A phrase I’ve always liked is “When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.” — Lin Yutang
I was looking sheep this morning. It was raining on and off and I got rained on twice. But as I walked up a track towards one house I could see their little dog standing in the window watching me. But as it turned, it could see its own reflection in the mirror over the mantelpiece. So it barked at the strange dog in its house.
Of course in jumped down onto the floor to chase the mutt off, and of course, it could no long see the strange dog, so the tactic had obviously worked. And better still, it will continue to work. Because every time it gets up on the window ledge to look out, it’ll glance over its shoulder and discover that other chuffing dog is back. So it’ll have to drive it off again. Hours of fun for all the family.
It’s just that somebody sent me a link to an article about Russia. It seems that President Vladimir Putin has had ‘illegally imported foreign food’ ostentatiously destroyed, live, in front of cameras. To prove to his own people that he’s a big important man and isn’t to be crossed.
But it’s funny. These ‘big important men’, how can you tell them? Well I’ve been doing a series of interviews for an editor and writing them up. This means chasing busy people, phoning them up and taking twenty minutes of their time to do an interview. They’re all busy people, all worth talking to.
But written next to one name on the list was the cryptic comment that this chap was the ‘real deal’ and was seriously important and therefore should be handled tactfully. Yet this is that chap who not only returned my phone call, he booked a time for an interview, and then rang me to do it.
The really important people are normally important enough to remember that society is held together by the thin glue of courtesy and if we want society to keep hanging together, we’ve got to be prepared to keep splashing the glue about as we pass through the day.
If President Vladimir Putin had been a really big man, he’d have taken this food and given it to old people’s homes or used it, with match funding from the centre, to provide meals for those who have so little. The big men (and big women) don’t need to throw their weight about to prove that they’re important.
Many years ago, (it could be fifty), I heard the lyrics of a song on a BBC television news and current affairs programme. The chorus has stayed with me after all this time, although I’ve never managed to track the rest of it down.
“Doctors and teachers exams must pass,
If ere they wish to rise above the working class.
And if perchance, they’ve just scraped through,
I’ll give you ten to one that they look down on you.
Ho, ho, just scraped through.
I’ll give you ten to one that they look down on you.”