YOU ARE VERY IMPORTANT BUT NOT IRREPLACEABLE
Who else remembers that primary school book that narrated the story of Owie the Flute Player? As I still remember, the story was told of how a certain Owie was the best flute player in his village and in surrounding villages – such that he was respected and revered just as the king of his village and others. No important ceremony in his village or surrounding villages is complete without Owie’s presence and performance. And whenever kings and queens were angry or sick, they only needed to listen to Owie play his flute and boom, happiness and wellness is restored. Yes, Owie was that ‘importanter’.
One day, superstar Owie decided to test his importance and how much his people love him, even though these was never in doubt. He planned with his wife (she tried unsuccessfully to stop him) to pretend that he had died. On D-Day, na so Owie’s wife begin weep uncontrollably and everyone, including the king, rushed to their residence where she told them, amidst torrents of tears, that Owie is dead. This SAD news threw the king and the villagers into mourning such that everyone refused to eat, drink or go to the farm and market. The king tore his royal rope in anguish and wept uncontrollably. Meanwhile, Owie was hiding pretty in the bush and his wife would go feed and update him of how much the king and the villagers miss him, of how they wont eat or drink or farm. He was happy and felt very important.
After some days, Owie strolled into the village and as expected, the king and the villagers were so happy to know he is alive such that the king threw a feast in his honour and of course, Owie played his flute like never before. Everyone was very happy and they danced until their clothes tore. Life returned to normal with Owie’s return and everywhere was stew. The king also increased Owie’s wages to ensure that he is very comfortable. But after some months, Owie (still against his wife’s warning) decided to fake his death again and as expected, the king and the villagers were thrown into another rounds of tears and sadness. Life without Owie the Flute Player is unimaginable. And as before, after some days Owie resurfaced and boom, happiness and laughter was restored. Yes, Owie was like a god.
But yet again, and for the third time, Owie (still against his wife’s pleas and advice) faked his death. Ah, the king and every villager were once again thrown into uncontrolled weeping, sadness and unhappiness. No one ate, drank or went to the farm and market. Husbands refused to touch their wives at night and wives wouldn’t have opened up even if they attempted. This was how much Owie the Flute Player was revered in his village and environs. As before, the king tore his purple royal ropes. But while Owie’s disappearing acts were happening, one young boy was learning how to play the flute. Owie was his mentor and all along, he’s been SECRETLY learning from Owie (because Owie wouldnt teach anyone his unique skills). This boy told himself that he wants to be like the influential Owie when he grows up.
And while Owie was still hidden in the bush this third time and basking in the news that the king and villagers are sad and unhappy over his THIRD ‘demise’, a big occasion was to take place in the village and the services of a very good flute player was needed. Oh, how they miss Owie!!! Several flute players from the village and surrounding villages were sampled but none came kilometers close to Owie. Owie’s wife went to the bush to beg Owie to return seeing how important the event is to the king and the villagers, but he refused reveling in the TRUTH that they could not find anyone as good as he is. One day, he was still in the bush when a very sweet-sounding, euphonious, slivery, melliflucious melodic sound hit his ears. Hell, that is not Owie playing na? Who else can be so good like Owie or better sef? Hell, who can rival Owie? Ah, Owie decided to go see for himself oh.
He hurriedly, but still hiding, walked back to the village where he saw the king and the villagers very happy and dancing to the flute of this new flute player – and as they danced, they chorused saying “Owie is dead and we miss him but God has given us a young boy who is many times better than Owie”. Owie couldn’t bear listening to the praises of someone else, no least a boy, and so he jumped out from where he was hiding and seized the flute from the boy; the same boy who had secretly learnt how to play the flute like him. Owie apologized to the king and the villagers and told them that he is not dead and that he can play the flute better than this SMALL boy. But this time, the king and the people told him to go back to wherever he came from because for them, he is dead and God has replaced him with someone who is many times better than he ever was. Owie was thus banished from his village – and of course his wife refused to go with him. Hehe.
Truth is, today you may be the most important person where you are – but don’t kid yourself, you are replaceable and the person who replaces you can be many times better than you. Some husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, CEOs, Presidents, Governors, colleagues, friends, etc behave like Owie because they believe they are irreplaceable, they believe nothing works until they are around. Hey big head, Andrew Carnegie was once the world’s richest man just as our amiable Mr. Bill Gates is no longer the world’s richest man. Friends, do not allow pride and an EXAGGERATED feeling of importance make you lose your position in people’s lives, government or institution. Sir/ma, humility is a virtue and if you no get am, it is not too late to begin learn am. Refuse to be like Owie the Flute Player. Refuse to take people for granted.
© Chad Otsapa