Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Singing church hymns with a human brewery

Have you ever been in attendance at a solemn occassion such as a funeral, wake or church service and lo and behold, in stumbles an unsteady footed geyser who smells like a brewery? He looks around and decides that the best place for him to sit is right next to you. Am I talking from experience? You bet your last dime, shilling, cent, nira, rupee or other currency of your choice, that I have first hand experience, the most recent being less than twenty-four hours ago.

Now do not get me wrong, going to the home of the bereaved to pray, comfort and remind them that death will be conquered soon, is regarded as a good and neccessary thing in most Christian communities as well as other faiths. No one ought to be excluded from playing their part in comforting the bereaved. Actually, such gatherings can become the turning point for some " lost wretch" who becomes saved and commits himself to a relationship with the Almighty.

However it does not mean that when a human brewery decides to sit next to you, it is a comfortable experience. Those of you who know the stale after smell of "umqombothi or amasese" (a traditional type of African beer), will agree that having puffs of umqombhothi-laden breath blowing your way while singing a hymn, is not exactly a fulfilling religious experience. Moreso, when the source of the breath has taken it upon himself or herself to lean over your neck to share your hymn book , declining your offer that they take it, becasue their hands are far from steady.

As I have said, one only hopes in such situations that the Holy Spirit will do its thing and show such people the impropriety and discourtesy of attending such occassions drunk. It is not just funeral services where this stinky monster rears it ugly head. I have seen parents attend school functions and meetings in high states of inebriation and I have seen these same booze pots find their way to weddings, community gatherings and board meetings. The basic line of reasoning seems to be :

1. Find an occassion where sobriety and order are of utmost importance.

2. Attend the occassion (Force my entry if need be).

3. Be a total nuisance by arguing, being as loud and disruptive as I possibly can, stinking the place up with my dragon breath. Where possible, an added bonus is falling asleep and snoring so much that the windows rattle.

It is really is a disturbing occurence, this public display of alcoholism. Whenever I witness it, my first reactions are anger and annoyance, especially if the drunkard wants to sing out of the same hymn book as me (literally and figuratively). Eventually though, I often find myself sad and sympathetic as I think of what the spouse and children have to deal with on a daily basis. It is most definitely not an enviable life and such families need our prayers and support.

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