“I made a mistake, yes I did, yes I did
Made a mistake, yes I did, yes I did…” _ Bob Marley
I am currently toying with the idea of writing a cheap ass movie script, now that everyone in that business seems to be stuck in the elite-team-of-thieves- or-mercenaries-doing-one-last-job phase (Expendables, A-Team, Losers, Takers, RED., Fast Five and whatever else comes out next year). What I have managed to come up with so far is along the lines of sci-fi mixed with disaster porno and Inception related mind-fuckness whereby aliens from some far off galaxy invade the earth, manage to ingest all the intelligence and information we have gathered since the beginning of time and colonize the entire globe all in the limited space of 1 minute and 26 seconds. Yeah, something like that. So, I was doodling a scene when the Chief Alien finally visits his/her new colony, his/her eyes wandering over the 7 billion tiny things (human beings) that are running all over the damn place and he/she asks his/her Assistant Alien:
“And what are THOSE?”
That question made me sit back and ponder for a while. Now how would a life form which is a thousand times more intelligent than us and has never shared in the human experience care to describe us? This led me to another question which is the core of this piece here: What characteristic is it that seems to unite us as human beings? The answers seem to be quite straightforward – elevated intelligence, ability to reason and communicate through spoken language, emotion, being the only fully erect of all species, etc. etc. However, the uneven manner we manifest all these characteristics makes me doubt if they are indeed suitable as answers to that question.
We do not come in standard packages, we are of different sizes and shapes, we are of different colours from the tone of our skin to our eyes and hair. Our blood may be red but they still come in different types. Even though we all think, others seem to think much more than others. Others don’t seem to think at all. We communicate in thousands of languages and more being created everyday so the chances of conveying a message to all mankind without the flaws of translation are almost impossible. Our emotions make things more haphazard than ever. In as much as we seem to be the most gifted living things on earth, we quickly realize that we are also the most flawed of the species. We have managed to single handedly lead the world in a path of self destruction while at the same time struggling to extinguish our own selves – Wars, Economic Crises, Money Economies, HIV/AIDS, Drugs, Capitalism, Consumerism, Terrorism, Fanaticism (all the –isms basically) etc etc. - all these things that we create as a result of our “higher intelligence” comes back to bite us in the ass, and what do we say: “Ah, we are only human, WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES.”
Hold up, hold up… What did you say, again?
AHA! That is the word I was looking for all this time!!!!
Mistakes. We say it all the time! However unfortunate it sounds, the only characteristic we as human beings all agree on as that which we are perfect at is the fine art of making mistakes! From birth to death, from waking thought to our sub-conscious moments when deep asleep, mistake making is the (hardly noticed) major activity of our lives, hardly conspicuous as we are blinded by our other objectives. The rate of production of mistakes increases as we grow older when we face more and more options to choose from and isolated decisions to make. In fact, just as we develop our various talents and preferences, we also unconsciously develop specialized mistake making skills, each one of us with his or her special set of mistakes that we just LOVE to make. A good number of us unknowingly then find it extremely hard not to keep on making the mistakes we are specialized in making, and even the remedy of being conscious of our precious mistake collection and being availed with a way to avoid them may do little to stop us. The mistake bug also spreads quickly to the collective actions of groups and institutions.
And so, the ball continues to roll. Terrible foreign and economic policies are endorsed by governments; men scream out the names of their paramours in the crux of marital sex, some ladies continue giving it up for the very men they consider jerks, 1 + 1 = 11 in some kid’s exam paper, Somewhere else a Caucasian calls a black man Nigger, dams built to protect foreign interests deprive those downstream of water and those downstream lose their land to give way to the water, whole nations get well more well known for their corruption than the beautiful scenery of their lands and so on and so forth ad nauseum ad infinitum. All these go on and on unabated until a bystander will be tempted to ask “Don’t they ever learn???” However one will quickly realise it is neither a matter of education nor re-education nor miss-education but rather a matter of ownership. There are mistakes we make and then there are mistakes we own. We feel like we have invested in making them as they are (great, outrageous, well known or whichever other quality that makes people look at you in shock) and that nobody, not even ourselves, can rid it of us. Mistakes that are mentioned as part of deceased’s estates in wills and in pre-nupts and in divorce settlements. Mistakes handed over proudly form father to son, mother to daughter, from one generation to the next. It’s like waging war for years and years then choosing not to reconstruct destroyed cities because they look artistic in some weird way. It’s like accidentally shooting someone dead and getting street cred for it. These are the worst mistakes for they seem to fill a void in ourselves but only temporarily because all mistakes end in some gutter of sorts as usual…
It is only when we are made to realize that we have filled our voids with nothingness still that we can gladly give away those mistakes we have chosen to own. It would be much better still of we realize there is something more worthwhile to fill that void than just endless cycles of mistakes. Some beggars on the street may then awaken and realize they can get better paid from working than just begging their young bodies away. Whole populations will realize that tolerating tainted leadership for the sake of maintaining things as outdated as ethnic superiority harms them more than letting justice be served upon them. It won’t matter who calls you nigga in good faith either… someday 1 + 1 will eventually lead to 2 and so on and so forth…
Let’s go back to my movie script, now. When I am finally through with it, sometime in 2015 and it gets done into a film that will somehow sleep its way up from a videoshow in Kibera to Westgate Mall to Cannes or Toronto or some dingy art-house in North London, the audience world over will be as keen as the Chief Alien to obtain an answer to that curious question he/she had asked:
“And what are THOSE?”
The Assistant Alien will after much thought (a few seconds is A LOT of time for these freaks) finally light up a smile of recognition and reply:
“Oh, THOSE… those are 100% bio-degradable, eco-friendly and fully automated Mistake Manufacturing Machines!!”
And the audience will laugh heartily at the joke…hopefully...
Joke… Or is it?