Doronophobia: (n) The fear of gifts/receiving gifts.
I was at a party with a couple of friends some years ago and I was having such a great time. Food, liquor, cigarettes, fine women; the perfect ingredients for a perfect party. Everything was going so well that I felt nothing could possibly ruin this moment; until a girl I was familiar with walked up to me to strike a conversation – which, now thinking back, could have been avoided if I had just felt her up or put out a cigarette on her left arm.
A wonderful girl she was, with the brightest eyes and naughtiest smile. We talked for a bit about a lot of irrelevant things – just as God intended – for man and woman could possibly never have a conversation about sensible things. That’s how people get married, and after a given period of more sense and self-awareness, divorced.
She started talking about how she wanted to get a breast reduction. I stole a glance at her tits and thought about the struggle Mary Slessor went through to stop the barbaric killing of twins; and I instantly despised this girl. But was she going to stop there? No way! She went ahead to mention something that made my heart skip a beat.
“My birthday is on the 8th of January! You had better get me a gift or else!”
My mind clouded with dark thoughts and my spirit drifted towards the abyss of Hell. The cigarette I held started to quiver in my hand as I tried to get a grip of myself. She kept on yammering but none of her words were getting any audience. I knew I had to do something so I got my shit together and asked her:
“What’s today’s date?”
She looked at me as though I just asked to have a peek at her toilet after she took a dump.
“What now?, she asked, looking puzzled.
“What’s today’s date?” I asked again, feeling my head growing light.
“It’s the 27th of December. Wow. You look sick. It must be all those cigs you’ve been smoking. Blah blah blah blah blah blah bl…”
Everywhere went silent. I knew what I had to do at that moment. I had to die before the 8th of January.
Alright, of course I didn’t think of killing myself but I did think of faking my death and running away to a faraway Island. Why? It’s quite obvious, isn’t it? I absolutely dread giving or receiving gifts! How would you wish me a happy birthday, long life, prosperity and all the other pretentious wishes we all get and then kill me softly by giving me a gift? Do you think this is a game? Then I would have to spend the rest of my days thinking of how to return the favour! People are just inconsiderate. I dread buying gifts for people too. The long process of deciding if a book or a dildo is a good gift for a girl who has been single for over 5 years is enough to drive me over the edge. And now this silly girl decided to put me in a tight spot. But since God watches over his flock & I stopped being a sheep a long time ago, I had to put my mind to work.
Ever seen one of those movies where a mysterious man would show up at a bar drinking alone and the other characters would wonder what dark and dangerous past he was running away from? Yes, that guy would be me except that I haven’t killed my wife… because I’m unmarried.
The plan sounded really great in my head.
Smoke a cigarette.
Set house on fire.
Ditch mobile phone and laptop (and delete all suspicious folders, if necessary)
Leave the country as quietly as possible.
Settle in a remote part of the world where they don’t get African Magic.
Top-notch scheme! I imagined the place I would move to. Small Island in the Caribbean where most folks mind their business (virtually impossible because I wouldn’t relocate to a place where the presence of women is almost null. And we all know that women are the masters of not minding their business). I imagined palm trees, tequila & a one-bedroom apartment to myself (in my mind, I have a lot of money to travel around. Someday mind will connect with pocket).
One night I would walk into the bar and ask for my favourite cocktail: anyone that doesn’t have the lethal poison commonly known as Vodka (pronounced AN-goo-wish) in it. The people in the bar would grow silent as they watch this shady character sit alone & drinking his sorrows away. They would gossip amongst themselves, making up tales about my past.
“I hear his wife was killed by the fashion police so he whacked Joan Rivers and fled”
“I hear he used a toothbrush and stabbed his own cousin to death over an unknown sum of money”
“I hear he voted for Goodluck Jonathan and after the loss, he tried to defect to APC but failed so he had to run”
All rumours. None of them confirmed to be true. I would sit at that bar and drink until the bartender, a 20-something dark-skinned girl with huge coconuts (and by coconuts, of course I am referring to her breasts), would sigh and ask me what my deal is. I would stare at her blankly and let my mind drift away.
“Sir, I said what brings you to our town?”
“I know you are running away from something. I don’t know what it is but I just want you to know everything will be alright”
I would take a swig of my drink and look into her eyes. She would smile and know that I just imagined her nude lying on my bed and telling me to do nasty things to her. And then some idiot in the bar would scream to his pal:
My doronophobia would kick in immediately and everywhere would go dark. The girl at the bar would scream for help as I fall to the ground, convulsing in primal fear. The dark past has returned to haunt me. It would never stop. It would just keeping going with me everywhere like a shadow on a sunny day.
Maybe I might just join a support group for people who suffer from this terrible condition. It would be called The Gift Anxiety Support Group, Gifts Anonymous for short. Every session would start with each of us sharing our pains and how we have been able to overcome our fears. We could applaud Mike for not passing out when he was told that he would have to present a gift to his boss during his retirement party. We would give daps to Ejiro for not trying to kill himself when his girlfriend bought him a nice pair of football boots, knowing fully well that she had been eyeing those slick pair of Red Bottoms (Ummmm I write Red Bottom simply because I have genuine troubles spelling Christian Lou… Lou… You know what I mean). They would shed tears as I narrate the tale of how I faked my death to get away from getting that girl a birthday gift on the 8th of January. At the end of the session, Deji would walk up to me and say:
“I wish I was half the man you are”
And I would just give him the silent nod and walk aw…
“DID YOU HEAR ANYTHING I JUST SAID?!”
My mind snapped back to reality. My cigarette had burnt out and turned my fingers sooty. The girl was giving me the evil eye as though I never pay attention to anything she says. I vaguely remembered something she said about a gift and I hurriedly walk out of the party.
“Where are you going?” she asked angrily.
“I’m going to make sure I have a running stomach on your birthday so that I would have a legitimate excuse to avoid buying you anything”, I screamed back at her as I briskly headed for the gate. I had no intentions of being suckered into making promises I won’t keep.
And besides, why would I want to buy a gift for a girl who wants a breast reduction? That’s like spitting in the face of the Almighty and you know how the saying goes: saliva and clay heal the blind.