Sir, can I skip this one? Please?
Ah, that was a flat no from you. You haven’t given me a chance to flesh out an excuse. I’d like to explain why I want to skip this one.
What’s my excuse? Here it is.
Come on, you can’t be cutting me off like that. Let me finish.
Oh, you won’t let me finish? Who do you think you are? My shadow? Jesus! Some people are so pushy.
Okay fine. I’ll calm down. I respect you. I’m sorry for getting worked up for no reason.
Yes, I understand. I know you wish me well. Thank you.
No, I don’t have anger issues. I can, I can deal with it.
Yes, I’m good. I’ll do it. I’ll write.
Ah, I see what you’ve done there. You’ve pulled a Nike on me. I hear, “Just do it.” You win. Okay, here we go.
#1. Improvise on Guitar
A man moves his fingers from one end of the fretboard to the other, picking those strings and bringing out the sweetest sounds from the soundbox. He’s nodding his head and tapping his foot. His eyes are closed and his teeth are clenched you can see the reflection of light bouncing off his incisors. There’s no doubt he’s feeling the music. He’s killin’ it on stage with those strings. The crowd is going all fireworks.
I’ve wanted to be able to strut along the fretboard the way greats like Jonathan Butler, Jimmy Dludlu or George Benson do it. I’m a long way from them. The best I can do for now is play like the amateur guitarist I am. I wish I was a better player of this instrument.
#2. Play Chess Well
I remember the first day I beat my computer at chess. You’d think I’d become a grandmaster. I got up from my chair and raised my two fists in the air in celebration. I ran out and did a victory lap on the compound. I did a silly dance when I got back. I was on top of my world. I had achieved something I’d failed to do over 30 times before. It meant so much to me to be able to win a game of chess against a computer. Sadly, that was the last time I got a win. I’ve also never won against a human. My chess skills are unfortunately still unpolished.
#3. Perform Magic
In my village Pakwach, magic is associated with evil spirits, the underworld, darkness, bad things, night dancers, night runners, witchcraft, rain makers, people who catch flights on broomsticks, spirits that attack you in the night and attempt to strangle you when you’re deep asleep and spirits that cause sleep paralysis. Magic is dreaded. Everyone keeps away from it or from anyone who is rumoured to have magical powers.
I wish I could do magic, the entertaining type. Card tricks, sleight of hand, mentalism. I love these. Close up magic gets the thrill out of me. I can sit for hours on end watching magic. Penn & Teller Fool Us, magicians on AGT and BGT, random magic clips on YouTube.
Magic always leaves me with the same question. How did they do that? I love magic. I like the mystery that it comes with. I’ve learned one magic trick from watching Penn & Teller. I’ll try it out on one unsuspecting friend. I can’t wait to laugh my head off when they get so spooked.
#4. Understand Deutsch (Bonus)
I want to be able to speak German and write stories in the language by the end of this year. So help me God.
My German language skills are like that of a baby just learning to speak. I know the eins, zwei and drei’s. I know the Guten Morgen and Gute Nacht’s. I can say, Es tut mir leid, Wie geht es dir and Konnen Sie das bitte wiederholen. This is shallow waters.
Throw me in the deep end of German today and I’ll drown. I’ll raise my hand for a lifeguard to save me. I hope I’ll be able to dive in the deep and swim with native speakers by the time 2019 comes to a close.