KNOWING WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH  (SHORT STORY)

Kukah’s wife, Ojoma, has done it again! She just keeps pushing till he loses his patience and blows a fuse. She’s always going on about his English – how a graduate should not speak the way he does, how a teacher should be a model to the students, and so on. Kukah feels the attacks are unjustified. He admits his English is less than perfect, but he often reminds her, “I am a Chemistry teacher for crying out loud and I know a bunch of guys with higher degrees who speak more atrocious English than I do.” He learned the term, “atrocious English”, from her on one of the occasions she was berating him.

It’s not like Kukah dozed through his English classes as a student. It’s just that the teachers weren’t much better than the pupils and it was felt on both sides that what matters most is to be understood. But he admired those who spoke well, which is why he went after his wife. He did ask her to teach him at some point but after she tried explaining about mood in grammar – indicative, subjunctive, etc. – he gave up. He found te whole thing too confusing.

“English is more technical and more illogical than any subject I know: the rules just keep changing, what applies in one case doesn’t necessarily apply in all similar cases. Thank God, I scraped through the subject at O’Levels,” he had declared then.

But his wife was not prepared to write him off as a lost cause. She was not bothered about the garble others spoke, but she was determined to refine her husband’s usage of the English language. Which would have been fine and good, except she didn’t know the time and place for it.

So this morning when her husband, the vice principal, was chatting with colleagues in the staffroom, she tut tutted his observation that Class 5 “beat” Class 6 every year in inter-house football. Ignoring the glare he gave her, she explained that class is a singular noun and thus should go with the singular verb, “beats” and followed that up with a lecture on how important concord is in English. However, Kukah cut her off midway, basically telling her that she and the English should take their unreasonable language with its erratic rules and shove it up you know where.

Kukah knew it was a bad idea to teach in the same school with his wife but jobs are hard to find, so he used his influence to secure a place for her. But he was wondering with their constant run-ins on English if that move was really worth the cost. When he got to his office, he began to rearrange the stuff on his table. That was his calm-down mechanism. If he was still boiling by the time he finished with the table, he would work on the entire room.

As he was packing books and papers, Mrs. Bulama, a fellow teacher, poked her head through the door. She held his gaze with a sympathetic and indulgent smile and initiated a rather strange conversation. First, she offered to help him reorganize his desk but he told her the desk was fine, that he was just ….

“I know how you feel. I am so sorry for that episode out there.”

“You are? I mean, you shouldn’t be. It’s not your fault.”

“Imagine the embarrassment! In front of aaallll the teachers! What was Ojoma thinking?”

Kukah winced and responded, “I don’t think all the teachers were there.”

“Still, why go around offering unsolicited lessons to people? C’mon, everybody makes mistakes. After all, English is just a borrowed tongue.”

Kukah stiffened and corrected the lady, “She doesn’t do that thing to others, she specifically reserves that type of attention for me.”

“What type of attention is that? Insulting a man before his subordinates?” Mrs Bulama was getting angry.

“I’m not sure she meant it as an insult.”

“It was more than an insult! It would seem that this her English major thing has really messed up her brain.”

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Kukah was wondering what Mrs Bulama’s mission was. Why rub in the hurt? And he didn’t like the way she was talking about his wife. But she was not done yet.

“Any woman who cannot respect her husband, who would wash his dirty linen in public, is not worthy to be called a wife.”

“That is enough, madam! If there’s nothing else, I’d like you to get back to work.”

“It is not enough!” Mrs Bulama retorted as she came really close to Kukah. “You need a woman who will appreciate you, a woman who will treat you right.” She had placed her hands on his shoulders as she spoke.

Kukah pushed her away.

“Shame on you, madam! I’ve been hearing of your escapades around here if you don’t know. A married woman poaching other women’s husbands! Who even knows if you are really married? No one has ever seen this Bulama guy.”

“My husband is abroad and what stories are you talking about?”

“For a grownup woman, you must be very naive. You think you can hit on guys and share your ‘favors’ without the stories making the rounds?”

