Satiricus was a sucker for tradition. After all, why else would he so faithfully patronise the Back Street Bar with his buddies. He figured, just like how the neighbourhood Pub was a fixture all over England, this was the role of the local Rum Shops in Guyana. It was a “home away from home” for the men who toiled hard all day long and needed to unwind at the end of the day.
“Our national poet created most of his best poems in rum shops, you know,” Satiricus confided to his friends as they were working away at their fourth round of beers.
“Po-em?” said Bungi, “Me hear some a de bes’ singin’ in Guyana, in rum shap.”
“But nowadays, the tradition is dieing out,” mourned Hari. “The young fellas don’t see hanging out in the rum shop as a cultural thing.” “Dis time na lang time!” grinned Bungi. “But people always a bring in new tradi-shan.”
“Like what?” enquired Satiricus.
“Well, look how all dem young people a get tattoo all ovah dem skin!” replied Bungi, without skipping a beat.
“Come to think of it, you’re right,” replied Hari. “I think more than half the young people I know have tattoos.”
“What you think is going on?” Satiricus wanted to know.
“Abee a capy dem ‘Merican, na!” grinned Bungi. “Jus’ like how abee dady bin capy dem and drink Rum and Cokes!”
“But why did the American young people suddenly start getting tattoos?” Satiricus kept on digging.
“Sato me fr’en,” said Bungi expansively, “young people always wan’ fuh shack people. De Merican young people capy dem jail-maan!”
“But it looks like in Guyana, as usual, we’re always doing things backwards,” said Hari.
“Wha’ yuh mean?” asked Bungi.
“Well, our prisoners copying our young people!,” Hari smiled. “Didn’t you read about all those tattoo machines they found in the jails?”