Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Daniel Thwaites | Going nuts over Matthew

Published:Sunday | October 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

It could be coincidence, if you believe in that sort of thing, but I happen to know a guy named Mathew who works in construction. Just the other day, he was telling me how he became stranded in the country late one evening when the car broke down. He really didn't know anyone around, so you can imagine the sense of insecurity.

Well, luckily for him, earlier he had paused to converse with a lay preacher church sister in the nearby village. She had struck him as stern and very proper, but gentle.

Anyway, putting shyness aside, he just asked this old lady to please put him up for the night, and to his delight, she turned it over in her Christian heart, then decided to generously do him this kindness. The only problem, she explained, was that she only had a queen-size bed in her one room.

Later, despite his remonstrations that he could happily bounce it on the floor, the graceful lady ordered him to stop his nonsense. He just had to close his eyes when she was putting on her nightie, and they would put two pillows between them.

All went well! He slept soundly and was first up in the morning, refreshed and ready to hit the road.

Naturally, Mathew was profuse in his thankfulness, even though he noticed that now the old lady was a little reluctant to accept the kind words. He did not let it bother him.




Anyway, finally heading through the door, he saw a tall coconut tree in the yard, filled with nuts. He thought to himself, "Yuh know what? After this sweet old lady has been so kind to me, let me help her out." So he asked nicely, "Yuh waan mi pick two coconut fi mi an' yuh?"

That was just too much for the nice old lady, who, in exasperation, almost screamed: "Just come outa mi yard yuh wutliss bloodcl**t! Yuh nuh know how fi climb ova two pilla but yuh waan climb up mi jelly tree ... . Galang from yasso!"

There is so much illuminated by this story, such as that the human heart, being knotted and labyrinthine, can both dread, and at the same time secretly long for, storm, stress, strain, hurricane, and general hacklement. In addition, sometimes what did not happen can often be far more the focus than what did. And then it goes without saying that sometimes you gotta know what to do and when to 'press and advantage' a situation!

Matthew, the hurricane, didn't really happen for Jamaica, although it has moved on and terrified the people of Haiti, Cuba, The Bahamas, and Florida. Unfortunately for the poor souls in those nations, they don't have a Rev Al Miller and must, therefore, pay for their folly.

But so much for focusing on what didn't happen. There's the other scenario, when you don't even notice what didn't happen, because you are so focused on what did. That was where I found myself in the hurly-burly of the media reports about the oncoming storm.




I was so transfixed by the PR of the political directorate that I didn't even notice that the director general of ODPEM, Major Clive Davis, didn't deliver at the briefing. In fact, I ran one of CNN's flash surveys like they do after a presidential debate and discovered that Mr Holness had been going right up in my personal polls, leading from the front in his green cap, green merino, and green socks. There are people calling him Andrew Kardashian because of the numerous selfies, but honestly, I was grateful for the upfront, take-charge approach.

So I was taken aback by the Gleaner story 'ODPEM sidelined by politicians in hurricane prep - Carby', wherein the director of the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Dr Barbara Carby, drew attention to what was not happening in the hurricane prep.

First off, I had to reflect about how easy it is to trick me! It turns out I'm a sucker for the slick public relations, which I'm not exactly thrilled to report. It probably doesn't help that I'm a big fan of Kim Kardashian, too, so I've been softened up already.

Here's Dr Carby:

"There is nowhere in the world where a few hours before a disaster is expected to make an impact, you do not have the head of the disaster agency addressing the public."

Oh, Dr Carby! Apparently, there is one such place. And you really have to wonder why there would be a determination to 'press and advantage' a situation. There's really no need, particularly where you have an Opposition doing its level best to enjoy a long season in the doldrums.

Anyway, thank heavens Al Miller run de bwoy Matthew outa de yard - 'bout him waan tear dung de jelly dem! - or there could have been a payment for the sleekly orchestrated political interference with heightened disaster.

- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law.

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