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Packaging
By Chukwudi Anagbogu

Two years ago, I was in dire need of some money to get a publication done in record time. After exhausting all the avenues available to secure a loan to no avail, my mind suddenly went towards a former coursemate of mine Emeka, whom I admired greatly. Even while on campus, he had lived an ostentatious life style. He was the only one in my class that had a car, a Range Rover! Everyone, including lecturers envied him and wished to be like him. Curiously, Emeka had little or no interest in women, but my little closeness to him saw otherwise. He was always withdrawn. Much as I tried to solve the puzzle that was his life, I couldn't make headway. That's by the way, I found my way to his office where he now runs an advertisement outfit. I told him I needed 'just' fifty thousand naira, to be refunded in a month. After waiting patiently for me to reel out my problem, without uttering a word, he retrieved a letter from an envelope and handed it over to me to read. My hands trembled as I read the letter. The only asset his late dad had left for him had been sealed off on account of failure to service a huge loan he procured from a commercial bank to start up his advertisement company, which according to him was also on the verge of being sealed!

A lot of people lead false lives. They try to appear in a way different from whom they truly are. The primary aim of this is to appear sophisticated and rich before those who care to care. An undergraduate whose parents sweat it out to pay his fees spends the little stipend he has feting 'friends' and clutching the costliest smartphone in the market. He hardly puts on a particular cloth twice, only to be ordered out of the examination for non payment of tuition! Hmmm!

It is not a bad thing to live large if you can comfortably afford it. But the fact that you even borrow just to impress labels you as a fool because you will eventually sell what you need to offset your debts. A lot of people inherit fortunes from parents and other benefactors, but liquidate them within a short while! That is why it is said that the greatest asset one bequeaths to one's children is sound morals and education. A lot of rich men today came from poor/humble backgrounds, while a lot of offsprings of wealthy men end up squandering their parents' wealth.

How do you feel when you go on a date with a prospective female acquaintance, only to buy her a sumptuous meal, while you sit and fold your arms watching her devour it, pretending not to be hungry? What are you thinking when you lie to a lady that your dad is the owner of all the trucks labelled "goods only" just to woo her? Remember, it is only irresponsible girls that would fall for such tricks! Imagine as a motor mechanic, you chauffeur a lady to a 'joint' in a customer's car, only to 'jam' the owner right there! Hmm. Or in a bid to do some "packaging", you fall into the hands of kidnappers who are misled by your fake lifestyle!

You may miss countless opportunities to better your life when you make people feel that you have, when in actual sense you are struggling to survive. How do you expect me to lend you a thousand naira when you are using an iPhone 6 plus? It doesn't matter whether you got the phone on contract or your uncle abroad (that's the usual story) sent it for you, you are supposed to be equal to certain task!

Discover yourself

Nearly everyone is a musician today. In most streets, there are provision stores in every compound! Many unemployed youths have turned 'men of God' overnight, the list is endless. Whenever one person succeeds in a venture, others would follow suit, and when they don't achieve success, they accuse the first person of 'back magic' or voodoo.

Not everyone that smiles is happy. When you go close to those you envy, you would appreciate your life better. Even the rich are unhappy, but we see only their wealth, not their cross. We are different in our respective ways. We don't need to waste time trying to 'outpackage' others. Therefore, we need to discover ourselves. We all came from different parents and on different dates, so shall we not all die the same day! It is good to look up to someone as a role model, but not to go into an unfamiliar terrain just because someone else has done so. Some men who throng foreign countries in search of greener pastures, just because someone else had succeeded there, fail woefully while some even lose their lives! Whatever legitimate career you are pursuing, take it seriously. With time, you will ascend the height you've always wanted.

Chukwudi Anagbogu
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