Gordon Robinson | Haemorrhoid and Hoghead
The domino crew gathered during a crime upsurge to talk and play.
What we called an 'upsurge' then (over 200 murders in 1973) was like a family picnic now. But, as Dessie posed double-six, he said government should produce a better crime plan or he might stop playing dominoes. Gene Autry played six-deuce while pooh-poohing the threat. The Dunce contributed double-deuce while, as usual, opining, "If a macca, mek it jook yu!"
My hand was five-four; five-trey; double-four; four-deuce; four-ace; deuce-ace; double-blank. Quick, what would you play? Why?
Before I could play, two irregulars, Haemorrhoid and Hoghead, turned up. Readers know Haemorrhoid (Ernest H. Flower), whose middle initial and frequent complaints about "piles and piles" of files on his desk made perfect fodder for his nickname. Haemorrhoid, a superb shaggy-dog tale teller, was garrulous and sociable. Hoghead was the opposite; a perfect foil. Hoghead, a quiet listener, asked Haemorrhoid what was a likely crime plan.
Haemorrhoid told the story of the baker's assistant:
"A bakery owner hired a young female shop assistant who liked to wear very short skirts and thong panties.
"One day, a young man entered the store and glanced at the shop assistant and at the loaves of bread behind the counter. Noticing her short skirt and the location of the raisin bread, he had a brilliant idea. 'I'd like some raisin bread please,' the man said.
"The shop assistant nodded and climbed up a ladder to reach the raisin bread located on the very top shelf. The man standing almost directly beneath her was provided with an excellent view, just as he thought.
"When she descended the ladder, he decided he had better get two loaves. As the shop assistant retrieved the second loaf of bread, one of the other male customers noticed what was going on and requested his own loaf of raisin bread.
"After many trips, she became tired and irritated and began to wonder, 'Why the unusual interest in the raisin bread?' Atop the ladder one more time, she looked down and glared at the men standing below. Then, she noticed an elderly man standing with them. Thinking that she could save herself another trip, she yelled at the elderly man, 'Is it raisin for you, too?'
"'No,' he stammered, 'but it's quivering a little.'"
I remembered Haemorrhoid's story cartooning political planning as popularity first, principle last, when I read People's National Party's (PNP) sexy-looking but substance-lacking 10-point crime plan useful only to distract voters.
1. Improve morale of security force members and bolster Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) legal defence fund.
HOW? Pay policemen more? Is this another call for fiscal irresponsibility? Wasn't the legal defence fund already bolstered?
2. Immediate recruitment to bring JCF to full strength.
HOW? WHO? Anyone who shows up?
3. Provide JCF with the mobility it needs (800 new cars) to carry out its work.
Using what? Over $200 million already spent on non-existent cars unlikely to be returned? Why didn't the PNP provide mobility 2012-2016?
4. End political interference in security forces' operations.
Yawn! If PMs were directly elected and ministers vetted by parliamentarians and subject to impeachment/recall, political control of national-security operations wouldn't be 'interference'.
5. Immediately increase resources for crime fighting. Government must make crime-fighting a priority.
'Scrise! Isn't crime-fighting a priority now? To spend more on anything, however sexy, somebody must spend less. Any volunteers for a budget cut?
6. Establish a special major investigation task force
We already have MOCA (Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency). What next? CROAKA?
7. Deal with corruption.
8. Accelerate justice reform; additional resources for court facilities; increase number of judges, prosecutors, and legal support for investigators.
Sigh! "Additional resources" again! September 2016: Economic Growth Council (EGC) published a five-point plan to improve citizen security and public safety. Number three: "Accelerate reform of the justice system." C'mon, man!
9. Ramp up international cooperation.
We're not cooperating now? Ask Rex Tillerson! What more should we do?
10. Strengthen key social interventions immediately.
EGC's public-safety plan, Number four: "Thoroughly address social exclusion." Nuh di same ting?
I also remembered this when I recently learned my old school chum, Peter Philip 'Hoghead' Rampie, pulled over to check a malfunction in his rental car in Miami when a truck ploughed into it, pushing it forward and crushing him. He died instantaneously. RIP, Hoghead. Thanks for the memories.
The PNP's ten point plan has us all quivering. But it ain't raisin anything new.
Peace and love.
P.S. Make the best of a bad scene by playing deuce-ace. Try to protect your double-four.
- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.