The most unlikely thing happened this week. I know you’ll find this really hard to credit.
There’s a word in Ireland for it – and that word is GUBU. The acronym derives from this prime ministerial statement:
It was a bizarre happening, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation, an almost unbelievable mischance.
(* Actually it wasn’t from the government, but the point is that the letter was clearly written by a crazy man. Or woman. The signature was suitably vague so as to swing it either way.)
Or could it be that they were simply ill? I turn to war poet Siegfried Sassoon for answers. In his fictionalised biography, Sherston’s Progress, he writes about how impatient foolishness led him to miss an army medical board which was due to assess his fitness to return to war.
“Seeking some explanation of my behaviour I have wondered whether I was feeling ill without being aware of it…
In these days of incalculable dictators, by the way… one cannot help wondering whether an acute Continental crisis could not conceivably be caused by on ongoing chill. May I therefore be allowed to suggest that before hurling explosive ultimatums, all dictators should be persuaded to have their temperatures taken.
One pictures the totalitarian tyrant with fountain-pen poised above some imperious edict, when the human touch intervenes in the form of a trained nurse-secretary (also a dead shot with a revolver), who slips a thermometer into that ever-open mouth.
One figures him, with eyes dynamically dilated, breathing stertorously through the nose during this test of his sense of supreme responsibility for the well-being of the world…
‘Just half a minute more, to make quite sure.’
With a bright smile she hands the tiny talisman to a gravely-expectant medicine-man, who, it may be, shakes his head and murmurs, ‘Ninety-nine point nine. Your Supremacy should sign no documents till tomorrow morning’ Poof! What a relief for Europe.
That sounds plausible. A sudden passing malady. That sounds the only decent explanation for the letter I received.
Yes, you’ve guessed it. I got a polite rejection letter from an agent. But at least I’m not over-reacting or anything.
Still some way to go to catch up with William Golding (Lord of the Flies) or, God forbid, Alex Haley (Roots). I hope the 208 similar letters he received weren’t all from the same poor badgered publisher. (Thanks to Ingrid’s Notes for the stats.)
Anyway, who can be downcast when there are energetic walruses to wonder at?