Thursday, 05 July 2012 04:30

Of Liars, Borrowers, and Thieves

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My sister told me this one:  A woman went to her pastor with the sole purpose of getting money from him.  As soon as she arrived, she began soberly, “Pastor, I have never seen calamity like this in my life.  My only sister died in the plane crash.”  She paused and glanced at the Pastor.  He looked reasonably concerned but not distressed.  So she continued, “Since then, my mother has been in a coma in the hospital and I have been travelling to Akobo every day to visit her.”   She checked again to find the Pastor leaning forward in his seat looking distressed but not devastated.  So she thought, ‘only a little more’ and continued, “Yesterday, while I was gone, one of my children fell into the stream behind our house and drowned…”  Now she was going for the kill, “can you borrow me…”  Suddenly, the pastor burst into tears.  The woman was shocked, quite unprepared for his overwhelming show of compassion and she hadn’t even got to the part of how much money she needed from him.

“Uh, uh, uh!” he bawled.

She began to comfort him.  “Pastor, ko to yen, please don’t cry.”

“How can you lose two people in such a short period?  Oh Lord, why?!” the pastor wailed.  The woman was flustered.  Not knowing any other way to console the pastor, she backpedalled.

“Emm, Pastor, a man was passing by when my child was about to drown and quickly rescued him,” she recanted.

“Uh uh uh,” the Pastor continued to weep, “but your mother is dying…”

“ehmm, you know, Pastor, her doctor called me just before I stepped into your office and she is doing better, Sir,” she corrected and finished, “It is a miracle.  Praise God!”

“Ha… Ha… Halleluyah,” the Pastor managed between hacking sobs, “still you lost you only sister, oh why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Sorry Pastor, don’t cry,” she placated, “what I meant was that I almost lost my younger sister in that unfortunate crash.  May God not allow us to witness such a disaster again!”

The pastor’s tears stopped as suddenly as they’d begun.  He glared at the woman and shouted, “GET OUT OF MY OFFICE, YOU LIAR!”

Often the line between liars, borrowers, and thieves is blurred.  While many who borrow money have genuine needs (like me), others do not.  They spin tall tales to con others out of their hard-earned or perhaps even soft-earned cash.  Like the lady who typically borrows money from me.  Once she follows her, “hello, my sister,” with a sob story, I know the punch line is “can you borrow me $$ till…”  But she usually pays back.  It is those ones that don’t pay back and have no intention of ever paying back that blur the line between liars, thieves, and borrowers.  They lie to con folks out their money, get the money, and never pay it back.  In other words, they commit theft by possession.  These are the ones that bankrupt their friends and relatives.  They flaunt fancy aso ebi, throw parties, and buy new cars, while owing you and I only a fraction of the cost of their extravagances.  And we look on hungrily wondering when we will cross their radar and get paid.

So, to help myself, I have decided to only “lend” to people what I can afford to give away.  So when a certain LBT (Liar Borrower Thief) starts to spin his/her sob story, I have my own ready.  “Ahh,” I say, “things are so bad everywhere o; it is not only you in bad shape…”  Secondly, I seriously weigh the feasibility of my ever laying eyes on my money again.  After all, there is a reason banks don’t lend money to the unemployed.  People who have poor management skills would never get round to paying back borrowed money regardless of how much one harasses them.    Finally, I stay away from chronically broke types who would tell you in one breathe that, “I can’t teach o, that’s a lazy man’s job” and in the next, “Can you lend me $50 till Sunday?”  And on Sunday, we all go to church to repent of our lying, borrowing, and of course, stealing.

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Abi Adegboye Ph.D

Abi Adegboye began writing as a young girl growing in western Nigeria.  In a culture that reveres boys, she was born the second of three girls.  Certain she had to be her family's 'boy,' she climbed trees to harvest fruit, dressed chickens for dinner, caught mice, and whatever else required male-handling.  She also loved to read, write, and draw.  Her initial efforts yielded publications in local newspapers and newsletters.  However, she was advised to get a day job which turned out to be as a professor of political science.  This opened to her, a different avenue for publication in her areas of research including African women and development, women migrants, and the impact of public policy on women’s political economy.

On her 40th birthday, she rekindled her creative writing with the publication of Butterfly, a picture book and Reflections on Nigerian Christianity, a social commentary.  Since then, she’s co-authored Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life (2010), a cultural anthology and published Wanna B Prez? 10 Life Strategies from President Barack Obama’s Journey to the White House (2012), a YA motivational YA book, and Renike comes to America (2016), a novella.  

Abi writes multicultural fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults.  She shares her writing through speaking engagements, performances, storytelling, and classroom visits. 

For more information about Ms. Adegboye’s publications, or to connect with her, visit her

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