Then you’d hear the lady say, “I don’t feel like I’m glowing. I feel like I’m always bloated.”

Or

“Janice. Do you know the sex?”

“No. We want to be surprised.”

By now you’d have figured that the lady is called Janice. And that she loves masala chips. And that she laughs loudly.

You get really bored. Just sitting there, doing squat apart from eat and shit and yawn. You wonder if this is going to be your life, this restrictive existence. Then one day you decide that enough is enough, you want to leave. You see a small light. You wonder if that’s the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. You go for it, headfirst. Suddenly the water you have been swimming in starts leaking.

The lady starts moaning a lot. And then she starts cussing a lot. She starts saying bad words. You hear the soothing words of the man with the deep voice. He sounds distressed, confused, fearful. Movements. The sound of small wheels turning, rolling on linoleum. Frantic voices, some calm. Screaming. Hers. The light is now brighter, but your head is stuck. You feel a weird breeze on your scalp, a strange sensation. Someone is holding your head, pulling it. Someone is urging Janice to “push.” Your head is out. Someone chuckles and says, “There now, there he is.” Then you are being pulled out and a cold draft hits you. You are hanging upside down like a fish on a line. Someone slaps your ass. Jesus, you think, what party have I come to? You start yelping. You hear the familiar deep voice of the man. You can’t see shit. Your eyes are shut. They place you on something, a warm metallic surface, under the warm glow of light. Someone says, “5.3kgs, what a fat baby.” You want to shout, “Stop calling me fat! I’m a bouncing baby.”

Then you are in the arms of the woman. You can smell her. You can feel her. She’s familiar. It’s almost like you’ve known her all your life. She’s sobbing. She’s saying, “Oh my baby, let’s name him Polo.” You don’t want to be called Polo. You want to be called something else, but not Polo. You overhear the doctor ask, what Polo means and the woman say, “heaven.” For crying out loud, heaven? Who are these people? You start crying again. The woman sticks something in your mouth, which you start sucking on, and slowly warm fluid that tastes better than anything you know, including masala chips, trickles out. You black out.

When you wake up, people are staring at you. And cooing. And saying, “So cute.” Disgusting. You decide to pretend that you are asleep. They keep passing you from one set of arms to another. Polo? Jesus. You make a point to change your name when you are older. No way you are going to be called Polo. Especially when you smell of chips masala.

The world is a strange place full of light and sounds and sensations. It’s all too much. You miss the sac you left; the peace and quiet you enjoyed before they named you Polo. You grow and you learn that you have a family. That your father hates changing you, that when he does he makes a face, as if his doesn’t smell. You start sitting unaided. They talk to you in baby language that you find insulting. Then one day you start crawling, then you stand without support, then you fall and stand again, then you make a step and then two and then your life continues in this family, with these people you didn’t choose to be with. These parents who fumble around to raise you. You become responsible. Or you don’t, you open a twitter account, or Tik Tok and you post sound things, things of gravitas or maybe you are vile there, rabid like a stray dog, insulting people you don’t know, peddling negativity making other people wonder, “Why are they like that?” If they bother to find out, they will have to go back to your childhood, how you were raised.

And this is the whole point of this post to open a new series called Fathers and Mothers. I know, sounds like a disused scrap metal dealership, doesn’t it? Fathers and Mothers established 1986. I want to speak to anybody raising a child and what that experience is for them. What has been your experience raising a child, yes, but what was your own childhood experience? Because how we raise our children is informed, in many ways, by how we were socialised by our parents. There is a series I love to watch on YouTube called Soft White Underbelly by Mark Laita. He interviews all misfits, pimps, prostitutes, gang members, mafia hitmen, addicts, sex offenders, and in each interview, he asks that important question that opens that conversation up, giving it perspective, “How was your childhood? What was your relationship with your father/ mother?” Then you sit back and go, “aaahaaa!”

So, fathers and mothers to special children, fathers and mothers to adopted children, fathers and mothers to only boys or only girls. Fathers who have numerous children sprinkled around town like confetti. Why? How does that happen. Mothers raising other women’s children. Blended families, they call them. How’s that? Do you love them equally? Mothers for nine months then miscarriage happens. Mothers who hate being mothers. Single parents. Fathers and mothers who are widowers and widows, raising their children alone. Mothers who get babies at 45 or 50. Sometimes you see an old chap at your son’s grade one events. He looks like he’s 60, white hair, crumbled coat, tired face, and you wonder, that chap has a child in grade one, what the hell is his story? Third marriage? I’d love to talk to such a guy. I’d like to speak to fathers who have been denied access to their children by courts for whatever reason. I’d like to speak to a mother who carried quadruplets, pushed that crowd out of her body and they are now old, eating, laughing and rolling about on skateboards in the estate.

