When men die in active service By Funke Egbemode ([email protected])

Tope, my trophy wife friend, ended in hospital and in trouble. No, she’s not ill. Her husband, Otunba, was rushed to the hospital about 2.a.m a few days ago, panting and gasping. He lost consciousness on the way to the hospital but was luckily resuscitated. He, however, still ended in the intensive care unit where he spent four days with one leg on earth and the other in the land of his ancestors. It was a trying time for not just Tope but her co-wives. Oh yes, Tope is Otunba’s third wife, his young sweet potato, in whose arms he almost died. Of course, the older two wives were agitated, scared that they were going to become widows though their utterances sounded more like gloating than fear.

‘This is what you came to do, abi, to kill him so you can inherit his money.’

‘You have failed. You will not achieve your aim. The ‘chi’ of our children will not allow one childless witch to bring sorrow to this home.’

‘It is Magun. She went to sleep with her young young boyfriends and one of them must have laced her with magun to kill our husband.

‘You must confess, you gold-digger.’

‘If he dies, we will show you hell.’

‘If he dies, you will know that God does not have tribal marks.’

Well, Tope was already in hell, watching her husband fighting for his life. She prayed all night, fasted all day. She regretted not cautioning him enough about his desperate, bad habits that led them all to the sorry bus stop. She knew if he died, the magun and gold-digger story would have ended her. You know how the social media is. Google does not forget. Luckily, God answered her prayers, Otunba survived and now Tope can tell her side of the story and redirect her co-wives’ angry, gloaters’ narrative.

Otunba is in his late 60s. He is hypertensive but was determined to be a stallion in bed to impress his young wife. Bad decision, all the time, the kind that men who should retire take against sane advice. I’ll restate the advice anyway. You cannot be a former stallion and still be today’s champion. A former champion is a former champion. All he can and is allowed to be is an elder statesman. Any other ambition will lead him to death in the ring. But men, they want to be all-time champion in bed. They don’t want to admit that there is a time for everything under the sun, including the male libido.

That is why an astute businessman like Otunba didn’t know when his third leg should accept it had reached retirement age behind closed doors. And that is why we have seen and discovered too often, sadly, that a boardroom guru can turn out to be a bedroom dummy. I’m sorry to repeat it here, again, today that too often when a man’s zipper is opened, his brain falls out. Or why would a 65-year-old man think he is still the champion that he was at 35? I hear it’s got to do with a need for revalidation and trying to feel young again. Well, somebody needs to tell these grandpas that it’s a bad feeling, indeed a deadly dangerous one.

No matter how much a firebrand a man starts out as, the fire gradually goes down with the passing of each year. A man who starts out as one who could cruise through three women in one day will eventually need help to start his engine. It is a given. The ones doing threesomes today will one day need more than one hour to persuade their ‘wetincall’ to rise up to the occasion. When men know this, there will be lasting peace in the kingdom. But it is a difficult subject to teach a certain class of men. There is this class of men who are determined to live twice. This is the class of men who want to give command performance more than once on one show. They marry at 32 after thoroughly playing the field and sowing wildly. Then they go on to use their wives deeply and so badly that the poor women are left with no second-hand value. You understand that kind of sole-proprietor usage, right? Now, you’ll think men like that would look forward to retirement after a meritorious service, that they would take their pension and enjoy their twilight years in peace, sipping red wine. But no, they want to live again, all over again. What do they do? They go hunting again, this time for younger women, many times, a lot younger women whose needs they can’t match or meet. Like a 65-year-old man and a 25 –year-old woman. Like a 70-year-old man and a 30-year-old bride. The young woman’s juices are raging hot, while Baba’s libido is in retirement mode. Totally unequal yokes. What is worse, the man is determined to bring back his youth. He actually believes he can repeat the miracle of resurrection by waking his once-upon-a-time sleeping giant. Of course, nature and age are there waiting for him and when he finds out that ‘Make the Dead Walk’ is merely the title of a novel by James Hardly Chase, he resorts to self-help. Sex self-help can be very mean, one with a tendency to end badly for older men. Like Tope said, Otunba’s determination to remain the ‘current champion’ in his old age was what led him to death’s door.

‘While our short courtship lasted, I didn’t know Otunba was using performance-enhancement drugs. You know we were not living together and sex was not a daily thing. All I knew was he always gave an impressive account of himself. For a man his age, he didn’t give me any reason to worry about the physical side of our relationship. It was when I moved in as his wife that I noticed that he ‘prepped’ himself before getting into bed. It worried me because I had heard many stories of how those performance enhancers can lead to heart attack or even death. I begged him to stop. He did but I noticed there was a world of difference between when he ‘prepped’ himself and when he didn’t. It left him frustrated and me unsatisfied. So, I looked the other way occasionally to keep both of us happy. There was always a spring in my husband’s step each time he was able to wear me out or I had to beg him to stop. I can’t really find words to describe how happy it made him. Until that fateful day. He had just given me one of the best times of my life when I noticed he was sweating too profusely. Before I could get him a glass of water, his breathing changed as he clutched his chest. I threw on a kaftan, called the doctor and screamed for the driver and his P.A. It was the scariest night of my life. The long wait before the doctors came out to tell me he would be fine, his other wives’ threats and insults, the fear of him dying because he wanted to satisfy me in bed…’

Now imagine if Tope was a runs-girl, an ‘olosho’ who simply took to her heels at the first sight of Otunba in distress. Imagine the man dying alone, his body unfound for hours, even days. His family, to cover the shame would have told the world he died in his sleep, or peacefully passed on in his sleep. Chai. He probably would have had to explain to his angry ancestors how he ‘arrived 20 years earlier than scheduled.’ Avoidable death. Death by greed. Departing via the same route you arrived. Why do some men not mind returning to their maker in between a woman’s legs? Why do men like to die in active service?

Those who should know say unbridled use of performance-enhancement drugs, whether herbal concoctions (those bottled mixtures with interesting names) or Viagra and his little blue siblings can lead to a stroke or heart failure. When all the blood meant for the whole body is forced to relocate to a man’s penis, his other organs will shut down one by one. The saddest conclusion of such stories is the woman he died trying to impress will be inherited by another man, most likely a younger, stronger performer. What then shall it profit a man if he returns to his maker the same way he came, in between a woman’s legs? My sincere advice? When a man reaches a certain age, he should just be satisfied with his yam boiled or fried because old men who insist on ‘pounded yam’ are liable to die in the kitchen.

I have said my own.

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