In my household there are four of us: my husband, our two children and me. At least that is what I thought. It seems, however, I clearly have been misinformed about the number of occupants in my home, as there is now another resident about whom I am now learning.
You may be wondering about how this knowledge has come to light and I am about to tell you. Let me disappoint some eager friends of mine who are chomping at the bit for me to again join the ranks of those contributing to the necessary expanse of our population. Sorry guys, but I leave reproduction to those who are coming behind me. Some of you may be wondering if we recently acquired a pet. We already have a dog whose name starts with ‘R’ so he can feel like part of the family but he is not the one.
I am speaking about Mr Not Me. First off the bat, he does not belong to our family because in my family our first names all start with ‘R’ as I mentioned before. So that if someone wrote a cheque to my husband and put R Boyce on it perhaps I could cash that cheque. I have never tried though so I do not know if it is possible. But I digress.
Mr Not Me and I first butt heads when I realised the house over which I had painstakingly laboured to clean in a matter of hours resembled the destruction following the passage of a category five hurricane. When the question was asked, “Who has all of these toys and shoes all over the place?” the prompt reply came back, “Not me!”
In the days to follow, Not Me was also responsible for leaving on the bathroom lights, spreading crumbs on the back seat of the car, leaving the toilet seat up and not taking out the garbage. Tried as I liked, I could not find Mr Not Me. And what made things so frustrating was that with each passing day he became bolder and his activity, instead of waning, seemed to escalate to uncontrollable levels. He would forget to water the plants and leave dirty laundry on the ground. Then as if to flaunt his anonymity he would leave the breakfast dishes on the table and refuse to wash those in the sink.
As I sat to strategise against this elusive nemesis it dawned on me that I was not alone in this trial, and in truth and in fact, Mr Not Me has been around since the beginning of time. For those who believe in the Bible and the account of the creation story we find evidence of Mr Not Me’s presence, and if not him, certainly an ancestor from whom he learned his modus operandi. We pick up the story when God questions Adam about the forbidden fruit he had eaten, and he immediately declared it was not him, but the woman the Lord graciously gave him as a companion. Did it stop there? No! Eve, when she was questioned, declared it was not her but the serpent. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, the serpent was the only who could not claim it was Not Me.
Fast forward through several millennia and we are back to modern-day times and Mr Not Me has expanded his reach to several households I am sure, and additionally to several segments of society. Who was it that cleaned the side of the road and left the debris lying there for weeks on end? Not Me! Or who was it that gave that child a taste of alcohol or a smoke of a spliff? Not Me!
I love fast, loud cars and that is no secret. But who is it that races cars on the long dark stretches of highway late at night? Certainly Not Me! What about those persons who walk about looking for innocent persons upon whom they can prey and swindle them out of their limited funds? You guessed it. Not Me. Who is it that throws bottles from bus windows or leaves children unattended at home whilst they go out to a party cruise? How about those who continue to add pigtails to their food and add shovels of sugar to a morning cup of tea? I am curious to find out who it is that takes concealed weapons to school. What about that person who let go a silent but deadly bomb of bowel gas in the supermarket aisle? Your guess is as good as mine but I am inclined to believe that it is Not Me.
Despite numerous attempts on my behalf to capture Mr Not Me I am still left in the dark. I cannot tell you if he is tall or short or whether he is truly a Mr and not a Ms These days, it is becoming very difficult to tell male from female. I believe that we need to set up a special sub-committee and include high-ranking officials from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Education, Finance and Health. Since Mr Not Me has such an expansive reach, we also must involve those who represent the non-governmental organisations and the tourism sectors. We must not forget the ministers of religion and as this project requires a certain degree of innovative thinking, we need those who will be reading for a degree in entrepreneurship on-board to afford them some ‘hands-on’ experience.
I am resolute in my belief that with all this focused cerebration Mr Not Me will no longer be an enigma and we will find answers to the questions in this article and so many other mysteries. And there is one other thing of which I am one hundred per cent sure. Guess who will be on that committee? Not me!
(Rénee Boyce is a medical doctor, a wife, a mother and a Christian, who is committed to Barbados’ development. Email:[email protected].com)