There I was old thing, pacing the meadows with a heavy tread – the night before had been particularly frightful. I had chipped a nail while opening a bottle of rather delightful Chardonnay that then decided to spill itself on my lily-white linen. Ichabod I thought to myself, what is the world coming to if a perfectly respectable and toothsome filly cannot pour herself a glass of the finest without having a nail chipped. So I got out of bed this morning and thought a gander in some quaint pastoral setting would calm the rattled nerves.
But Begorra and Begob as father Patrick once said turning to his alter boy Fergusson; not ten minutes had past before I heard the most frightful cock a doodling that could have only emanated from an ancient rooster with one of the more serious cases of the adenoids. It was not before I had rotated my turnip 360 degrees looking for this afflicted bird that I realized it was my bally mobile phone ringing.
‘Hallooo,’ the voice shouted at the other end (As voices at the other end tend to do when speaking across borders in the mistaken belief that the voice must physically travel thousands of miles to be heard by the other party) sounding overheated and feverish. ‘Your friend Ma-hinder thinks there are no secrets in Paradise and therefore no need for a freedom of Information Act.’
I must say darling you could have knocked me down with a toothpick. It’s all very well m’dear shoveling kiribath and lunumiris into the mouths of the media at the top of every month like a stevedore shoveling coal onto a steam ship. But I draw the line at you feeding them guano as well. Though some of them seem to like it.
Be that as it may old sock, and I’m not speaking without the knowledge of the phone book here, it would seem that the only time there may not have been any secrets in Paradise was when you were in cabinet and leaked all Satellite’s secrets to my dearly departed as if you were a cistern that needed urgent fixing.
But what really takes the giddy biscuit darling is that you have now taken on the role of chief decimator…..no I mean disseminator of news, views, opinions and commentary. By telling this group, audience or congregation of your media flock that any information they need you will supply them with, and thus there is no need for any separate Right to Information Act, you have demonstrated a marked talent for the bawdier section in a three-ring circus. Come to think of it darling, P.T. Barnum would have hired you on the spot.
Honestly old thing you could fling bricks by the bally half hour in Paradise’s most densely populated district without hitting a chap willing to buy this particularly ripe piece of drivel without a general anesthetic or a biff on the head with a blunt instrument. And surely there are more pressing calls upon your time – like for instance wondering what colour shawl you should wear on poya day?
Let me give you the pros and cons. First people will be asking you for all sorts of information as if you were the tight skirted girl behind the information desk at the Mbuji Mayi Airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Think floodgates dear. Next they will be wanting you to find their lost cat, abducted son, dead husband. And knowing you, rather then giving these matters over to the police, you will be loping along the street with an oversized magnifying glass, tweed pantaloons and a dear stalker hat looking for these missing items yourself. Dashed inconvenient old chap, take it from me.
Delegation of duties is vital or you will become overwhelmed with work and pretty soon Shiro will be calling you down for lunch and you’ll be in all sorts of trouble. ‘Aney Sudho’, she will say, ‘come and have your lunch, I’ve made pol sambal with a smidgen of garlic, a dollop of turmeric and a sprinkling of crushed chili just for you’…. And you m’dear fellow, what will you be compelled to do? Decline the offer, that’s what. ‘No Darlo’ you will have to say, ‘I’m being inundated with questions, I have no time to eat’, your stomach rumbling at the thought of parippu and bandakka. Why you may think then – (and as it was for the ten virgin bridesmaids with no oil in their lamps it will be too late for you too) – why you will think, did I not listen to my old friend Thelma and pass a Right to Information Act instead.
In fact if you take it all upon yourself to answer media questions you may even forget details and have to enlist poor Shiro to help you. Pretty quickly you will be hollering across the Temple abode hall to the better half thus. ‘Sukiri katai, do you remember when the tsunami was? These people are asking about the time I was helping Hambantota?
And poor Shiro right in the middle of rubbing baby cheramy moisturizing lotion in a circular motion onto her left cheek will have to pull close her housecoat and look through reams of files on your behalf. Is this the life I signed up for when I agreed to walk down the aisle with a bit of lace stuck under my chin, she might think. What is the point of being married if one cannot rub baby cheramy on the left cheek without being interrupted by the other half every one minute to run some pointless errand which could have been avoided if he had only passed the Right to Information Act?
It’s not a bed of roses trying to be a dictator now is it?
There may even come a time when the martyred proletariat will point as you pass by and whisper, what has that man ever done except eat four square meals a day? And the upshot? Well thellie cannot guarantee the up shot in such dire circs darling. This is why I say steer clear of it all. To use a trenchant metaphor you are walking on bally eggshells and when you are covered with cholesterol dripping yolk and bits of shell are pricking into the ball of you right foot, you will no doubt think to yourself Why didn’t I pass the Right to Information Act instead.
Darling, if someone were to come to me and ask if I’d be willing to join a society whose aim it would be the suppression of people in white sarongs with red shawls around their necks, who would be kept on a short leash, unable to roam around scattering desolation on all sides, I’d reply; Bartholamew Holdenbottle, if indeed his name were Bartholamew Holdenbottle; Bartholamew Holdenbottle I’d say, put me down as a foundation member.
Tinkety tonk for the nonce
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