“Men can be so heartless!”

“And you are a saint! The Head of Geography is spending most of his paycheck on you while his family suffer. The new Physics teacher is already under your thumb. So you came here to butter me up with your feigned outrage at my wife’s behaviour, but God knows I will never be your prey.”

“There’s no need to shout!” Mrs Bulama spat at Kukah. “You deserve your wife. I’ll just get a transfer and leave this God-forsaken school,” she added and began to leave his office.

She, however, paused at the door, spun round and told him, “It’s ‘his family suffers,’ su-ffer-s.”

While Kukah was wondering if the lady was demented, she remarked, “I guess your wife is right to target you. You really are incorrigible.”

The end
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.
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69 thoughts on “KNOWING WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (SHORT STORY)

  1. It’s a good thing that Ojoma wants her husband to speak well, but where she gets it wrong is correcting him in public even while making a speech. It is so embarrassing. I love the fact that Kukah loves his wife and is able to defend and stick with her despite Bulama’s talk and advances.

  2. It’s nice that Ojoma wants to improve her husband vocabulary but she is over doing it. I love the fact that kukah defend his wife still and not falling into the hands of Mrs bulama for comfort.

  3. She is not doing anything wrong by wanting her husband to speak properly but she is taking it to the extreme and doing it the wrong way. It was very nice that Kukah called Mrs Bulama to order, at least to curb her vices. An interesting story.

  4. A wife should reverence her husband, not destroy his ego as a man in public. She is the opposite of a help meet and a disgrace to womanhood.

  5. It is good to mould your partner into what you want him/her to be but don’t degrade him in the name of trying to make him a better person. No one should know the imperfections of your partner from you.

  6. sometimes people unknowingly draw problems to themselves. its quite embarrassing to correct people in public, she should have waited till they were at home before doing that, cause the result of her action was quite dangerous

  7. This is a pure reflection of what is happening in our society. But first I must acknowledge the story is so interesting I didn’t want it to end.
    Mrs Bulama started off well and seemed to be genuine but then landed wrongly in making attempts to make him cheat on his wife like she did with the other teachers.
    On the bright side, irrespective of Mrs Kukah’s attitude on picking on her husband, Mr Kukah still defended her.
    To crown it all up, we should not see people how we want them to be but see them as who they really are.

  8. Well it’s certified. The people in your life that correct you are not your enemies, but rather those that want you to have a solid future. Those that always encourage and hail even your mistakes are those that just wants what you have to offer. They don’t care about your future. They just want what you have (money and other material things). It seen plainly in the story. Kukah’s wife just wanted the best for her husband. Just wanted him to be a better person. A better speaker. But Mrs Bulama just wanted to use the opportunity to get material things from him. There are lessons to be learnt. And it has been learnt.

  9. A wife such as kukah’s wife should learn to be patient, because without patient you can’t teach anyone.what she did was right.she did it in a formal setting which is in the school environment. That made kukah to understand the situation very well and also that made him to be able to defend his wife before Mrs.Bulama. In all know one should know the strength and weaknesses of your partner.

  10. One thing a man values a lot is his ego, it takes a disciplined man to maintain decorum when his ego is bruised. So she should pay attention to that quality instead of focusing on his imperfection.

  11. People focus more on someone’s imperfections and disregard the little things they do right. It is good that Mrs Kukah wants the best for her husband because bad English can make people degrade you but she should be conscious and patient with her husband but even with his bruised ego I’m happy that Mr Kukah is still able to defend and love his wife.

  12. Not regarding the situation at hand,the wife is a bit at fault for bringing up something like that in public, she should have just waited till they are alone but as for kukah,I’m glad that he did not heed to Mrs Bulama and shunned every evil motives of hers, I pray that the lord gives us strength to overcome temptation, Amen.

  13. It’s good to correct people but we should mind the way we correct them in public. It was nice of ojoma in trying to correct her husband but she did it in a wrong way. When an adult is being corrected in public, he remembers the embarrassment more than the correction. We should be careful of the likes of Mrs bulama, such people grab at any given opportunity to achieve their evil plans.

