“All your life is gone!”

An African colleague told me a joke today about one of the first English colonialists in Nigeria. (He’s not a Nigerian, so I can’t say whether this is common there.) I’ll leave any metaphors to the imagination for now and just appreciate the humor.

The Englishman was asking about the people and the society. He asked, “do you know about biology?” The Nigerians said no, and he said, “oh, 10% of your life is gone.” Then, “do you know about psychology?” They didn’t. “Oh, now 20% of your life is gone!” And again, “do you know about sociology?” Again, no. “Now 30% of your life is gone!” And so on until they barely had any life left.

Then the Englishman began to explore with a Nigerian guide. But crossing the river, their boat capsized. The Nigerian man swam to shore, but when he looked up the Englishman was not there. He saw him still floundering in the water, and called out, “do you know about swim-ology?” No reply came, and the Nigerian said, “Oh, all of your life is gone!”


About developingnathan
I am a reflective person. I am an introvert, a friend, a brother and a son. I appreciate a well-crafted glass of beer, piece of music and turn of phrase. I am a professional of international development, a good pianist and a Green Bay Packers fan.

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