An overthinker knows he overthinks. But the only reason he knows is because he can’t stop.
During my primary two through to primary three years, I had a classmate. I can’t remember his name anymore but his face strikes me as a Segun. Segun was quite poor academically based on whatever standards the school I attended used. I wasn’t. He was slow to grasp, again based on the way we were being taught. I wasn’t. I remember one time the teacher told us to bring two oranges each to class the next day, and some sugar too. ‘We are going to make an orange drink. Like Fanta’, he had announced to us. I came with the oranges and as expected, some of us turned up without, but Segun was the one who had the entire class agape. Whilst we submitted the oranges into the collection bowl, Segun drew out a 25cl bottle of Fanta from his backpack and handed it in. We laughed, we jeered and we mocked. I laughed, I jeered and I mocked.
‘Segun you’re supposed to bring oranges so we can make an orange drink like Fanta, not bring Fanta. Mumu boy’.
In retrospect, we weren’t laughing because Segun had made a mistake. We did because we thought Segun was fulfilling our prophecy of him being a dunce. We teased and condemned Segun so much because we were taught to believe that he was dull and that he was the reason for his own problems, and we did. We did so much that he himself believed it. He believed it so much that one day in primary three, Segun stood in front of the class, his hands over his head and he said out loud, ‘I have spoilt my life’. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks too; and for the first time since I had known Segun, I was confused about his actions. See I thought I had Segun figured out. Well, I thought my teacher did, and my teacher couldn’t have been wrong, right? Yet in that moment, Segun didn’t appear dull. He was just a boy who had come to believe what the teacher said. And these days I wonder if him believing that he was a dunce because the teacher said he was, was actually him being a dunce. After that I still believed he was a dunce, but only with my head. My heart was free from that illusion.
Then there was another when the teacher asked us to create the image of a N1 coin in our notebook. Well everyone got to work and I was going to wow my mates and teacher with a well detailed drawing. I don’t know where he got the idea from, but when I looked up at Segun, he had placed the coin under a leaf of his note and was shading away. After he was done, he put a circumference around it, and it was the perfect N1 coin.
Segun may not make a great accountant or lawyer, but maybe the reason he brought that bottle of Fanta to class was because he had no time for imitating something that had already been created and maybe it’s the same reason why he didn’t spend time outlining a N1 coin. Segun is likely that one staff member you need in a recession when your business can’t break even or the engineer who is going to stop the Virgin Galactic from crashing at launch, and the scary part is, Segun may never know the reason why he did those things.
So maybe I’m not big on celebrating teacher’s day. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the lessons, commitment and the hours of standing. I do, I even appreciate the strokes. Well, some of them. Okay, none. But every time I think of things this way, I think of myself as a good product of a flawed system.
I don’t know where Segun is today or if his name is really Segun, but that boy was an outlier and I hope for his sake that when he left our school, he met better people than us.