  14. I feel Ojoma corrects her husband not only because she wants to help him improve but because she does not want him to keep embarrassing her. Correcting him in front of his colleagues is wrong. And she could at least do it nicely, lovingly or even make it seem like a joke if at all she must correct him in public so he doesn’t feel bad. As for women like “Mrs” Bulama, they are everywhere.

  15. What a husband material!
    I love and adore Kukah’s courage and respect for his wife despite her bad manners.
    This simply is telling us that no matter how bad mannered our friends,spouses,etc may be,we should never allow a third party come inbetween.
    I recommend this one to those in relationships and marriage.
    I wish I could make my parents read this.

  16. what kukah’s wife was doing to her seems right but a man is always a man, kukah was also trying to defend himself as a man, after all good English is not always used to measure intelligence, there will always be people like other women who takes advantage of every misunderstanding between people but thank God that kukah was able to resist her

  17. Correcting someone is not wrong, but your manner of approach is all that matters. Ojoma had good intentions of wanting her husband to be able to speak English fluently, but the manner in which she approached it is very wrong.
    Kukah on his part is a respectable man. I call respectable because of the way he stood his ground against Mrs baluma. He knows when enough is enough between work and his personal life.

  18. The way we correct others go a long way in passing across different message. Kukah’s wife was not actually correcting him but mocking him. And I guess she must have forgotten that English is not our mother’s tongue. My advise to Mr Kukah is that he should shun his wife from rebuking him publicly because his Shame, is her shame also

    • From the story, I can say she was obsessed with getting her husband to speak correctly but she wasn’t mocking him. “English is not our mother tongue” is a flawed expression to apply here or anywhere else. It is our lingua franca and we need to be handle it masterfully to do well socially and professionally.

  19. It is not a crime to correct people of their mistake but it is nice to correct a good manner and not a harsh or mocking manner. Some people mimic peoples mistake to laugh at them or use it to insult them which is bad because as the saying goes “nobody is above mistake. “

  20. It is important to correct when necessary, but it has to be done mildly. Though Ojoma was trying to bring out the best in her husband, she should know where and how to do this. Great thanks to Kukah for still having that strong love for her wife, despite the evil plan of the intruder, Mrs. Bulama.

  21. ???? A principal finding it difficult to express himself in English. If he was really determined to learn and put an end to his wife insults he should have endured the lessons ggiven to him by the wife. .Moreover, he went to sschool, it shouldn’t be too hard for him to understand.

  22. Kukah’s problem is understandable and so is Ojoma’s. Kukah is right in the fact that learning a language in your latter years is not easy but at the same time, he didn’t put in any effort to learn. Ojoma on the other hand is right in trying to help her husband but she is expecting too much from him which contributes to kukahs reluctance to learn. while all this is happening, Mrs Bulama is trying to take advantage of kukah.

  23. Very funny story. I know someone who has the same habit Kukah has of rearranging his things when he’s upset even if those things are all in their right places. I really like the fact that Ojoma is not ashamed of her husband’s bad grammar; most women would be. However, she should only correct him in private, w it’s just the two of them. Kukah must have been very ashamed of the many times his wife has corrected him in public. We should all be proud of who our partners are, if not, we shouldn’t be with the person.

  24. Nawa ooh for Ojoma. I wonder how she feels after correcting her husband in public, especially in front of his colleagues. Maybe she means good with the corrections but she’s not doing it the right way and I don’t think she has done her research on her husband because assuming she had, she will know there are some things that she ought to do and some things she ought not to do.

  25. Mood of correction determines a person’s action ..always use low tones and correct with love.

  26. Mrs Kukah is doing the right thing by correcting her husband’s grammatical errors but should have tried to understand the right time to do that.
    This is very funny and interesting.

