Good people, fallen journalist Edward Chitsulo was not just an astute editor, trainer and father figure.
He was a charming man of words and one of the catchphrases he willed to ears that hear is “cartooning around”.
Eulogies from all walks of life clearly show the pint-sized editor was no idle holder of priceless knowledge, but a workaholic, a giant thinker with no kind words for chattering quacks.
In his vast vault of insights, “stop cartooning around’ was a way to tell noisemakers to stop wasting their time and start making themselves relevant in this fleeting life.
His unpretentious phrase came back on Tuesday when Mr Jokes entered Key Lounge Restaurant in Mzuzu and started behaving like a cartoon gone wacky.
It was around 2pm, almost the time multitudes were interring the beloved. Here was Mr Jokes (Andrea Thunyiwa), the self-styled comedian who does not stop amazing some of us with how he keeps mistaking street jokes for stand-up comedy.
Being a joke himself, the Blantyre-based recycler of stale jokes pitched on the streets of Mzuzu playing loud music from morning to evening to persuade people to buy his DVDs at K300 each.
It appears he learnt no lesson from one sunny day last month when the police in Blantyre detained him for abusing a public address system to woo customers to buy his cheap things!
Little did I know the rowdy joker would take his noise to such a quiet place as a restaurant where all that matters is not only what you eat, but also the peace that goes down with it.
So, inside Key Lounge he was running around, exclaiming inexplicable mutterings, talking to people with no regard for whatever he was high on and laughing like his head had suddenly lost vital screws.
Oops! It was very easy to giggle, but a right-minded many quickly found themselves going the harder way: hurting and hating.
Stop cartooning around! That was my silent retort.
But the customer nearby could not hide his resentment.
“What’s that nuisance?” he wondered. “Mr Jokes!” came the reply. “Call the police!” said the annoyed neighbour.
Their words and silence was a prayer for peace—not more of the irritatingly misplaced comedy.
However, their feeling was aptly summed by a confessed fan of the comedian’s.
“Mr Jokes should stop making a comedy of his comedy business,” said the ardent fan, rightly arguing that comedy is serious business like any other [art].
The disciple wants Mr Jokes & Co to establish proper shops for marketing their wares and stop turning their enterprise into a laughingstock by cartooning all the time.
Spot on. British artist Rowan Atkinson, who is well known for his Mr Bean comics, would be a poor joke if he did not know when and where to make his jokes.
The wrong thing with artists’ ear-shattering marketing of their K300 jokes is not that it shows desperation.
It takes away the peace innocent minds deserve.
As an outpouring of artists-cum-vendors are clogging our streets, rule of law requires regulatory authorities to dust down laws against noise pollution and slap offenders in the face. They should also spell out the law to phone companies who leave no measure on the Richter scale in marketing their ‘discounted, affordable services’ which actually rank among the most exorbitant luxuries globally.
Stop cartooning around with innocent ears. n