So I’m watching this series “Billions”, and a scene in S01E03 struck me, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting it for a long time (if I ever forget). Here is what happened.
Dog Walker A is taking a stroll with his dog as is his usual practice and he meets Dog Walker B who is on the same mission. Ideally, a dog walker is supposed to carry a poop bag on walks, so when the dog craps, you pack it up nicely in the bag and drop it in a bin where it belongs. Nice and easy, easy peasy.
Only in this instance, Dog Walker B forgets to leave home with his poop bag and so when the dog craps, he just makes to move on – like nothing happened. But Dog Walker A was not going to ignore the attitude that morning, he had observed and noted that, that was Dog Walker B’s modus operandi. So he says to him nicely “Your dog pooped, you should clean up after him”. At this point, the movie scene became a Nollywood flick to me because Walker B became defensive and aggressive (typical Nigerian behaviour when you try to correct people) And in my head the actors were speaking in my mother tongue; “Kilode, kilo kan e, shogba e, shey iwo lo lona ni? Ema gbami” (what happened? How does this affect you? Mind your business, is it your road?)
Were it a Nigerian flick, people would have gathered. A few would support Dog Walker A, others would support Dog Walker B and try to rationalize and justify his actions, the peace makers would encourage them to let sleeping dogs lie and go their ways. The problem would then shift from dog poop to being peaceful and everyone will go their way – problem left unsolved.
In billions however, it didn’t play out like that (thank God!) Dog walker A happened to be a top government official who stood his ground firmly but not aggressively. When Dog Walker B out of exasperation said “Can’t you let it slide just this once?”, he replied (I really want to quote this verbatim, but his speech was long, so I’ll just paraphrase. Forgive my laziness) “Of course, I’ll let it slide, with you and with everyone else who has this same attitude. I’ll let it slide until the entire roads are covered in dog shit, we’ll step on it and take it home and all our homes will smell like dog shit. You know why? Because I let it slide!”
Calmer, Dog Walker B concedes defeat and goes “OK, point taken, I’ll leave home with a bag next time. But dog walker A was having none of that. Yes, you don’t have a bag, but I see your hands. Yup! He made him pick up his dog poop with his bare hands and even made him pick up extra (left behind by an unknown dog whose owners attitude was similar to his) You all should have seen me smiling! The scene excited me so much, because Dog owner B learnt a few lessons (which can be applied to different situations we may find ourselves in).
- Never leave your home without a poop bag when walking your dog
- If you don’t do the right thing, you’ll pay for it
- You know the right thing, just do it
- If you don’t do the right thing, there are consequences
- You owe it to yourself and your neighbours to be civil
- Every day for the thief, one day for the owner
- Letting it slide is the coward’s way out
I have always known, but it hit home again that the issues in the Nigerian society have a lot to do with letting it slide.
That kid was rude to an elderly person- let it slide
Another comes home from school with an item he didn’t leave home with – let it slide
Someone throws stuff out of a moving vehicle – let it slide
He/she is cheating in a relationship – let it slide
Government officials embezzle money but does a few good deeds – let it slide
Until we stop letting it slide and hold people responsible for their actions, we won’t stop the downhill movement.
KEY POINTS TO NOTE:
- Be courteous in approaching uncivil
- Expect antagonism and aggression
- Stay calm but firm
- Do not be condescending in your speech
- Never get physical