I just had a flashback of a horrible memory turned nice – when I was in my first year secondary school.
I was terribly short. I was so short that even though my surname did not start with the letter A, the school always made me sit on the first seat of every exam. It was embarrassing. My constant view was the sight of people hips and butts, and everyone literally looked down on me. My mates were getting taller during holiday breaks and it seemed like I was just getting shorter. I was not fat; thankfully – because then I’d look like a ball.
I was nicknamed ‘In Short’ by teachers and students and although I did not really find it funny as I was very quiet, I laughed along with them. To be honest, if I wore a frown, no one would have noticed as I was not in their vision range. Laughter was the only way to draw attention to myself. Laughter or wailing. And what’s worse than a wailing short and thin boy. Wispy.
Anyway, this memory that came to me was of one of our Physical Health practical classes. We had learned the theory of basket ball – what an assist means, what a free throw means, what a man-to-man means, what a dribble means etc. So on this particular day, it was time to practice what had been preached.
Our PHE teacher announced that we would not be dribbling that day; we were only going to be throwing shots, aiming for the basket. Everyone around me was giggling. In fact, someone raised her hand (One silly girl named Hazel who later stopped growing vertically but grew horizontally in geometric progression) and said, ‘Sir, maybe he (pointing at me), should be helping us get the ball when it rolls away.’ Everyone laughed including the teacher who later recomposed and said, ‘No. Everyone gets a shot. Even In Short’
Another series of tummy-hardening laughter. Thanks.
Anyway, everyone had their shot and failed. To be honest, I had no intention of shooting to nail the basket, but I took the ball, bounced it some, jumped and shot. And BAM! into the basket.
At first there was a silence of disbelief. Was this opposite day? Did an Angel assist me? Was I standing on the shoulders of a giant? Did gravity maneuver its principles for my sake? Did I wear Gaga heels? Were we all dreaming? Was there a spring on my palms?
Yeah. No. That was all me.
Everyone then started screaming and shouting. The other boys lifted me up on their shoulders and were shouting, ‘In Short! In Short!‘. And then someone (Alakija) said, ‘In Short made an In Shot’ So everyone started saying ‘In Shot’, and then everyone started calling me ‘In Shot’, which was still not my name but was soothing to my ears than ‘In Short’.
Some people with English language stress problem still pronounce it as ‘In Short’ but it’s the heart that matters.