If a man is not honest in small things, what reason is there to believe he’ll be so in big things? The person who steals an egg would also steal a billion, were the opportunity to avail itself. A scoundrel in small things will also be a scoundrel in big things.~ Tauren.
Kitambo kiasi I used to work with my cousins. Farming kiasi kiasi. Some of them are financially destitute and so, to assist them, my parents would involve them in some ventures.
Those cousins had diverse personalities, and observing them significantly broadened my understanding of human nature.
Of my cousins, Robert is one of the most interesting. He’s an idiot. Ugly. He’s never known his father. Socially awkward. And he inspires contempt everywhere he goes. Suprisingly, he also happens to be as honest as they come. He’s also one of those rare sorts that are incapable of envy. He’s a primary school drop-out.
My dad hired Robert to be a lorry driver. But he wasn’t the sort to be trusted with a heavy machine. He was too dumb. And working on the road requires a certain level of craftiness, which Robert lacked. So he was demoted to turn-boy.
After a couple years, my dad got frustrated and fired Robert. Publicly. And with contempt. The guy simply had no brains. He couldn’t be trusted to make swift hard decisions. He was too indecisive and too thick in the skull. After getting sacked, I ran across him the same day. He was bitter, and called my dad “too harsh.”
Months after he got fired, I found myself in a fix. I had to ferry a certain something in a hurry, but I couldn’t drive a lorry. I had no choice but to call Robert. The guy arrived, took the keys, and transported the stuff. An hour later he returned the lorry and left without even asking for payment.
A year after that we had a family event. Everyone was present. Everyone of my cousins was neatly dressed. No one wanted to do the harsh and dirty duties like fixing tents. No one but Robert. He did all the “filthy” jobs without complaining. He was dressed in old clothes. Faded jeans and a shirt too big for his size. He had on worn out sport-shoes. Poor clothes, but very clean.
I watched as he scrambled and good-naturedly did the duties that no one wanted to do, and instantly felt sad. He was one of the few people I’d ever worked with who had never stolen a cent. But despite his stellar moral character, he would never amount to much in life.
Another interesting cousin is Elvis. A university graduate. Cunning and ruthless. Dishonest. My parents liked him at first, but I’ve always distrusted him ever since we were kids. I’m quite good at discerning character. From the moment Elvis first showed signs of academic prowess, my dad did everything to help further his education. Elvis parents are largely illiterate, and therefore my dad took up the task of shepherding his educational trajectory.
During the holidays Elvis would join other young men in our farms. We farm a great deal, and most times we need all the pair of hands we can find. When the day’s work was over my dad would pay each boy anything from around 200/ - 350/. I noticed Elvis was always complaining and inciting the other boys to demand 500/, even when the day’s work entailed little. My dad never complained, but instead promoted him to oversee all the work. He was later fired for stealing.
I spend much of my time speculating about human behaviour, and how most men share a likeness to Elvis. Intelligent, and dishonest to some degree. There are those who’re similar to Robert – honest but dumb and incompetent.
I’ve discovered that when it comes to the business of earning a living, I’d rather have people like Elvis around me. The inanimate environment of a modern workplace calls for skills and a little dishonesty. But after the day’s work is done, I prefer to retire to an environment populated by Roberts. They may be dumb and incompetent, but they’re also honest, good-natured, and would never stab you in the back.