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Monday, February 14, 2011

post hoc ergo proctor hoc and delusions of grandeur

Post hoc ergo proctor hoc is a Latin term that means after it therefore because of it. I’m not just writing this to show off my impressive handle on the language of the dead it bears on the events inspiring this post. The substantial meaning of this piece of Latin is that human beings have a tendency to think in cause and effect. We think that whenever something happens before something else then it is the cause of the second thing. This is not always the case.

You may be wondering what that highly educational intro has to do with the rest of the title or you may not but that doesn’t matter am going to explain it anyway with a series of 3 short illustratives that took place on a Sunday with no electricity.

1. .

Everyone knows the feeling of the last song you heard in the morning getting stuck in your head whether or not you like it. I am so familiar with this phenomenon that whenever I go to do an exam I time it so that the last song I hear before I leave the house is one I really like.

Anyway on this Sunday before the electricity went I was listening to the kanye west song celebrating assholes (in the straightest way possible of course). The song starts with this really simple pianoforte (full name because a post with Latin in it deserves some solemnity) sample. One key is played over and over and it sounds like the tune gets trapped by water or a bubble, stopping dead in its tracks then the rest of the instrumentals are laid over like a cocktail with different colours. I should mention here that making and drinking cocktails is one of the side jobs of every we were four member.

Well I started tapping the piano part of the song and in no time at all my sister began singing one of the lines in the song. Whether it was because of my amazing skill in the drum beat business or not I thought so. I thought I had caused it.

2. .

I have a cousin who’s a little older than me, ok she has a husband and her first child is in class eight. They are the stereotypical young family, she encourages her children to speak their minds and question commands in order to develop their personality she doesn’t believe in spanking and most telling of all they have a young poodle like dog. I have no idea what kind of dog this is. It’s just small and has a bark more high pitched and annoying than the girl you’re thinking of right now. And the dog’s name is Paris

This dog has been in boarding school because of its manners. It went there because it shit everywhere, was what everyone was told. My theories about its disappearance are a little more morbid. One of our neighbours has a similar dog and on that Sunday those cousins were visiting.

Off to one side my sister was talking about this place in china called Guangzhou that has all the new designer clothes and originals too. I remarked rather wittily, if a little, ok a lot unoriginally, “so it’s the Paris of China.” And with the characteristic attentiveness I pay all conversations about fashion immediately let my mind wander to the other set of people.

At that precise moment they had began talking about the disappearance of Paris the dog to boarding school. Any number of triggers could have led to this conversation but I chose to believe it was me.

3. .

This takes the kicker. In the year 2008 as part of my law school studies I was supposed to spend some time in the courts observing lawyers in action. The report was to be tentatively titled “the law is nothing like Boston legal”.

In order to go we had to dress up in suits every day. And the compliments poured in. I began to think of myself as a man in a suit. I wasn’t willing to give up the look or the feeling, I would look in the mirror and smile at myself and that’s something every human being deserves to do. However it’s too hot in Kenya to just wear blazers. As sort of a half compromise my brother and I invested in a couple of half coats. Deciding that this wasn’t enough of a throwback we also decided to get those really slim ties, knots and knots of them.

By October we had enough of these outfits to wear them day in, day out for a year if we so pleased. And we so pleased.

For a year I always wore a shirt, half coat and slim tie. This was our look. Sometime last year there was a mushrooming of this outfit. Everyone wore half coats now and those who didn’t wore slim ties, always the slim ties.

Now it was the look to be looked at in. my brother and I were discussing this with another of my cousins who recently adopted the look, on a Sunday no less. At the end of the conversation we shook each other’s hands for starting a whole new fashion fad in the city of Nairobi.

And that is what post hoc ergo proctor hoc has to do with delusions of grandeur, at least in my case.