The cock crows, announcing the dawn of a new day. Mr Sluggard tucks himself further into his blanket. “It can’t be dawn so soon,” he murmurs. He has been in bed since seven the previous night, yet he wants to sleep for one more hour. Mr Sluggard’s friends knock at his door. “It’s time to go to the farm,” they announce. As the door handle turns, Mr Sluggard turns in his bed and yawns, “Oh, how I wished it could rain so I could sleep more.”
In my place they say, “The lazy man calls for it to rain.” When it rains it really pours. It’s like bullets have hit you, and the footpaths are impassable. So, much as farmers need water for their plants to grow, too much rain is bad for them. One can understand, therefore, how the saying walked into our everyday communication. Mr Sluggard knows this and he prays that it rains heavily.
“We can’t wait any longer,” his friends warn him. “We will leave you if you don’t get up.” He drags himself to the window. He yawns gain, and after scratching his head, turns to his friends. “There was a prowling lion on the road to the farm the other day. It’s a fierce lion. It nearly got me.”
“Ha ha ha,” his friends laugh. Unable to persuade him, Mr Sluggard’s friends leave him to slumber. Now it’s midday. He yawns as he looks through the window. “Why has it not rained?” he asks. Then he hobbles into his kitchen. Nothing to eat. He can’t cook. The sink is full of unwashed utensils. “This will do,” he says to himself, as he takes a bite on the previous day’s left over cocoyam.
Weeks have passed. It is a beautiful day. Mr Sluggard trudges to his farm with a stomach full of cassava. He can’t find the entrance to his farm. Weeds have overtaken the small farm, forcing life out of the crops. “I will need a very sharp cutlass,” he says to himself, as he turns back to return home.
He stands before the coconut tree and pleads, “Please drop a coconut, for I like the sweat taste of the coconut.” Nothing happens. He hisses and finds a group of people playing Ayo game. He joins them, hoping someone will bring a keg of palmwine. That’s how he spends his day.
Now it’s harvest time. His friends bring home loads of maize, cassava and yams, produce of their hard work. Their barns are full of yams. Mr Sluggard stands outside his friend’s house, his mouth watering, as they pound the yam. He knows exactly when to visit his friend. After clearing his throat, he remarks, “These yams are really matured. I’m sure they will be really tasty.” He knows his friend will always welcome him to dinner. After stuffing himself, and now looking like a python that has swallowed an elephant, he packs all the leftovers so he may have something to eat the following day.
He turns himself into a beggar, living at the mercy of his friends. He becomes the visitor who always turns up at dinner time, and the friend who doesn’t ever have, burrowing money here and there. He watches his children growing up to become servants and his whole family becomes a laughing stock.
That’s the life of a lazy person. The person who is unwilling to work or do something will always find an excuse. The time is never right for the sluggard. But laziness goes farther and more dangerous than the prowling lion. The body is wonderful. It does whatever you want it to do. The less you do, the less you want to do and the more useless you end up.
No one is born with laziness. It’s simply a habit we pick up as we grow up. But it’s a habit that can sometimes be deadlier than a disease. To overcome laziness, you need to make conscious efforts to change your habit. It is not an incurable disease. After all, it’s only a habit. Start by taking small steps towards change. Don’t yield to bodily comfort when you should be up on your feet to face what life throws at you. Don’t be like Mr Sluggard who keeps making excuses that render him useless. If only Mr Sluggard would realise that nothing comes easy. Don’t frighten yourself from the chances of success by imagined difficulties. There’s no excuse for failure. It takes courage and determination to ignore our physical comfort. Sometimes all it takes is just a little push and you are up and going. Try it and you will be a winner.