All types of Fathers and Mothers. Just drop me an email to [email protected] with a short synopsis of your story (not two pages of it, for crying out loud) and we can get cracking.

Otherwise?

Happy New Year. Good to have you back here. I bet you added weight over this December period. Stop sucking in your tummy. Be you. Be proud of you, this is the person you are now, with a tummy.

Have you bought my new book? Yes? Crap. Buy it for your cousin then. The favorite one, not the one who wears those annoying and noisy wooden earrings. Up there, is a section called Marketplace. Click it and buy it from there, it’s easy now. We have embraced technology. I will autograph it. We deliver at your door. With a smile. Sometimes with a lollipop.

Nice to have you back.

Let’s kick it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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80 Comments
  1. Haha, this one kind of reminded me of boss baby, the series, not the movie. The one on Netflix kids.
    I am those adults who watch netflix kids, even with no kids

    I can’t wait for that series, the emotional growth and how our adulthood projections are entirely made up of our childhood experiences.

    Ps. I am that cousin who wears woody earrings and a big fan of Biko. So who wants to buy Thursdays we exchange with Drunk? You know, we’re now environmentally conscious and are trying to “recycle”

    Happy New year gang! Enjoy the cellulites.

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  2. Motherhood is quite a journey,being a single parent becomes something else…. yesterday I ran like a lunatic as my domestic manager (1 week old who I had to kutuma fare from Kakamega) decided to run away and abandon my baby.

    Weh grace and strength to all parents out here!

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  3. Yaay!
    I can now go back to looking forward to Tuesdays.
    Happy new year gang!

    I have a feeling that this series, despite sounding like a disused scrap metal dealership, is going to be eye opening.
    PS: Biko umefanya vizuri kupost. I had began looking at my email and thinking to myself “Kwani Biko hapost? Leo ni 12th. He said he’d be back on 12th. I hope hajasahau.
    Also, leave our tummys alone. Please and thank you

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  4. Yaaayyy!! So excited for the new series!!

    Also, this line, “Someone slaps your ass. Jesus, you think, what party have I come to?” has killed me!! Biko ni kama ile bhangi ya kukuonyesha watermelon bado iko kwa system

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  5. I. Can’t. Wait! Sounds like a great series. Start with the chick whose post went viral – she was claiming how she hated her 1st born coz she had him early…it was appalling – I’d like to hear the why behind all that. Also people who didn’t want kids but had them, and those that wanted them but regretted the process – I’m crossing the rubicon this yr with the whole kid thing.

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  6. And he is back! Happy New Year Chocolate man.
    Yes, I bought your book, and then I lost/misplaced it (or someone stole it?)

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  7. Chocolate man has posted and the world is happy.
    This story started with a bang! No just a bang, no baby making pun there.

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  8. You had to pick 1986?
    Well anyone at this age is dealing with pressure to get married, make babies, divorce, co-parenting, make money all self actualisation crisis are at its peak . Basically at this age the devil is dancing asonto to your life choices. Here you tested and tried.

    And these names, specifically those from our cultures are now coming full circle and you are just like the person you were named after…

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  9. Never been happier to read an email. Missed you. Happy New Year Uncle Biko and the Gang…
    and yes, let’s kick it!!

    Looking forward to the series.

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  10. Nice to have you back Biko.Always looking forward to your wonderful humorous posts.
    Yes I got the book and I enjoyed the read over the holidays.

  11. Happy New Year Chocolate Man.
    Thank you for reminding us that we have been winners since day Zero.

    May we all keep winning in 2021.

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  12. For a few days i entered this blog’s url and it was down with a message that read something like ” men (and one woman) at work”
    It was a breath of fresh air to see it load again.
    Looking forward to this new series.

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  13. Not a whole two pages – my brain is scattered like Confetti after reading this.Not sure its my childhood or my past 3 years raising 3 girls who are now 5 yr old and twins 3 yrs by myself.

