Ayo Odebisi, also known as Paramole, would have turned sixty-five Wednesday, 28th of April. He was not a man you could forget. The aura he projected on those around him and his immediate environment contributed to the weight of words and ways. I never met anyone as sincere with himself and about the whole palate called life. He stood as an exemplar of the human spirit. I never get carried away by his thought; he was not superhuman, he was human and humane.
Many who met him remember Odebisi by his few staple vanities, if you can call them such. The Silk Cut Silver cigarettes he smoked with Super25 filters; the Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker’s Black Label whiskey he stored in stainless steel hip flasks and drank with soda water; the building or buying of gigantic houses he lived in, and the Toyota jeeps he drove. Those things did not tell you much about him, he was not an easy person to understand through casual interaction.
Everything else about Odebisi reflected an unpretentious bohemian lifestyle coupled with a libertarian outlook. He was a counterculture personality without psychedelics. Examining Paramole’s life will produce paradoxes, but I never witnessed any hypocrisies. He did not need them.
Paramole did not like to be filmed, recorded, or photographed. Not much of his existence can be found through such media. However, something happened a few days ago. I listened to an essay titled “The Hour of Man” by Henry Miller, the American author on the Poetry Channel on YouTube. Published in the Chicago Review in 1956, the year Paramole was born, its content is the closest piece I have encountered to Odebisi’s thinking, preferences and expectations of life. Like minds? He was a cerebral but jovial fellow.
The many who encountered him will testify that the “Upliftment of Man” was the very thing he lived for within his means and capacity with unfailing consistency. The evidence abounds and the contradictions rare, if any. Listening to the video below will give the reader good insight into a significant part of what Paramole stood for and still represents to many of us. He lives.
Be good, Not lucky