3 May, 2022
How Sarcasm Was Born
The art of storytelling has been intriguing to me, right from age 4. I had by then listened to many stories: some I knew by rote, like that of how Jesus turned water into wine, and why the tortoise has a broken shell. (If you don’t know the latter, you need to be rebaptised into the African growing up experience). But beyond that, I wanted to understand the intricacies of how stories come to be, and I made my first attempt at writing a story.
Sadly, I could not put the letters I had been learning at the time into meaningful words, and so I scribbled a lot of lines and drew a lot of pictures. Two years later, I wrote the first story: a tragic version of Cinderella which ended with the heroine dying and coming back as a ghost to torment her abusers. Quite the tale for a six-year old to create.
But yeah, for some reason – which you might later find out – I was drawn to tragedy as a child.
This time, I want to tell a different story: the greatest origin myth of Sarcasm that ever was!
In an alternate universe…before there were wars and paradoxes, ironies and parables… Sarcasm was. But it was not. It existed as a shadow – like Voldemort did after his first confrontation with Harry Potter and like Sauron was when he was once slain. It lurked in the dark recesses of her mind, waiting for moments of depression to attempt a resurrection, but it could never succeed.
That was because this heroine, Ida, was a pretty severe optimist. It was severe because she was a creation of advanced development. She found the secret process of separating the “beast in man” from the “good in man” into two different personalities – whose existence albeit depended on each other. Her beast was a strange Melancholy (Mel for short) which she bound hands and feet in a secret compartment in her mind after conducting the separation. But in order for them both to survive, Ida had to give Mel a pen, with which Mel wrote from time to time anonymously. It was during those periods that Ida could experience anything akin to pessimism. However, once Mel was done writing, she quickly chained her again.
That was why Ida was severely optimistic. Yes, there were 800 million children suffering from hunger in the real world, but that was an opportunity for advocacy. Yes, the concept of global partnership for good was a satire, but she had no tolerance for hopelessness – and championed the SDGs. Memories of abuse and harassment were only fuel to attempt striking meaningful conversations on gender. Even when her fellow Bible brethren would make “interesting” remarks, she would not call them misogynistic or empty – she would simply say they were “interesting”. As such, Sarcasm grew weaker and weaker, seeing that not even the brief periods of Mel’s freedom could bring it to life.
But Ida’s severe optimism was her hubris…for it worked contrary to the Great Law of all Universes: the Law of Heartbreak.
Ida didn’t need a man to make her happy, so a man could not give her heartbreak. However, the Universe realized that as with all extremists, her greatest strength was where her weakness lay. So it contrived a plan.
In 2020, a global pandemic came to the real earth, locking everyone in. Still she was undeterred. Then Uwa died. She simply did more advocacy and met the love of her life. And the Universe looked on, amazed at this young unnatural rebel. As it wondered, the word “young” struck over and again in its ancient mind. Then it knew how to bring her back to order.
It was October when the right season came. The earth began to return to normal. In her country, young people finally began to realise the need to reduce hunger, thievery, and everything contrary to good; and they occupied the streets. Gender equality advocates were even key players, and together they fought the Great War of the Keypads. The first campaign was called “EndSARS”, which is the name most remember it by. Guess whose optimism was more severe than ever? Ida’s!
Then on the night of October 20, 2020, the Ancient Cabal committed terrible war crimes, vanquishing the spirits of the optimistic, inexperienced warriors. On that dark night, although Ida didn’t give up, she was left with only one option: to unchain Mel because the pen was the only weapon she hadn’t exhausted. And Mel wrote vigorously, calling many to action, hoping to see global partnership for good do something tangible for once.
But they never did. Instead, when they both woke in the morning, the Ancient Cabal had sprayed gas lights everywhere. These gas lights were mysterious little fires that made the whole world mute, unwilling to admit the common knowledge of what happened that dark night. Even Instagram, their dear friend who had once helped Ida do advocacy, had shunned them for that reason.
The gasfires penetrated Ida’s mind, and for the first time since the separation, she had no strength to chain Mel. Mel herself became wilder and went on rampage, getting darker with each sad event, and lending strength to Sarcasm.
And like the Phoenix, Sarcasm rose from the ashes that the gasfires created, and was born.
That, my dear
friends, is how Sarcasm came to be.