I am the footman, a citizen of no known nation, or kingdom that exists in the modern world. I live in a solitary cave in an enclave far-removed from the vagaries of modern existence. Though I live alone, loneliness has never been my lot all these years. The walls of my abode have pristine paintings and marks etched by men that lived in pre-historic times. Each morning, I wake up to the lovely tunes and chirps of birds and melodies of insects. They’ve been my cherished neighbors since I began this long and chequered quest for serenity many years ago.
As the patriarch of others that inhabit other caves in our enclave, I lack material possessions like modern men and women. I have a bag made of leaopard’s skin full of dried kernels, date palm and other wild fruits. Inside my bag you’d find a gourd with which I drink from fresh streams that criss-cross our world. Oftentimes, we drink with our cupped palms or lap directly from the springs to feel the freshness of water with our taste buds. My loins are covered with strips of calico and wool, and I wear leather sandals made of zebra skin. My most treasured possession is a scroll which I’d excavated in an earlier expedition many years ago in a cave in Palestine before the British occupation. It’s an original manuscript written in classical Hebrew. It’s believed to have been hidden there by some unknown shepherds who longed to preserve a long-forgotten heritage.
My hair is disheveled and has locks for I have not combed for months but I care less about bugs or fleas. My palms have cracked and are scaly, with my finger tips curved like talons for I careless about manicure or pedicure. They are part of the vain routines of modern men and women! My feet have flakes of scales, which have hardened from my long treks. My food is the purest anyone can get: no GM foods here but the best of wild fruits and raw vegetables. Honey and fresh wine from grapes top up my daily menu, for bees welcome me to their beehive since am not into merchandize like most men. I may look rabid and insane, but am not disturbed by the changing phases of the moon for my senses of perception and cognition are heightened, and my soul and spirit are at an awakened state. How the modern man gloats in his sorry state of “soul unconsciousness” yet boasts of being in the age of enlightenment. What a misnomer and aberration that tinge the heart of sages!
The footman has no mean history. I had money, fame and women. I have been a lover of knowledge and spent fortunes on books and held a professorial chair in psychology/anthropology in one of the world’s Ivy League schools and was a renowned envoy and consultant to the UN on International Diplomacy, Peace Building and Conflict Resolution. I traversed the world as I studied the nature of humans and taught many students and produced many doctorates and professors in all corners of the world. But the more I worked, the complexity and ironic hypocrisy of man thawed before me. Men are without exception incurably evil with a propensity for wickedness and vanity. Deceit glared at me and I was awed by the lip service paid to the famous UN Charters and Resolutions by the same world leaders who signed all the Protocols and Agreements. I cringed at the free rein of injustice, lies and sheer avarice in most dealings with poorer countries.
At a time, I was the UN’s Chief of Staff and Rapporteur in most of the peace keeping missions in Africa, South America, Middle East and South America. With a grieving heart, I watched as Rebels/Guerilla Armies stuck to their selfish ambitions masked as ‘fight to liberate the masses” from the stranglehold of the “legitimate and freely-elected government of the people” who had quashed and betrayed the trust of the people. I saw how leaders got inebriated with power and wealth while abject poverty trampled the masses to the point of absolute subjugation. Truces were broken at will and heading back to the trenches for more blood and irrationalism was a more natural proclivity among respectable parties immersed in a conflict.
As I moved around the world, my headache and sorrow-induced insomnia worsened. I had hopes for the world’s poorest of the poor when the waves of globalization picked up in intensity. I was hopeful that one day, the campaign of “Making Poverty History” would soon be realized. But events at World Trade Organization’s sessions and meetings distressed me the more. I got disenchanted and lost hope in the famed words of the G8 and the world’s rich nations who reneged on their earlier promises and commitments. I watched with chagrin as they held unto their agric subsidies and would not vouchsafe to make a little sacrifice to accommodate the longings of the poor countries that had lost their natural resources and human capital from the economic expeditions of the mega firms from the West. I saw how gold, crude oil, cocoa, cotton, and diamonds were ferried across the Atlantic from the domain of the third world to the first world countries at a “give away price” while the former languished in penury!
I reached my melting point and decided my only option was to trace my way back to the beginnings of man. I had the option of seeking any of the simplistic and savage tribes; the aborigines of Australia or the endangered people groups locked up in outlying mountains and valleys that I encountered during my scholarly trips round the world. It could even be among the decimated race of the Ancient Indians of The New Found World or the agrarian tribes in the thick forests of Africa. These men, women and children lived in caves. The choice was mine to make and no highly-paid consultant was hired to consider the available options with recommended action points. It was my destiny and I wouldn’t risk handing the decision over to another. I had a treasure box where I had locked up the relics and mementoes that they graciously offered me and not for a price like most modern men, yet they lived in peace, and sanity devoid of artificial fortifications of this modern age!
That fateful morning, I never would forget the nostalgic feeling it evokes in me, I gave my valedictory speech amidst cries and jeers. There was an admixture of amusement and gravity among the esteemed professors, post-doctorates and students from across the world, who had filled the amphitheatre of the last University where I lectured to hear me speak, for the last time. At the end of my lecture, they stood to give me a standing ovation thinking I was retiring from my professorial chair as expected. I had a different desire and would not meet their expectation for sure.
With gaped lips and batted eyelids, they watched as I stripped myself and discarded every toga and hood that marked the revered professor that I was. I tossed my designer suit, shirt, tie, and shoes and the parchments that contained all my works into a thrash can in that large auditorium. Many rush
ed for it to my amazement. I had decked within, my loin clothes made of calico and picked up animal skin back and headed out of the amphitheatre and not a few believed what reality that stared at them. It was no fable but a true myth that played itself before their eyes. To some it was a comedy of sorts, but for some others, the shock was one to last for a lifetime. Pressmen with their news-hungry and ravaging cameras jostled to catch the glimpse of this sane professor gone goose for their “Breaking News”. I cared less and walked on and out of the Ivory Towers of life.
I trudged past the abode of modern man till the decent of the sun at dusk until I met a group of shepherds watching over a horde of cattle graze in the meadows. The herdsmen offered me fresh milk and a hay cap to shield me from the sun’s rays in days to come. The footman has been on a search since then, and a journey back to Eden; the very beginnings of man. The footman is in the quest to find the true source of peace and tranquility which has eluded the modern man. in a search for God who had exited from his heart because of the taunts of secularism and relativism. I may look lost and ‘old schoolish’, but deep within I have found a sure serenity unknown to modern man which psychics and saints of old reveled in and it adorns the walls of the cave that had housed me ever since I left that university and no tourist can prod my enclave with those nauseating camera flashes!