One day, I was at work when I heard a commotion outside. I was single at the time and living alone. The head janitor was my trusted informant. I relied on her to tell me about every patient before they came in. She positioned herself where she could see them as they parked or walked in, then she rushed to assist them register. This way, she brought me information that often prepared me for trouble.
Trouble? you ask. I was working in a volatile state in the Niger Delta. My guard was always up. No way was I going to get kidnapped or harmed. While they are a peace loving people, there is so much frustration brought on by the deprivation they suffered in the course of oil exploration. They seem aggressive, agitated, impatient, and quick to exchange blows. This is not to say that I didn’t have many wonderful friends there.
My informant (who I will call B), rushed in to tell me the man coming in was a chief and a political big wig. An easy way to make money there is to stir up political dissent for the incumbent governor. In order to keep you happy and end the opposition, he will put you on his pay roll. The number of people being paid millions monthly, will amaze you. What is their job? To keep their supporters from fermenting trouble for the governor or local government chairman. He may be given inflated contracts or paid to provide protection. For his loyalty, he is rewarded handsomely, and has direct access to the ears of the man in charge.
This patient was one of such. A strikingly handsome, fair and tall man in his early 50s. He had the arrogance that money breeds. His car was unmarked and very expensive. He stepped in, demanding attention in a loud voice. Before you knew it, he had the receptionist and other staff cowering in their boots. I am not easily intimidated. I happen to be very petite, so I feel no one will want to engage me in a fight. Who will applaud you when your opponent was not very likely to win, anyway? Hahaha!
So, Mr. High and Mighty, strides into my office with a sneer on his face. He had already planned to put the unfortunate doctor in his place. When he laid eyes on me, he was sober. He sat meekly in his chair, watching me like a hawk. I courteously checked his blood pressure. He kept watching me.
“Do you mean you are a doctor? At your age?”, he wondered.
I got that a lot, so I smiled. People usually subtracted 5 years from my age.
“Why didn’t I know someone like you works here?”
I ignored him. Hospitals should advertise newly employed female staff so the predators can troop in! Ha! When the visit was over, he lingered. It takes courage to ask out a prim and proper professional,I tell you. Some will try though.
“Do you do house calls? I have been looking for a doctor to attend to me at home. I think you have the demeanour and experience”, he offered, fixing his gaze on me.
“Thank you, sir”, I smiled. “My work here keeps me much too busy. I can’t afford to do house calls”
“O, come on. I will pay. Name your price”
At this point, suffice it to say, we were not negotiating the bills for house calls (if you get my drift). I shook my head, firmly.
“I would really love to, but, No”
“Have you seen the town? You seem cooped up here. I have a big house by the river. I’ll take you fishing. You need to learn about us”
See, very tempting. After all, it’s an intellectual exercise. I am too wrapped up in patient affairs. Don’t I need a social life? He eventually left but not after leaving my informant a tip that had her giggling like a school girl. Probably, she had told him she would buy me over, who knows?
I shared this story, because, we underestimate the power of flattery. And this is not to young girls, men can be victims also. Someone can lure you into fraud by praising your IT skills. People advise you to end your marriage because, you are too good for your partner. You need an extra marital affair to prove you are the man!
Those words that make your head swell, your breathing ragged, and your rational thoughts disappear, beware! At the end, you will wish you said NO. How powerful that word is. Just try it where you are. NO. When I am tempted to envy someone who seems to have it together, I mouth NO. When I am tempted to hold on to a grudge, I whisper, NO! When people flatter me for their own gain, I smile, and say “Thanks, but, No. You flatter me”. So should you.