Bad Stuff Fatigue

By now you’ve probably seen this crazy video of a dead frog in a sealed container of Cway water. Also, take a look at this tweetstorm of what I am assuming is the same event.

My reaction? Mostly Meh. I mean at some level I am outraged. It really is criminal if there is a systematic dropping of standards in the quality of water that is represented as pure. And this is not a philosophical issue either, we only ever use Cway water in the house, so this dead frog saga is a problem. But still, I’m mostly Meh.


I think it is because of bad stuff fatigue. (I don’t know if this is a technical term but I suspect it has close parallels with actual mental conditions that people in highly stressful situations display.)

In Nigeria, you get pulled in so many directions at the same time that you live in a sort of defensive stance to withstand the blows of a capricious and random environment. You are moved by nothing but the most immediate, direct and critical threat to you (and your loved ones’) continued existence. There are simply too many atrocities. Off the top of my head, I can rattle off a whole list without thinking too much about it.

The massacre of the Shiites and the jailing of their leader and members of his family; the jailing of bloggers; the starvation in Borno; my N250,000 air-conditioner which I used once before it went poof; the car which I can’t fix because it is too costly but can’t sell because everyone’s broke; the recession all around and the imminent Venezuelaisation of Nigeria; the woman with the gangrenous tit I saw in CMS this morning begging; the disabled kids begging every day I drive home from work on Alfred Rewane Road; the faces of the countless street hawkers I drive past every day who are just trying to survive; the kids chasing my car to wash my windscreen for a bit of cash–they should be in school; the water turning brown all of a sudden in the house and what that means for bathing my kids; the cost and availability of diesel; the water seepage in our new house this wet season and what it will cost to water proof all the vulnerable spots; the lack of a gutter to collect rain water at the back of the house and the consequent damage this is doing to the wall and the doors.

I could go on. The point is, big and small, near and far, we live in a state of siege by the relentless force of an army of nasty things. Whatever sliver of concern, empathy or anger we may have is crushed, finally, by our awareness of the staggering apathy of our government and fellow citizens to any other citizen’s suffering. You are alone.

To cope we become apathetic. We unlook. We almost have to, to survive.


2 thoughts on “Bad Stuff Fatigue”

  1. Jeez. When you put it all together like this, it’s amazing we are not all just walking zombies. How do we still manage to have the laughs in us? Where is this strength from that keeps us going? 😩😩😩


    1. Strangely enough, humour is a real coping mechanism. There are stories of the grim humour of people in much worse situations (like inmates of a concentration camp). The strength? Well, I think humans just try to go on, it is our default state. We stay alive.


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