  27. Right things are best done at the right time. No doubt Mrs Ojoma, Kukah’s wife is actually doing the right thing but at the wrong time, which made her actions seem bad. Also she exceeded her limit in trying to refine her husband’s usage of English in public. This action of has overshadowed her good intentions. On the other hand, Mr Kukah not minding his wives action towards him stood his ground to defend his wife. This should be a lesson to married men and women that not withstanding the storm of marriage no one should know The Weakness of your partner.

  28. It can be tricky correcting peoples grammar, especially if you are both on the same level or worse still the person you are trying to correct is above you.
    I don’t mind people correcting me( my friend Tracy does that a lot, she just can’t stand bad grammar), so long as I can tell your intent wasn’t to humiliate me.

    However, the most humble learner will get get frustrated if it the corrections become frequent, so for minimum aggression don’t go about correcting people’s grammar in public.
    And if you as a third party was present when the correction was made, please don’t make a big out of it.

  29. First of all, the story made my night. Quite humorous. LOL. Thank God, Kukah knew where to draw the line, when Mrs. Bulama came to be a beneficiary of crises. Mastering English as a language is quite important especially for a professional work like Kukah’s. So, I guess, the wife wants him to be perfect. However, there are other ways to achieve that without exposing the man in public. So many other ways to teach him and still retain his respect and dignity.

  30. Correcting people’s grammar is not all that bad, but publicly can be that bad. We should learn not to be so quick in wanting to correct people. Kukah seems to be an understanding husband who sees no wrong in what she did and still supporting her in her wrong. That’s a good man.

  31. There’s no wrong in lecturing her husband on why he’s grammar should be correct and also teaching how but the problem is correcting him in the public. She is also lucky for the kind of man she has, most men will fall for Bulama, not minding her mission.

  32. Just imagine what could have happened to ojoma, if kukah had succumbed to Mrs. Bulama seduction just because of ojoma stupidity and lack of manners. If Mrs. Bulama had succeeded with her plans, ojoma marriage would have been in shambles, My advice to ojoma is to know when it is necessary to do things.

  33. The point that she always correct him in the public ought not to be, going with the fact that is her husband she is supposed to know the limit and give him that level of respect not denying the fact that the husband is one who has some level of understanding. Correction should be done with love and not to show your skills.

  34. This a really funny and interesting piece that took an unexpected turn. I must commend again your writing skills Ma. I think Ojoma had the right intentions but the wrong deliveries. The problem is that she wanted to make a change in her husband which can only be possible if desires the change himself which he clearly doesn’t want like she does. You shouldn’t marry a person if you know you can’t cope with their flaws. Trying to change the person will only make cause resentment from him or her.
    Kukah clearly loves his wife but her constant correction is already getting on his nerves and can create a distance between them.
    i really enjoyed and learnt from this piece.

    • She could have just taken notes of his errors and then do the correction at home or some where private. That’s was so wrong for her to embarrass him in public. Anyway, I love what mr kukah did to the overly concerned woman. That’s just one way to resist the devil. Lol

  35. We have lots of correction fluid around us and the problem is not the correction itself but the air of superiority attached to it. Mrs Kukah has no right to correct her husband publicly and if she must, she should do it in discreet manner. Mr Kukah should be commended for always maintaining his cool with his wife at times like this, for his earlier enthusiasm to learn and for not allowing people, especially Mrs Bulama to interfere in his family business.

  36. When correcting a person, the way of approaching that person matters a lot because the book of Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath. Ojoma meant well for her husband but doing it in public wasn’t such a good idea. I also commend Kukah for his calm attitude towards the situation and for shunning Mrs Bulama.
    Indeed, attitude is everything.
    Keep it up MA.

  37. Despite the fact kukah’s wife wash his dirty linen in public,the man still try to defend her in front the other woman.I admire the man courage and love because it so rare to find a man like that.

