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Dear Shakespeare: Doggy talk

My dear Billy, A vice Prime Minister who was given the chance to bag a role as a Prime Minister for three days, confessed that God above had destined him to act as Price Minister because he had been faithful to the real Prime Minister and his progeny all his life. In primary school we had learned that a man’s most faithful friend was his dog. In those days we didn’t really know what the word “faithful” meant. To this day, a dog is often referred to as the best friend a man can have. Who, better than a man, can know what it is to lead a dog’s life? You may wish to answer, or you may prefer to adopt any dog’s attitude towards any electric or telephone post. However, if you feel like replying, I’m pretty sure your answer will be “A dog”, and you may be quite right too. Because only a dog knows what kind of life a dog leads down here. But of course that depends on its stars, my dear Billy. If it is born under a lucky star and has the good fortune of being well born, life may be quite easy and comfortable for it. More easy and comfortable in fact than for many within the human species. There indeed are dogs that are born with silver spoons in their mouths while millions of people in the world are born without any spoon at all, and they remain spoonless all their lives. Well that’s their karma – the men’s as well as the dogs’. Some men who have been mean in this life will reincarnate as dogs. Don’t ask me their names and addresses, my dear Billy. I know so many who qualify. Anyway, ask no questions and you will be told no lies. Some dogs that have been good and faithful will come back as human beings, and may even aspire to play the role of Prime Ministers. People and dogs have been tolerating each other for thousands of years. After such a long intimate association, it is no wonder that man and dog should be mutually exchanging certain characteristics. But dogs will be dogs, and so will certain men. Moreover, by any other names, some men will still be dogs. I don’t know if among the canine kind they allude to certain dogs as men. But many human beings are treated like dogs.  Quite an impressive member also act as such, to the extent that even the dogs are ashamed when they see such behaviour; especially when they go to free cocktail and other booze parties. You remember, don’t you, that in your fantastic play “Macbeth” you wanted to insinuate that certain men were like dogs. “In the catalogue ye go for men,” you made Mr. Macbeth tell the murderers. Today it’s the dogs that behave like humans and very often bite the hand that feeds. They won’t get off the road to give way to a passing vehicle; they will stealthily trespass on properly which belongs to others and walk away with whatever they can carry. You will no doubt be surprised to learn that some dogs think and do and act and react and gossip and spread rumours and indulge in character assassination and impute motives and jump to conclusions just like human beings. In the catalogue they go for dogs, but they have been so close to man that they have started imitating him. If an extraterrestrial were to land on planet earth, he would indeed have a hard time looking from the men to the dogs and from the dogs to the men, and make out which was which. Man, for his part, has coined many expressions involving dogs to describe his own situations and dispositions, like “a dog in the manger” when he churlishly and selfishly clings to something which is of particular use to himself. When he is ruined, his friends say that he has gone to the dogs. He has his dog days when he is jobless; when he is in disfavour, he is sent to the doghouse; a dogsbody is a drudge, someone who labours hard in service employment. When he is exhausted, he is dog-tired. And when he is not in good terms with his sister, they fight like cats and dogs. Some people are fond of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang him. A hot-dog is not one desperately looking for a mate, it’s simply one among the worst junk food. There are also lucky dogs and sly dogs, my dear Billy. When in the air people have dog-fights, and on ships they keep dogwatch. It also rains cats and dogs from time to time. And people who don’t have a dog’s chance often die a dog’s death. But the best thing to do is to let sleeping dogs lie. This is not exactly a dogma, nor an advice to be thrown to the dogs, my dear Billy.
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