You’d think Shakespeare would be the last source anyone would approach on the subject of dogs. True? Who’d expect a guy crazy enough to have written dumb lines like “to be or not to be, that is the question” to have anything intelligent to say about canines? You want to know what makes dogs tick? You want to know what ticks dogs off? Hey, you do what the best best brains of Nobel City do when confronted by such baffling questions as “Who da hell is Jack Grynberg? Why was Allen itching to dump Squaleed Chooffali but not Choogooree and dat pretend saint in de AG office?”
Yes, you want answers, you turn to Google. Anyhoo, there I am the other a.m., gingerly stroking my son’s super intelligent and over-pampered diva poodle (named Ella, would you believe!) while also casually perusing my favorite volume of Shakespeare’s plays. Suddenly the inimitable voice of Antony (Mark, that is, not Kenny!) is ringing in my ear. And what do you think he’s talking about? The Mother of all Betrayals, that’s what: the assassination of Julius Caesar.
Says the voice of Antony (Mark, not Kenny!): “For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel. Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him . . . when the noble Caesar saw him stab, ingratitude more strong than traitors’ arms, quite vanquished him—then burst his mighty heart!” (As I think about it, the voice sounded a lot like George Odlum at Tim Hector’s graveside: “Were you thair? Were you thair?”)
Right after that I encountered Lord Macbeth in the dodgy company of professional haters eager to carry out a murderous assignment handed old Mack by his over-ambitious bossy wife. They tell the pussy-whipped lord they’re just the men for the job at hand and wimpy-wimpy Macbeth says: “Aye, in the catalogue ye go for men. As hounds, and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves are clept all by the name of dogs. The valued file distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle, the housekeeper, the hunter—every one according to the gift which bounteous nature has within him closed, whereby he does receive particular addition from the bill that writes them all alike.” (Yep, I warned you: the guy had a wild and crazy way of laying down his thoughts!)
He goes on: “And so of men. Now if you have a station in the file not in the worst rank of manhood, say it, and I will put that business in your bosoms whose execution takes your enemy off, grapples you to the heart and love of us.”
In short, the programmed pussy wants King Banquo, Mack’s close buddy and house guest (whom the haters hate for their own reasons) permanently removed. He tells the hired killers he’s sick. What’s more, he cannot be healthy again while Banquo continues to breathe. Obviously I paraphrasing Shakespeare; putting my own words in his Mack’s mouth. But you get his point about men, dogs and betrayals bad enough to burst a mighty heart!
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Macbeth brought to my mind two or three permanent secretaries turned disseminators of government news too hot for the usual channels. In their new role (reminiscent of a certain totally unpresidential character in The Apprentice,) they were required to speak just two scripted words: “You’re fired!” to particular dearly beloved colleagues. It was up to the permanent secretaries if they chose to inform discarded personnel that on June 6, 2016 the Looshan majority had determined their services over-priced and not nearly as much in the public interest as in their own.
As Caesar might’ve said but for a flatterer’s dagger buried in his lungs: “Ain’t life a canine!” (All right, all right! I know what you’re thinking, dear meticulous reader. But please bear in mind that Caesar, regardless of how dire his circumstances, would not have uttered the B-word. Especially if Shakespeare had a say in the matter. And anyway, the noble Brutus would’ve delivered to his vocal chords the most unkindest cut of all—even as Great Caesar fell!
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Be careful what you say (and how you say it). Words often turn around and bite you where you live. At any rate, so says the conventional wisdom. Then there’s the line that cautions us to be careful how we treat others when we’re on top. Otherwise we run the risk of being accorded similar treatment by other top dogs when we’re down. A recently published photograph of Allen Chastanet addressing a gathering in Vieux Fort had me recalling both truisms. While the nation’s newly elected prime minister stood tall onstage, seated among other honchos in the front row audience was none other than the general who only a few weeks ago had badly lost the war he declared on the current PM and his father. Could the former PM have been thinking about his several demeaning utterances between 2011 and June 6, 2016? Then again, perhaps he was preoccupied with his return to Purgatory. Hopefully this time he’ll stick around for a proper cleansing. Obviously, that’ll take a lot longer than five years. Until next time . . .