  38. Ojoma wanting her husband to speak proper English was a good idea but was done in a wrong way which almost caused her,her family…. Good intention with bad approach

  39. Its really good that ojoma wants her husband to speak fluently,but she should bare in mind that no one is above mistake and no one is perfect, again she should know that the manner in which a correction is being made is very important,I think she shouldn’t forget to accord her husband a decorum of respect while trying to correct him… Cause if she continues doing it in the manner and everywhere she wants, it might cause her her marriage

  40. Kukah portrayed the characteristics of a wise man by knowing when enough is enough. Yes, his wife has embarrassed him but that is not enough reason to watch another woman insult her and take her place. And as for Ojoma his wife, she should know when enough is enough in correcting her husband’s English so that she will end up causing problems all in the name of making her husband speak well. Great lesson indeed.

  41. This is just a clear case of doing the right thing at the wrong time. Ojoma may be right to question her husband’s English, but she should be mindful of the area and environment where she does this questioning. I also appreciate her husband for backing up his wife in the face of scrutiny from Mrs Buluma. It shows that no matter what, love will still conquer all.

  42. I think Kukah shouldn’t just ignore his “atrocious English” as Ojoma his wife calls it. Although I think correcting and disgracing her husband in public isn’t the best approach.

  43. I must commend kukah as a matured husband. I really admire the way he ignored Mrs Bulama silly talks and kept her in her place. It shows that he is a responsible man even when the wife embarrassed him because of his English he didn’t act foolishly like beating her up or starting up a fight in public.

  44. She is not doing anything wrong by wanting her husband to speak properly but she shouldn’t take it to the extreme and doing it in public is the wrongest way. It was very nice that Kukah called Mrs Bulama to order, at least to curb her vices.

    A wife should reverence her husband, not destroy his ego as a man in public.

  45. Ojoma was doing the right thing at the wrong place. I know it’s embarrassing but, Why not wait till they get home first? Why must she correct a vice principal in the presence of his subordinates?

  46. I learnt two major lessons from this story. One, its all good to correct the wrong grammar of someone close to you(in this case, a spouse) but one must apply tact as it could be a sore spot for that person. There should be a time and place for those corrections if one must avoid embarrassment. There should also be a limit, after all, you cannot force a person to perfect a language. Secondly, despite his obvious annoyance with his wife, Kukah still wouldn’t stand for anyone insulting her to his face. That’s loyalty right there!!
    Really nice story.

  47. She is not doing anything wrong by wanting her husband to speak properly but she is taking it to the extreme and doing it the wrong way. It was very nice that Kukah called Mrs Bulama to order, at least to curb her vices. An interesting story.

  48. Quite an interesting read! My kid sis is one ‘correction fluid’ I know. She corrects anyone irrespective of where you’re. So we started teaching her how and when to correct people.

    Ojoma had good intentions for her husband,her problem is knowing the right time and place to correct him to save him from embarrassments. I can only imagine Kukah’s facial expressions the moment she corrected her grammar amidst his subordinate. And that’s what gave Mrs Bulama room to visit Kukah.

    On the other hand, the likes of Mrs Bulama are everywhere. People who leverage every opportunity for their selfish interest. Kukah is a rare gem. Some men would have fallen prey but he didn’t allow Mrs. Bulama cross the lines.

  49. Kukah’s wife Ogoma, no doubt has justifiable reason for being aggressive to her husbands magniloquencience, an academician of his level as a Vice-principal is expected to meet up to that demand. That notwithstanding, it is very wrong of Ojoma bringing her criticism of the husbands English, to the public notice…
    We can see, it necessitated, Mrs, Bulama to take advantage and tempt the husband… I commend Mr Kukah’s loyalty to his marital vow. And urge him to supplement his level of perfection by continuing with the English lessons. Peharps, the power of love may alter the fear and hatred to learn.

  50. Nice story ma. I think she really don’t like to hear when someone make mistakes in English, she will always love to give the person Correction especially her husband. In my own view , I think she is doing it for the sake of the children, so he won’t corrupt them with is wrong English.. But doing it publicly I think she went to far..

