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It’s eat-a-food time all over the land
Cost of living get so high
Rich and poor they start to cry
Now the weak must get strong
They say—Oh, what a tribulation!
Them belly full, but we hungry;
A hungry mob is a angry mob.
A rain ah fall, but the dirt it tough;
A pot ah cook, but the food nuh nuff
—Them Belly Full
Robert Nesta Marley
Everybody have to eat a food. You could be a bright young reporter in the dying art of journalism or a jheri-curl-sporting pro- ponent of the dying art of calypso as commentary. Everybody have to eat a food. You could be a once-upon-a-time revolutionary or a not-so-convincing labour leader. Ever body have to eat a food.
Well at least we understand that food is a far more important commodity than oil. Food is life. And while too many people in Trinidad are dying, quite a few are living really really well, thanks to all the food they’re eating. Plenty people eating a food in Trinidad now. Trinidad come like a giant pig’s trough. Full of every imaginable sort of rubbish. And all of these pigs are fighting for an opportunity to eat to their heart’s content.
Everybody eating a food. And not just their own. They eating everybody else share too. Until you don’t see the difference between the eater and the eaten. On the sidelines we are watching. Watching our food being eaten. Watching and screaming and laughing. Watching the pigs stuffing their faces, waylay waylaying in the mud, and muck and filth of their own cleverness.
It is not the food that is the problem. But the eating disorders. The overeaters and the bulimics. The people who wait until nobody is looking to gorge themselves. I don’t understand it. But maybe that is because I have never understood gluttony. Unless it’s mangoes and then I could lose all sense of reason and eat mangoes all day without end.
They used to say longtime, when it’s mango season you could turn down your pot. These days when it’s eat-a-food season, everybody pot turn down and there is some kind of madness that takes over and makes reason disappear. Their bellies full and they are still eating. Their bellies are full of our share of the food and they are saying that they need more.
Eating a food for our sakes. Eating a food for the people. You could lose your reputation for some sub-standard Scotch. You could do a drive-by on a bicycle. Look, Trinidad is like a bacchanalist’s wet dream. The truth is stranger than any fiction and if it’s not one thing it’s the next.
People on the social networks and on the radio and on the television say: don’t judge the youth. It would be his first offence if he did it. Others question the Express’ hiring policies. They don’t realise that the core is rotten. That people who trying to eat a food are everywhere. That there is no difference between the man that stick you up on the street and the bank teller that shuffling money around in your bank account and the acting Prime Minister to whom no allegation of corruption can stick and the calypsonian who is PNM till he dead one day and singing love songs to the People’s Partnership the next.
Everybody have to eat a food is the new all ah we tief. A casual acceptance of our inherent corruption. A shrugging off of responsi- bility for our actions. Food eating and theft are okay once you don’t get caught. Once you do it reasonably and don’t make a spectacle of yourself in the process.
The Opposition Leader says, well the man is an artist. It was a commercial transaction. Creativity has a price like integrity. And the calypso crown is a platform for advancing a party’s political agen-da and not a tool for educating the population or terrorising the poli-ticians.
Look, if the man don’t eat a food, how he could afford all that gold? And with the PNM in shambles and the Opposition Leader apparently incapable of transforming the Cult of Patos into the Cult of Keithos, the man needs to figure out where his next meal coming from.
At some point life starts to imitate art. At some point the eater becomes the eaten. You become the story you have written, the punchline in your own calypso. Eating a food has its perils but apparently for now the pros far outweigh the cons. Everybody have to eat a food.
The problem is that that some people are over-eating. And some not eating at all. And some wouldn’t know how to eat if you hit them on their head with a pot of pelau. Some people are going to eat so much that one day we will run out of food for them to eat. And then what will they eat? Us?
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