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GETTING SLAPPED TO STRONG THINGS

The dust from the Bianca slap episode is yet to settle, we are again being regaled with another slap saga involving Will Smith & Chris Rock. You know these stories, so I’m not here to repeat them. They just remind me of the resounding slap i once got on a campus gbedu too. It was the first higher institution i had attended somewhere in the SW away from Lagos over two decades and a quinquennial ago.

The slap came as a rude shock. It was at one of those off-campus gigs in a jam-packed hall with music blaring and students digging to the groove in different dance steps. I guess being diminutive in stature gave my assaulter the confidence, mistaking me for a pushover. As i made to return the slap in a higher propensity, while still at a loss what it was really about, i was held back firmly by a group of guys who had obviously come with the assaulter.

“You dey craze; you ment?!!! I dey follow babe dance, you collect am go give another guy! You dey mad?!!!” The aggressor bellowed, demonstrating and gesticulating in an omo garage fashion.

He wasn’t a stranger to me. We were quite familiar but not friends either. He had a girlfriend he visited regularly at our hostel in town. We just weren’t cool with each other for reasons i couldn’t figure. It was some cold war. He was ahead of me in school while i was a new student – coming from the street and quietly minding my turf.

Then the reason for the slap dawned on me as i struggled to free myself. Eyebrows and voices were already being raised: “make una no scatter show o.” “Go outside and settle you problems”, etc. I managed to tear free and stormed outside, breathing heavily and choking with anger.

I had only whispered into the ear of the girl he was dancing with to inform her a dude wanted to see her outside of the hall. And, that was after i had politely asked him to excuse me before passing over the message to her. The dude who sought my help had come from another campus and didn’t have a ticket to get into the event. I never met him before. So i went searching for the babe in the hall whom was a course mate and met them dancing. That was my alleged offence warranting a slap.

Perhaps, if i knew what would follow that encounter, i may have sidestepped it but my bruised ego was at stake. I was never going to let such slide.

Getting outside the show, i inundated one of my guys about what had transpired. He’s a tall no-nonsense guy. He flared up but i calmed him down and asked him to just help me ensure my assaulter was brought outside of the hall. He stormed into the hall with others and moments later, they all came back outside with my assaulter and his goons. An argument ensued and as things were about snowballing into a fracas, i demanded I and my assaulter be left to sort out ourselves.

They let us slug it out. It was past midnight and the moon stood high watching, disapprovingly I guess. The scene looked like one from the 80’s movie: “Blood Sport.” We bounced, circled and sized each other up before the ‘gbas gbos’ started, which went on for what seemed like eternity. Then i caught him badly with a blow. He caved in and staggered backwards, trying to create some space between us, while i held him and pummeled on with my free hand. His shirt ripped apart. He was obviously dazed and only interested in tearing free. At that point, some spectators came in and held me back, separating us and halting the fight. I was a mess too with bruises.

My guys hailed me for the brave show. Words flew around about the fight. It placed me on a higher pedestal of respect among circles that knew me. And, the various colored guys came afterwards at different times trying to head hunting me with the cliche: “you be material.”

The rest, as we say it, is history.

Looking back at that moment of rage and other extreme life lived as an exuberant rugged youth, one can only thank God for the gift of life today. I always say it, if i was to have died in the past it would never had been from Sickle Cell Disorder. God has been Good to me.

Say No to Violence.

The Life & Story of a SCD Warrior.

– Tayo Faloye

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