Two days ago, my father went out for a walk and took a stick with him, a longish straight one, about three-quarters his height, that one day was not there and the next one was. It is a walking stick of sorts, but as such things go, it is not just a stick. In my culture, it is called a mutheegi (an old man’s stick), not a muti (a stick stick, otherwise known as a switch. I had to clarify that for the benefit of some of you prurient readers), as I had mentioned when he came back and I was poking fun at him; him being old and no longer as athletic or able to fend off an attacker as he used to be. He went on to explain, in a patient stiff and comically grave manner, that it was a symbol of wisdom and age and, he implied, the things that come with that. I told him I found it a bit Freudian; a middle-aged man carrying and seemingly luxuriating in swinging his long stick… The implications. Tsk tsk.
Walking towards his bedroom to put his long stick away, he said over his shoulder,
“Ni uroona maundu maria wabiriria? Dwe mundu mwega ona hanini!”
Contextually this translates to “Now what is that you’re saying? You’re not a good person, not even one bit!”
Methinks it is a subconscious grasp at diminishing youth and virility. It seems to say “I still have a big dingus!” Somewhat like playing golf, or why luxury vehicles are undoubtedly masculine: minimal curves, long and phallic. A body language expert on a National Geographic documentary, or was it History Channel? I forget, once said that the reason the president of the US sometimes gives his speeches standing below Air Force One is to metaphorically wag his penis in your face and show you just how much bigger than yours it is. One of my favourite stand-up comedians, George Carlin, went further, extrapolating this argument and saying that this is the reason guns, bullets, missiles, jets and such war machines are phallic-shaped: their bearers are f-word-ing you. Think about that the next time that black Mercedes Benz S500 cuts you off in traffic, or your boss wags his finger sternly in your face. And, really, any one who has to go out of his way to show you how big it is… 😉