The Weird Denizens of the Garage By Osmund Agbo

July 19, 2020
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”Bruh..! I got my own space and don’t need to hitch a ride. Heck, I could even keep up with the Joneses when I choose to.  God is good and Life is great”. 

That’s an all too familiar refrain by the sketchy dude that lines my hair each time, in a way that shaves a couple years off of my phenotype. You better believe I have had reasons to borrow those words every now and then when life throws a curve-ball. It’s funny how the least expected places gift us with uncommon wisdom. In Gustavo’s case, however, those words constantly validates his self-worth and each time he re-echoes them with an orgasmic thrill. Right off the bat, you could tell that my friend is pretty happy with where this journey of life had taken him. 

Although Gustavo’s crucial life lesson in gratefulness was a highly welcomed epiphany moment , I have never ceased to wonder why men who grew up playing in the garage and tearing stuff down wield such a ginormous economic influence way more than what my medical degree could ever offer. In the end, one had to settle with the fact that there must be something special about that one place. Yes, the space is shrouded in mystery and had inspired generations of men to stratospheric success. Where in the garage did I miss growing up?

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On Thursday, August 2, 2018, Apple became the first company in the world to reach a trillion-dollar market valuation. The tech giant already known to be the most valuable company in the world today leads all others with a $1.3 trillion market capitalization. Just to put it in perspective, only 14 countries, none of which is in Africa have GDP figures greater than Apple’s market cap. That means that Tim Cook of Apple is arguably in control of more wealth than the President of Nigeria.

You could never have predicted this level of monumental success in 1976 when Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College to co-found the company with his buddy, another Steve in his adopted parent’s garage. At the time Apple was just about two nerds exploring life and acting out. In honor of those two weirdos, I have since made it a daily ritual to eat a piece of apple and moved my office to the garage permanently.. well not yet.

In hindsight, it appears that the only useful class Mr.Jobs admitted to have benefited from at Reed was the one on calligraphy. After he dropped out, he continued to drop in on the course and later in life credited that class as the inspiration behind the Graphic User Interface (GUI) that makes the McIntosh stand out in the Personal Computer (PC) world.

Jobs described the rest of his year in college as largely a waste of his parent’s money which was the reason he gave for dropping out in the first place. Maybe a lot of college graduates could relate to a similar experiences. The truth being that against popular opinion, many college courses may not prepare you that much for the rest of your life’s journey. And that most of the courses students are mandated to take are useless in the grand scheme of things.

There is no doubt that there has been a lot of debate about college curricula. The question is whether there is too much focus on unnecessary things that hardly add value to the overall future goals of the students. Or if I have ever used Calculus to help out some of the very complex patients that come under my care everyday. Those are legitimate concerns from both parents and their wards. I know very many college grads who could have used a little lesson on personal finance prior to being pushed out into the world full of sharks. 

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A very familiar question that often come up in conversations among certain group of people seeks to know if one is a university graduate. It is a mindset which seems to suggest that somehow one is severely handicapped without the benefit of a college level education.

It doesn’t even matter that the ”non-college educated” person is the highest employer of labour in the area and that he is the ultimate embodiment of success. This I think, is borne out of the longstanding misbegotten belief that having formal education is synonymous with being well informed. Early inventors, the likes of Thomas Edison and Michael Faraday could very easily debunk such myths. Of course the point here is not in any way to water down the importance of formal education as it is to putting things in their right perspectives.

Their is something important to be said about what the co-habitation lifestyle of a college campus does to strengthen the social fabric of the society. It is also a fact that man is a social animal that can’t just live by bread alone. Living together in and of itself offers a different kind of learning experience that is beneficial to societal harmony and to that extent is highly desirable. We just have to learn how to remove that which is not needed in deference to the ones that helps. In other words we just have to separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff.

And so I studied the lives of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and wondered how to proceed forth. I tinkered with the idea of having a fresh start starting with returning my college degree. Of course I would if that’s all that is needed to break the jinx that seem to limit my enterprising space. On the other hand, one might also have to dispose off his crib to cut loose from an uneventful past while we search for another with an old garage.

Or maybe the garage doesn’t even have to be a physical space anymore. It just finds expression in any metaphoric space that lets your imagination run wild. It got to be that it frees one from the restriction and encumbrances of structured learning. It unshackles you from doing all that which is unnecessary. Perhaps the world needs a different kind of educational system that will train the oncoming generation with garage mentality.

So the next time you see me outdoors, tools in hand and tearing it all down, please don’t bother about my mental health. Am all about tracing it back to where I dipped out of the ship of fortune as my mind continually replays that one question: What in the garage did I miss?

Dr. Agbo is the President and CEO of African Center for Transparency and writes from the United States

Email: eagleosmund@yahoo.com



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