Life… it really is what you make it

Culture Box

It’s Saturday. You’re probably sitting at home watching cheap, crappy, pirated DVDs. You’ve most likely had one too many burgers, fries or sodas. You simply can’t believe you have nothing to do. Then, like a saviour, a buddy calls and asks, “Want to come hang with us?”

Like a puppy trying to grab an oversized bone you immediately agree to meet them at the seawall or some fast food joint that’s going to add to the already embarrassing flab around your middle or contribute to your midlife heart attack. What you don’t know is, your friend is actually inviting you out to have some rum or beer. Okay, who are we kidding; it’s rum you’re going to end up drinking.

Stretching some of the laziness out of your joints you begin wondering what you’re going to wear. It has to be something that won’t draw too much attention to your gut. With the wardrobe issue over, you take a smell of your armpit (oh my, that ad about the latest deodorant lied) and head straight for the bathroom to take your first shower of the day.

Fortunately, you’re at an age where you don’t have to ask permission from the people you beg lodging with to go out. Unfortunately, you can’t ask them for money either. Some time later you and your buddies end up in a fast food joint and you’re chomping down succulent fried chicken intent on shortening your life span. Someone, maybe you, points out that too much soda isn’t good for the gut. The sun has disappeared by now and you pack up and head for the seawall.

Seven beers later you’re talking too loud, perhaps laughing like a hyena and trying too hard to behave normal. So you think I was wrong about the rum? Fat chance! Someone, just might be you since you’ve had too many beers already, gets the bright idea to chase the beers with some good old Guyana rum. You figure you have access to the world’s best rum so why not splurge?

Long before midnight you’re drunk. You’ve already seen one too many people you know. You’ve already, irreversibly, represented yourself as the country’s greatest fool, so you jump into a taxi praying all the way home that you don’t puke in the car.

It’s Sunday. You roll over; stretch, yawn and start to cough as you smell your hung-over breath. The stench upsets your stomach and you stumble your way to the toilet to empty it. All sorts of things are going through your head but most importantly you wonder how on earth your mission to grow your gut several inches ended up with you smashing your system with alcohol.

You eventually crawl back to bed and you begin blaming all sorts of things for your hangover. It has to be the lack of entertainment in Guyana. After all, you reason, what else is there to do but eat, watch pirated movies, drink beers and go clubbing? Oh wait you forgot the bowling alley. On second thought the bowling alley is just another weekend rum shop now.

There’s always those shows at the National Cultural Centre where Guyanese over dress and pretend they’re at the opera. But you’re a realist, how many of those shows can you possibly attend and remain entertained?

No wonder you have a hangover, you think, after all there isn’t much to do where you live. There’s always cricket or some sport but is your life only going to be work, home, sport, gym, home and work again? Are you to live without decent entertainment?

You’re angry, your hangover is suddenly forgotten and you call a friend and tell them about your observations. For five minutes you tell them how outraged you are at all these things which you blame for your big gut, hangover and boring life. It took you days to forget the answer.

“Well bud,” your friend says and you already know you’re not going to like the answer, “if you think that it’s the lack of recreational facilities and entertainment options that have made you an anti-social, overbearing, overweight semi-alcoholic then think again. Life is always what you make it.”

Slam! The phone line goes dead and it’s just you, your hangover, your choices, and of course your big gut. (

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