Travails of a jobless husband
By Sunmola Olowookere
A man who has no job is seen as worthless by his family, the society and even himself. Even when people around him make harmless comments, he believes that they are mocking him. He is hypersensitive. Having a regular paying job makes a man a responsible father and husband. Better still, it makes him a happy man.
In our neighbourhood, a man who lost his job is going through hell on earth. Here is a man who has lost his cloak of respectability. On the best of days, he is quiet. On worst days, he is dejected and morose. His wife too was not helping matters. She is impatient and wants him to get a job as soon as possible.
A breadwinner who had been so much respected has become a doormat to his family because he lost his job and cannot meet his family’s need.
Who is to be blamed? The man who lost his job and left his responsibilities for his wife to shoulder or the wife who has been spoilt by her husband and now baulks at being the temporary sole provider of the home.
In a year of joblessness, his pride has taken a serious tumble and has been rubbed in the dust. When a man has no money, his wife does not give him any regard. This man walked dejectedly with his head bowed whenever he ventured out of his home.
Over time, he had developed the knack of listening in stony silence to her whenever his wife complained bitterly about her lot in life and how she wished he would get work quickly so they would be relieved.
He felt useless and inadequate. Short of slapping her during her regular tirades, he knew that nothing will stop her tirade. Once started, she is like a train that only an accident can halt.
Most times, he felt tempted to deal her a stinging slap on her chummy cheeks. But her two younger sisters were living with them.
He refused to bring himself lower still in their esteem. If he were to slap her, he knew they would gang up against him as they were mannerless just like their sister.
On this particular day, he had brought his wife’s wrath on his head because he did not fetch water.
She called him in a stringent voice and he knew there was trouble “dear, there is no water in the kitchen and now I will be late for work”.
All his explanations that he forgot to refill the pail because he slept off the previous night fell on deaf ears. She mumbled ” but for the way things are, how much does it take to repair pumping machine. I have to be the one to do everything in this house. I know I will not die like…”
He got up groggily and went to fetch the water from the well. As he filled the huge pail, she was still grumbling and bemoaning her lot in life.
When he could not stomach her railing any longer, he asked her “Do you realize that you are demeaning me before your family? Do you think you should be speaking to me in such a fashion if truly you are an honourable woman?”
Instead of being chastised, she was more incensed “what do you mean? So now, I am not honourable! What about you? You are never appreciative. I allowed you to use my car, I bought clothes for you and the children, I feed and give you pocket money, yet when I ask you to do little things for me, you would refuse. Instead you will loaf around.”
He was nearly weeping because neighbours could hear her stringent voice and it was very early in the morning. Where is my manly pride? It has been trampled upon in the dust. He looked at my fat wife. He failed to see the gentle lady that he wooed and married in the whining bitch beside me. “What have I done wrong? Being poor is a disease”, he realized. When he was rich and could buy his wife gifts and clothes, she was very loving and affectionate. But now that the tables had turned, she has changed and metamorphosed into a fish wife.
They had three kids in quick succession.
After five years of marriage, he lost his job. He was devastated and he got home expecting to be cuddled and assured that everything will be well but he was disappointed.
She shouted as if someone had died. “Yee! We are done for. How will we cope? What did you do? I know that the company cannot sack you over nothing. What will you do now?”
He was flabbergasted. He had thought that his wife will assure him that they would live on her salary for the meantime. But instead, she went on railing at her husband for being careless, at fate for being cruel and at the company for being merciless.
Wisely, he kept his peace. He knew that if he should speak, it would be disastrous. That marked the beginning of trouble in their household.
With each need that the wife provides, she accused her husband of not trying more in his search for a job and forcing her to do his duties. She would regret that had she known, she would not have had three kids.
With each of this maltreatment, his morale dropped.
He could no longer endure her tantrums so the next available job offer that came along, he gladly took it, even though it was lowly paid.