Friday, May 26, 2006

Flashing menace

(Off the cuff, published in the Nigerian Tribune of Thursday 18 May 2006)

This flashing thing is getting to a crisis point. Once it was only your sons and daughters who flashed you. And for bachelors and bachelors at heart, the list included girl friends, who mostly are students anyway.
But the world has gone bananas, suddenly. Every-bleeding-body flashes. Your landlord, boss, Pastor, Yes o! Men of the cloth too flash these days. You can imagine the man of God with collar and all, ringing and cutting it before you pick. Jeez!
I hear even men seeking sexual favours from ladies go on to flash them! I have heard ladies complained of that many times. That is the height of it. Have men no shame any more?
I can just imagine that scene. You flash the living daylights out of the hapless lady and she decides to call you and you go “Sweet angel, thanks for calling back. I am the guy who collected your number yesterday. I think Angel Gabriel has sent you to earth to be by my side.Can I buy you lunch?” If I were the lady, I would switch off English and look for one serious curse in my local dialect and dash the stupid man.

It does seem sometimes that the world has gone stark raving mad. Where is integrity?
Granted that the cost of calling on the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) in Nigeria is prohibitive, still, it is no reason for one to become a menace to his loved ones and acquaintances. People have abandoned the golden rules that earlier flashers abided by. I mean those unwritten rules prescribed by, well, common sense.

For instance, people generally knew you could not flash someone you wanted to beg for a favour, except it was your spouse or parents. This is a rule not written anywhere, but it is simply common sense.
These days, people will flash you and when you burn your own credit to call them will then go on to ask if you could be so kind as to send them credit. By implication, you will use your own credit to have them beg you to send them credit. Rather unfair anyhow you look at it. Most reasonable people would turn down the request.
An old colleague flashed me earlier this year. I had not seen her since she relocated to Abuja, so I did not have her name on my phone book and therefore would not have called back. But at that point in time, I still had the policy of calling any flasher back immediately so long as I had credit.(People abused it and forced me to change).
I called her back and all she had for me was that she wanted me to assist her obtain some information from NCC and relay it to her by phone in a few minutes.
To effectively run that errand, I would have needed to use my credit to call NCC to ask them to get the information for me. Since I would not be able to hold on, I would have had to call back to obtain it and then call this colleague to feed her back. In all, I would have required at least 5 minutes. At N39 per minute that MTN charges, I would have spent N195. That was okay to spend for an old colleague, but not one who could not spend N25 (business centre charge), or N39 if it is her own line, or even N15 text rate for me, an old friend she had not seen for a while. Of course, I apologised and told her I was not in a position to render the help at that point in time.
Apart from people you need to beg for a favour, other people you should not flash include your subordinate, your children, and your girl friends. There is such a thing as integrity. Okay?

And to legitimate flashers, learn to text sometimes. It won’t kill you. It costs only N15. Text more, flash less.

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