For the record, am yet to walk down the proverbial alley, before you crucify me for preaching what I have not done.
But on one soggy evening, I got the best piece of advice from a serious drunkard, in the most unlikely of places – a bar. If you have never been to one, please do not go there looking for good advice – (Isn’t this column enough?)
This good man, I met him while he and I were indulging in the wonders of malt.
He was an aged man, one in whose long life has involved many a good and bad moment. He liked to joke a lot, but also has the talent of garb, managing to strike very serious points with a tint of humour.
“So, are you married?” The good man asked. No, he got the answer but did not ask for a reason. “Many people think that they will marry when they become rich.”
He let the sentence hang in the air, and used the suspense to tell us a sad story of how he had lost his first wife during childbirth.
“The doctor came and said to me. ‘Sir, congratulations, you are a father…. but sorry, you don’t have a wife’.” In the same casual but grave tone he continued to pass on very important messages, the kind which the macho talk in the bar would have usually labelled sissy. One, never lay a hand on a woman.
Two, it is a good idea to have a good relationship with your daughter, so much so that, when you go shopping in the supermarket right around a certain time, you can walk to the sanitary pads shelf and pick a few, without any shame and let her know that you are an understanding father.
That second one came as a shock at first, but thinking about it, perhaps it makes very good sense.
Have you ever heard of parents who think their teenage daughters are close to the Virgin Mary when they had learnt to play hide and seek with young boys as early as when thirteen years? Think about it.
How many parents are willing to give their children their first sex lesson to avoid the risky possiblity of them following their own curiosity to experience things ‘first hand’ on their own?
Back to the story, my good man came back to where he started. “If you wait to marry after you have become rich, you will never become rich.”
There are obviously many exceptions to this rule as there are to all rules, but most importantly, marriage means the dreaded words, at least in the bar – commitment and responsibility.
Many times accepting responsibility is the beginning of personal growth. Running away from it is basically postponing life’s hard choices.
So, why marry young? There is good life to live and money to spend. Why not? Well, at least according to research, married men live longer than single men.
If you are not the research type, well, think about babies in diapers at 40, school fees headache at 60, retirement at 90, assuming you last on earth that long.
And if my good man is to be trusted, become richer earlier. Warning – don’t say this in a bar, lest you want to get thrown out!
Have a teetotaler Sunday.