He Who Pays the Pauper Plays the Tune


I am a wall flower who dabbles in extroversion as and when I please. My placid demeanour is too often interpreted as being innocuous; my silence is taken as a queue for others to maintain a perfidious act. But don’t get me wrong I can be acerbic.

In recent months I have had the inopportune luck of crossing paths with a man and a woman who love nothing but to serenade me with tales of their coquettish youth and triumphant adulthood. The man in particular enjoys the tune of his own voice. He would recall exuberantly how he saved the youth of the city from the wretched path they were bound to take; of the bountiful accolades he gotten for his altruism.

His intelligence too knew no bounds; he was on course on getting an honorary PhD for his work, though he was a tad bit miffed as to why his name wasn’t listed on any of the previous years’ list of University honoraries. His delusion was disquieting.

He particularly had a thing for using proverbs out of context. He who pays the pauper plays the tune was his go to explanation for his social activism (or the lack thereof). A sign of intellectualism he may have thought. Intellectualism that required pseudo as a permanent prefix, I would have told him.

The woman on the other hand has provided me with too many moments of unadulterated laughter. I laughed at her, with her and for her. She assumes different pseudo intellectualism based on the topic of discussion. Depending on where her delusions of grandeur take her, her epithets can range anything from a scientist to a mathematician and everything in between. If anyone crosses her path; usually someone she finds professionally threatening they will be the subject of her desktop research analysis. MI5 have lost out on a great agent in her!

If I want to impress someone I let my work speak for itself (and eyes if need be). The thing with insecurities is that regardless of how long a diatribe you do, it will eventually catch up with you: as was the case with the two protagonists of this post. Your constructed words reveal the very thing you so desperately want to hide. You eventually run out of fuel and have no choice but to put out the fires of your constructed lies. Should you then come clean and not feel ashamed of whom you are..?

NOPE! That wouldn’t be the case where those two are concerned. They just move onto the next thing that they can grab hold of to feel great about themselves. Right now climate change is hot on the agenda and I suspect it won’t be long before these two jump on that bandwagon. I can already foretell the woman offering me a rundown of her contribution to this cause come Monday morning. How she was invited to present at international conferences (over the course of the weekend nonetheless) and part her wisdom on how to best tackle this issue. The man will offer me his ersatz political analysis on the issue and simply conclude ‘he who pays the pauper plays the tune’!

I must admit that the sanguinity within which they deliver their delusions is rather inspiring.

Engaging in what is often a one sided conversation with these two requires a lot of mental yoga. Because after weeks of listening to continuous repletion of grandeur my ears are suffering from repetitive strain injury whilst these two could only be described as suffering from the onset of a premature dementia.

In the now clichéd words of Sweet Brown “aint nobody got time for that“. I am too busy admiring the perfectly groomed and styled beards of the world. The hipsters are saving mankind one beard at a time. I always knew you hipsters had it in you. Hoorah!

Though they have admittedly created one problem for me and I’m sure many other folks who upon meeting such fine specimen are unsure as to whether one should offer their salaam and lower their gaze; or toss with loose strands of hair whilst simultaneously fluttering eyelashes and coyly enquire “so do you come here often?” ….. I digress…..

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