  51. Ojoma just didn’t know when enough was enough for her. She shouldn’t have done that in the presence of his subordinates. But I still applaud Kukah for the way he stood up for her when Mrs Bulama came to ‘shoot her shots’. It was a nice read, and I learnt that in whatever kinda correction we do we shouldn’t take it to the extreme.
    Thanks Ma’am for sharing.

  52. It’s a nice thing that Ijeoma wanted the best for her husband by wanting him to improve in his vocabulary. The problem is she was doing the right thing at the wrong time and wrong places. As a wife, is her duty to respect and honor the husband no matter his deficiency in English language.

  53. Doing the right Thing at the right time really counts alot. Maybe, Ojoma taught her attitude of correcting her husband in public will make him embarased and will want to improve on his english
    but rather,it made her look so immature,and labelled a bad wife by bulama

  54. It true is good to correct people but Mrs ojoma corrected the husband at the wrong time.
    Some people are just opportunist hovering around and looking for people’s marriage to scatter,some one like Mrs bulama, using kukah’s wife’s wrong to get at him but to God be the glory,she didn’t succeed.
    We should be careful about people surrounding us.

  55. Just imagine this lady’s audacity. I am impressed he didn’t give into her treacherous plans. Sincerely though, Mrs Ojoma was wrong. Not in the midst of people. Your loved ones shouldn’t be ridiculed in front of their surbodinates or peers. Most men would have made drastic decisions based on that. She is lucky she has a rational husband.

  56. There is this story I heard of a man that had visitors. The wife prepared food but unfortunately, salt was not enough. It was the visitor that noticed it first and when the husband tested the food and noticed that there was not enough salt, he covered for the wife saying he does not eat salt that’s why his wife prepared the food that way additional salt was brought to them to add to there food so that they could eat what am i trying to say, that’s is how spouse are meant to cover for each others not castigate them. Agreed she want him to improve but not distracting him in the public and not in front of his subornates it is uncalled for. She should go and thank her stars that the man loves her if not he would have fallen into Mrs Bulama’s hand but that woman self I mean Bulama they send her.

  57. To correct someone is really good but not in front of everyone especially when the person is your friend not to talk of your husband. You can do a correction private to avoid embarrassing the person.

  58. This is a very funny story. Ojoma really shouldn’t be correcting Kukah like that in public, its really embarrassing. Like I’ve heard before, English is not for everybody??, but Kukah should at least make an effort to better his English. That other woman, Mrs Bulamu is just a walking disaster waiting to happen.

  59. Nice one ma
    Its not wrong that ojoma wants her husband to improve on his vocabulary but at least she can approach the matter in a different way and not correcting him outside,her actions actually prompted mrs bulamu. Washing her husbands dirty linen in public is wrong anyways shaaa this story is funny
    English is not for everybody ooo. I think he should talk to her she might not know it hurts him.

  60. Its really admiring that Kukah defended his wife infont of Mrs Bulama.. But then in as much as Ojoma wants her husband to perfect in his spoken English, she should do that with utmost respect and niceness. Mounting so much pressure on Kukah will rather annoy him than make him improve ..

  61. Please let’s be realistic here, is true a man values his ego a lot and it takes discipline for man to maintain decorum when his ego is bruised. As a man what if you got fired as a result of your wife revealing your incompetence at place of work. If you are the man, what would you do? Please answer the question within you. The bible said in 1Cor 10:23 “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is edifying”. Please Dr. Edith I consider Ojoma’s act atrocious and not beneficial. I know her intention was not to hurt but her problem is that she doesn’t know the suitable place and time for that. Even the bible said that there is time for everything. In fact let me put it this way, outside the home, Ojoma doesn’t have right to correct her husband in public via core African setting. Honestly am grieved by Kukah view of the whole situation. If am in his position but God forbid, I will send Ojoma back to her parents if she refuses changing positively. God bless you ma

  62. It has been seen that some of the schools in our country do not offer quality education due to inexperience and unqualified teachers, but that should not set us back. We can learn and try to improve ourselves to avoid embarrassment.

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