Since time immemorial, men have lived by a certain code. A set of laws that govern all around them; their families, their clans, their nations, even the way they battled had a certain code that kept men honorable and true to their better natures.
The greatest among these codes, the one all men – on a subconscious and nigh-instinctual level – follow:
THE CODE OF BROTHERS...
– – –
Mark had never been brave. He never saw the purpose behind violence, nor did he see the reason why boys his age found it difficult to let cooler heads prevail.
So you are not confused, I’ll have you know that Mark is no coward.
Far from it.
He had swung his fists and bruised his lips as many times as was necessary, which he felt was a few times too many as is.
His first fight was in primary school, he fighting off a bully who would not let him eat his Ribena and sandwich in peace. He had the snot beat out of him but he did not stop swinging till a teacher came to separate them.
In secondary school, he was caught in the middle of two rival groups; his school (a local government institute) and their counterpart from the other side of town. It was a hit-the-other-guy-before-he-hits-you type deal and Mark did not stop swinging his fists till he broke through to the other side!
Mark was not a coward, not even remotely so. He just hated violence in any form or manner and would usually do his best to avoid it.
‘So why am I running towards Junior Staff quarters with a small dagger in one hand and a 3-foot wooden rod in the other, spoiling for a fight that has nothing to do with me?’ Mark found himself asking as he made his way through the bush-path thy connected Ezeopi Residential Area to Junior Staff Quarters where his quarry lived.
‘Can this issue not be resolved peacefully?’
He had just returned from his evening study sessions in the library and was in the process of disrobing when Andrew, his roommate, called him with an urgent need for military support!
Apparently, the fellow had gone girl hunting and had run afowl with the local bad guys. They were quick to surround him and intimidate him, not before he was able to put the call across.
So here he was, still wearing his singlet and jeans and mismatched slippers, running ahead of a pack of seven other fellows who were the neighbors. Each one of them had a weapon of some sort in hand and were careful not to hurt themselves or their allies as they ran in the dark.
“Where dem dey gan-gan?” Dubem asked as he ran alongside Mark, pushing his spectacles up the bridge of his nose to keep it from falling off.
Mark had no idea why Dubem had followed them, he was the least strong person on their team (or at least he was before he started working out). The fair skinned fellow was almost blind and had the thickest lenses Mark had ever seen on a human; they were so thick, they made his sunken eyes look like an insect’s compound eyes.
“Near Dunga shop”, Mark replied coolly and continued his run. It was not long before they got off the bush path and made their way into Junior Staff quarters.
“STOP THERE YOU BASTARD!”
Mark and his neighbors did not have to be told who it was that was running towards them ahead of a small group that had weapons of their own in hand. Without asking questions or trying to find out who wronged who and why, Mark raced past the fleeing Andrew and dived into the stampeding horde that chased after him.
Taking wild, uncalculated swings with his wooden rod, he discouraged any that wished to draw near him, and the knife stabbed at those who did.
He didn’t have much experience fighting, but he could handle himself quite well.
Many years later, Mark would always remember this street brawl as one of his worst decisions. He had scar on his arm where an iron rod had dug in and came away with some flesh and a thin line under his bum where a piece of flourescent tube had been lodged for the duration of the brief brawl and the walk back to their lodge.
It was an absolutely pointless endeavor. They could have easily talked things through with those guys, maybe they could have become friends with them in the end.
He was surprised by his actions that day, even more so by the overwhelming support he got from his neighbors who were not really obliged to lend their arms to Andrew’s battle.
He had asked them and all of them replied in varied sentences that pointed in the same direction:
Na small thing na! Andrew na my guy… What are bros for?
– – –
What are bros for?
Every time I hear those words from my own bros, I feel this icky, mushy yuckiness spread like ink around my intestines. It’s an uncomfortable feeling that leaves me weirded out, yet it still makes me want to smile.
I want to, but I don’t.
Bros don’t react with smiles or blushing or an equal level of yuckiness when we hear words to this effect. We snort, scoff and wave it off!
Why? Because we are Bros!!!
My grandfather once told me:
I will show you your family, you will show me your friends…
The meaning is quite literal. You have little choice in who your family are, you were born and you just happened to share blood with them. Your friends, on the other hand, they you must choose for yourself.
When your degree of chumminess with these friends exceed a certain level, they become Bros!
The best kind of Bros are the ones that walk through the fire with you.
Actually, any friend that becomes a Bro must have done something to earn his stripes.
They are the first ones you call when shit hits the fan.
They are also the first ones to know when good things come your way.
They are the first to pick up arms and come to your defense when enemies come knocking at your gate.
They will laugh at you when you slip and fall face first in the mud but will instantly gang up on anyone who dares to smile at your expense.
They will defend your wrongdoings to others and give you the greatest grief once the doors are closed.
They will laugh when you laugh, they may cry when you cry (men don’t like to shed tears in public anyway), they are the anchor that keep you steady when the storm of life leaves you unsteady.
Even when time has passed and you no longer keep in touch as often as you once were, the bond among Bros never withers.
A Bro is always a Bro.
As we all know, there are a set of rules that guide the BAND OF BROS. Let’s call it the Bro Code.
Every band of Bros have their own set of rules and guides that make up the code that holds them together. However, there are certain commonalities between these codes, many of them will flow from one band to the next, making them universal laws amongst Bros.
Chief among them would be:
The code is the law that binds all Bros. Let none who is no Bro partake of the content of this book.
Seeing this, I wonder why and how many ladies today know of the contents of the Bro code. They can even see through the hidden languages and the twisted logic that Bros have been creating and perfecting since time began.
Another common one would be:
A Bro will always protect his Bro.
Please note how will is used and not should or could.
Needless to say, most Bros will choose torture and evisceration over selling out his Bro!
Many have been jailed and killed for this. This is the way of a true Bro.
There are others that are also popular:
A Bro should not covet his Bro’s spouse, this will breed a rift between Bros.
A Bro will consider his Bros first.
This last one has been translated in many ways, one of which is, “Bros before ‘ho-es!!!”
There many things the code-illiterate will not understand about the code. Many men live their lives without having been part of a Band of Bros. They barely have any ideas as to what the code is about and they pontificate, claiming that only unserious or infantile men would follow the way of the code.
No offense, but SHUT YOUR MOUTH, Sir!
I’ll have you know that wars have been fought for the violation of the code.
I suppose you do not know your history so well.
The Trojan war would be a perfect example.
The princes went to Sparta to sign a treaty, to create a bond between their nations and sign an agreement that would make Bros of their nations.
They ate, drank and fornicated together as only bros can. They showed in act and writing their willingness to be responsible for the others’ well-being.
When morning came, it was discovered that the Trojan prince, Paris, had stolen Helen, the queen of Sparta, from her husband.
Hundreds of thousands died because the code was broken. And the greatest book in it’s era, the illiad, was born of that great betrayal. Heroes rose and fell, kingdoms perished because the code was broken.
Please understand, THE CODE IS THE LAW!!!
Nations abide by their rules, religions by their commandments, Bros by the code.
It is what keeps us menfolk honorable and true to our better natures.
This, however, does not allow us to abuse the code.
If you have a married bro who enjoys the company of strange women, be the first to talk some sense into him.
If he gambles and/or drinks more than is wise, be the first to smack him upside the head.
In all these, never-ever let his wife know!
We are Bros and we always watch the others’ backs.
We must always remember that our duty as bros is a lifetime affair. All we need is a holler, a Clarion call and we, like Mark and his neighbors, must answer… Here!!!
In the end, thanks and gratitude are unnecessary amongst bros.
Well, I ask you back:
What are Bros for?!