The Girl Whisperer
as published by the Sunday Guardian
of October 14, 2007
Whispering War Songs
There was a game of chance known as Russian Roulette, made famous by soldiers during the Second World War. Russian soldiers, fighting under impossible conditions, defending their country in the icy wastes of Leningrad and watching friends and comrades drop like flies around them, would sit at moments when the pressure eased slightly and play a game they had devised. In this game, a revolver with six chambers would have a single bullet placed inside it and the bullet chamber would be spun, ensuring no one knew in which chamber the bullet would be. The men seated around the gun would take turns putting the gun to their own heads, and pulling the trigger. The jackpot often included the most prized possessions of those in the game meaning it was a lucrative game to play, but the cost of losing was the life of the player. If the bullet did not exit out of the gun into the head of the player pressing the trigger, he won. It was a game of sheer luck and one in which the stakes were very high. Real men played it, or so the players thought, and only those with nerve participated (or those with death wishes who were looking for a very quick way to die).
In retrospect, that game was a release valve for the horrors these soldiers faced during the war, for the sub-human conditions they fought under and for the mindless carnage that often consumed those that were dearest to them.
And by now, I have half the female readers wondering where I’m going with this one. It’s simple, really. A lot of us make many choices on relationships and affairs of the heart, not thinking them through. We play for high stakes, trusting all that is dear to us to be safe in the hands of another, and then place guns to our own heads, or into the hands of some person we have not taken the time to know fully well and then allow this person to pull the trigger.
The reason many relationships end in chaos is often because the partners, if they had known themselves all the way, would have been reluctant to trust each other in ‘a game of death’. There are people with misshapen psyches, with minds warped like stunted bald trees on barren wind-blasted wastelands, whom you have no business sharing your inner selves with. These people would desecrate all that is sacred to you if given half the chance, yet often at the beginning of what might become a relationship, and when the rosy glow pervades, colouring all you see, you forget the warning signals and take risks you would not ordinarily take if you were in your right senses.
When the stakes are high, as they often are, in affairs of the heart, make sure the person you are with, is not one given to suicidal impulses and I use that as a figure of speech. This Whisperer is as impulsive as the next man is but decided long ago, I have too much going for me to place my life in the hands of just any person who wanders by. When the voice of caution comes, do not be afraid to listen to it. Be particularly wary of someone who tries to stop you from checking whether the loaded gun has more than a bullet in its chambers, which would drastically reduce your odds for survival. This reflex has saved the Whisperer many times, allowing him to melt into the mist before he becomes a casualty or ends up being enslaved to a slave.
Two days ago, I heard a song, ‘Hidden motives’ by Tosyn Bucknor (also known as Contradiction) and the lyrics had me spell-bound. An example- "Sometimes, you call a friend’s house, hoping your friend’s brother would pick the phone" (in my case, it would be the friend’s sister).
Before playing the game (which is why men without serious intentions are called players), we must ask ourselves whether we have hidden motives in the things we do and what these motives might be. Being impulsive makes you feel alive, but do not ever mistake this for its half-brother, ‘rashness’, which can end up in you needing surgery to dislodge a bullet from your head.
I know a few girls, with heads much older than their years who understand the things I say and think; but I ask myself, "What are my motives here?" Asking questions will help you reduce the chances of shooting yourself in the head. There is no coming back from that once you make the mistake.