    Great read Biko

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    1. A friends son was 5kg. Its not that unusual. Its just a big baby! 3.5 is just average. Mine all ranged in 3. something

  14. Hi Biko
    Happy to have you back.
    And to have started the year with those lines of ane being the chosen Spam……(: he..he.. and how it grows..Ahsante

  15. Is Drunk really out of stock? Or is it a marketing gimmick for the other book. Some how, I now believe I will never own this copy, there is always something whenever I want to purchase it.

    Who is done with their copy and is will to sell it ?
    Nobody?
    Ok, I had to try

  16. Very funny introduction. Lookin forward to the new series.

    Yet to buy your book. Must buy it though. On a Thursday to make it even more cooler.

    Added a few kilograms over the holiday. I did not mean to gain weight, it just happened by snackcident.

    Still waiting for terms and condition for 2021 before saying happy 2021. Hehe.

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    1. hahaha Clif,
      2021 has come in racing like the proverbial sperm that made it. We are barely in January but the things that have happened so far, wah!
      Nevertheless, whatever was on your vision board keep it going. We were battered sore in 2020, and this year we have to ‘Woosah’.
      Everyone added weight in 2020, some in all the right places, others in all the wrong places. Alas.

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  17. I didn’t suck in my belly, I
    Neither do I accept Sweets for gifts (my professional ethics don’t allow me)
    But I bought And read Thursday.

    Can’t wait for the series.

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  18. Happy new year Biko

    Was starting to get worried when I checked by email and could not find any notification from you.

  19. I love this post so much … maybe because I have a newborn and trying to decipher that language and lately I’ve been wondering what they think about while in there

    This series will be !

  20. Sometimes I wonder about the other sperms that did not get there and feel like I was soo pushy for making it. Would they have been different? Now a mother of one, and another on the way and feeling so alone in this. It is worse to have someone walk the marital journey with you but still feel so alone while at it. Like dressing in the warmest of fur yet feel the coldest. I pray I give my best to my children. Polo is very lucky.

  21. Why do I feel like you saw me, I was just sucking my tummy while reading this hahaha…happy new year Biko, looking forward to the learning and growth.

  22. Reading this when you are almost due for delivery adds to it a different perspective…maybe it really is true that the unborn baby does hear and understand us.. Looking forward to the series.

    P.S I do miss your tales about Tamms and Kim. Just maybe 2021 we shall get to read about them more.

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  23. Why do people go around saying they’re the sperm that made it..why don’t they say they are the ovum that made it? Ama ovum or ova (plural) are just sitting pretty waiting for sperms to race it out, then the ‘best one wins’?
    In that case lemme be the first to say ‘I’m the embryo that made it.’
    I’m here for this series. There will be surprises for sure…but in 2021 I promise not to be shook.

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  24. missed you Biko, welcome back, happy new year. i just finished reading Thursdays today, its ana amazing book, i read Drunk first, both have left me hanging, but you are such a great writer, talented. love your work.
    and the many times i kept checking if my mail has a problem, woooiii, but glad you are back.
    Fathers and mothers, lets do this haha

  25. Eiiish otherwise?? Hahaha this gem right here! Looking forward to this series!! Fathers and Mothers, Mothers and Fathers, Parentals, Parental Units, Wazae, send it Bikk
    Haha and is it just me or is that name not just the English usual Po-lo but a word i heard from a dholuo medley, where the singer asks a song and the choir answers “Pooo-loooo!” in that harmony thats heavy on the baritone??

  26. Happy New Year Biko.

    I kept wondering how you would twist the story to Polo shirt. Kumbe it’s Poh-loh the heaven. Looking forward to the series.

    Ps: I will check my weight in Feb, Jan is a trial month.

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  27. You are such a darling! I laughed into a serious sweat! This would be a nice tribute to Pala, guy must gave changed his name!
    Childhood story… mine still unfolds, but, it’s still dramatic.

  28. Oh this article had me laughing out loud at work and I had to pass it around to my colleagues… Love it! Who knew a sperm could give a story LOL

  29. Let’s kick it @bikozulu. Looking forward to a great year ahead, 2021.
    We truly have all sorts of parents, including those whose kids are scattered in town like confetti

  30. The first time I read this amazing piece of work, I didn’t understand it. I guess my mind was tired. Kumbe it’s a story of conception all the way to birth, beautifully written. Niiice Biko.