When we were growing up we were regaled with folk stories and fairy tales, these stories were the not so subtle way that parents, aunties, uncles and the like tried to inculcate morals in our young impressionable minds. These stories include such classics as the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise and the dog, heck the tortoise was the star of many of these tales by moonlight, the ant and the elephant, the spider and the elephant, the snake in the monkey shadow (ok that might be a kung fu movie) there was also the fly and the corpse, don’t know if that’s a story or a saying, something about the fly following the corpse to the grave and getting buried. These assorted tales of black and white morality where the good guys were really good and the bad guys were really bad often with predictable story lines like your favorite nollywood flick had lessons/morals.
Some include “slow and steady wins the race”, “patient dog catches the fattest bone”, “Children obey your parents (this does not account for abusive, alcoholic and know nothing parents who dispense awful advice)”, “a stitch in time saves nine”, “all that glitters is not gold” and “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Don’t judge a book by its cover? But but but if I know nothing about the book isn’t the cover and what is written in the cover a decent indication of what I might find inside? What is the book was salvaged from the sewer or from a pit latrine? Am I still not allowed to judge? If I m not to judge, who is? God? And will the book have a court appointed lawyer to plead the case for its readability? Who knows? As much as society tries to teach younglings that it does not pay to be superficial and judge things on the surface society is notorious for doing exactly that, judging a book by its cover or package. Yes I wrote this paragraph looking for a way to use package or packaging.
Wikipedia (The authority on all things knowledge) defines it as thus “Packaging is the science, art, and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use” In naija slang, Packaging is the art, science and technology of enhancing one’s appearance, status and other people’s perception of oneself or an idea or entity by putting on a pretentious façade and deluding people into believing you are something or someone you are not or you represent something far more important than you actually do. In other words, packaging is perception management and in some cases outright lying or misrepresenting yourself. It is the waterloo of every human being who has ever judged a book by its cover, it is also the leading reason why certain Nigerians excel at scams, we know how to package an idea properly and sell you fire in hell. It’s a hustler’s spirit and you cant exactly blame us, our society glories in keeping up appearances.
The Nigerian society is one where people are overly concerned with appearances, families want their children to appear well behaved in public, some women dont want their husbands to flirt in public not because of the utter disrespect but just because they don’t want people to know all is not well in their precious sham of a marriage. My people love to show off, we like to appear to be wealthier than we actually are, we like to have our pictures on bellanaija.com, take instagram pictures next to Range Rover’s that aren’t ours, talk a big game on twitter, borrow money to buy clothes and designer things we cant afford, change our money to neat $1 bills to spray at weddings so that people are more impressed by us that the man who is spraying N200 (even though the exchange rate of the $ to N is 162!!!), talk with an accent that can be the best an amalgamation of American, British, Australian, South African, Indian, Arabic and 100% hot mess when we have never left the four corners of Ijebu Ode. We love to package ourselves!
People package because in a society that glorifies packaging, you cant afford to be left behind. Packaging can take different shapes and forms. Heck I once created a fictional telecoms company that was the premier provider for 6G technology (we are currently at 4G at best), and even pretended to have a video phone embedded in my index finger and that conversations can occur mentally (aka you can receive calls in your head) for a customer service presentation. My lecturer was amused and the rest of the class scandalized but I got a good grade anyway for thinking outside the box. Lol!
People package at job interviews, they exaggerate everything on the resume. It is packaging that turns a janitor or cleaner into the germ eradication consultant! People package themselves with a nice suit complete with 7 buttons and claim they went to the University of North New York (Do they not teach fashion sense in “North New York”? 7 buttons, bros na suit shebi na coat you dey wear?), put on their pakistani sounding accent, spray Aboki No. 5 by Giorgio Haruna and proceed to pack their resume with projects and milestones culled from the almighty google and supported by an all night session of cramming said information. They might end up with the job while the poor sap who wrote the truth on his resume can miss out on the chance to join the big boys in the oil and gas (word to that song by timaya and dbanj). I am not salty, I am already properly spiced.
People package in social settings, clubs and whatnot. They pop champagne not because they love how it tastes but just because it makes them look important and rich which I guess attracts the ladies. Guys package the hell of themselves, that’s how a driver at a company takes pictures of himself in oil and gas worker gear and claims to work for an international energy company while changing his car every year so as to impress ladies who sometimes fall for his stories of life. Ladies package too, make up, acting like they aren’t impressed by your attempts to impress them by taking them to that fancy asian restaurant when clearly she is a regular at iya basira and has a standing order for amala and ewedu with two kpomo, round-about and gborkotor from mama ibeji. If all your pictures on social media (sideeye at all the instagram supermodels) are all from the same angle and are all filtered then o girl/boy you sabi package well well o.
At the end of the day, packaging is necessary to survive in this world because everyday you walk around and people make instant judgements about you based on how you dress, how you look, your diction, you perceived wealth or lack of it. Being humble is not the business unless in some cases where looking miserable might be what is needed, like when I was in Warri and had it in my head that if I didn’t wear raggedy clothes everytime I left my house I might just get kidnapped or mistaken for someone wealthy. At the end of the day, all na packaging.
So folk, would love to hear your stories of when you packaged yourself or got packaged by someone? Was it funny? Did they convince you that the peen let out yoghurt if your stroked and sucked it long enough? Use the comment box wisely
This entry was posted in Africa, Human Relationships, Musings, Nigeria and tagged 6g technology, accent, Africa, all na packaging, champagne, clubbing, contracts, dont judge a book by its cover, fairy tales, folk stories, instagram supermodels, keeping up appearances, lying on resume, morals, Nigeria, oyibo, packaging, perception management, pinnochio, pretence, scam, tales by moonlight.