Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Who a di smart PhD?

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The beautiful game of dominoes is truly a metaphor for life.

In dominoes and life, the best memory and clearest thought process wins. Often, the requirement isn't to read the game as it is but to draw inferences from what it's not. One Saturday, Gene Autry, The Beast and I waited an eternity to start until we heard (floating on the breeze): "... If a macca, mek it jook yu!"

The Dunce! We started shuffling. Soon the Dunce appeared, kicked one last stone for luck, and settled down. Autry posed double-six (mandatory); the Dunce played six-four; and I played six-trey. The Beast merrily drew double-trey and Autry immediately played four-five. When the Dunce's contribution was trey-deuce, I concluded the Beast held four-trey and an opponent (probably the Dunce) was stuck with double-four. Why? Answers in a postscript. No peeking now or your Nothing Prize will be cancelled.

Then Haemorrhoid arrived with one of his tall tales. Readers surely remember Haemorrhoid, a lazy articled clerk named Ernest H. Flower, who repeatedly complained about "piles and piles" of files on his desk, making his nickname inevitable. Haemorrhoid didn't play, but was a world-class raconteur specialising in shaggy-dog stories.

He told the story of a Jamaican harassed on a plane by a 'smart' PhD:

"Bingo, a Jamaican taxi driver, was seated beside a smart PhD on a plane home from New York. Bingo knew his co-passenger was a smart PhD because the man bragged incessantly about it.

Finally, anxious for attention from Bingo, who'd been studiously ignoring him, the PhD asked if Bingo wanted to play a game. Bingo asked, 'What game?'

PhD replied, 'I ask you some questions. For each wrong answer or if you don't know the answer, you pay me US$1. Then you ask me questions. If I can't answer, I'll give you US$1,000."

Feeling overly confident, the PhD gave Bingo the first question.

Bingo asked, "What has three legs, takes 30 minutes to climb a coconut tree, but only three seconds to climb back down?"

PhD pondered while Bingo enjoyed peace and quiet for the rest of the flight. At the end of the flight, Bingo stretched an upturned palm to the PhD, pocketed his US$1,000, and started to walk away. PhD, unable to contain himself, said, 'I'm curious. What's the answer?'

'How di hell me mus' know dat? Nuh yu a di smart PhD?'"




I remembered Bingo as I noticed Peter Phillips barrelling down the same pernicious path that lost PNP the last election by calling out the PM on ZOSO and again on the Junction road repairs 'issue'. The Old Ball and Chain wondered aloud if Peter had ever driven on that road. She, who swore, 10 years ago, never to drive on it again, says, "This is all about optics. No substance. People want to know what HE AND HIS PARTY plan to do to solve Jamaica's problems. Sick and tired of criticism of others and finger-pointing. What specific changes does HE propose that'll improve citizens' welfare NOW? Forget by-election politics. PNP is hoisted on its own petard and needs to suck it up!"

So, I ask myself, why's Peter doing this? The dollar is slipping daily. Our education minister is obviously out of his depth and seems overly impressed with his new status. The justice minister could be the answer to Haemorrhoid's quiz question, having stuffed at least three feet into his mouth since taking the portfolio. His last public outburst implying an entire Supreme Court Registry Department was corrupt came hot on the heels of his insanely premature notification of the first ZOSO declaration. Mt Salem may've selected itself, but Chuck selects himself as a prime reshuffle candidate. For Jamaica's sake, PM, chuck him out!

So the PNP has a varied menu of government inefficiency, incompetence, misspeaks and compound cock-ups from which to choose for political fodder. Yet Peter Phillips chooses to retain crime as a political football (sending mixed signals to criminals) and oppose road repairs' "timing" (sending mixed signals to constituents). Why? Don't ask me. Nuh him a di smart PhD?

Peace and love.

PS: Gene wouldn't cut his double so early in the game. The Beast spurned an opportunity to play double-four (not conclusive as he played another double). If Autry held four-trey, he'd have used it to go 'treys' and, if the Dunce had it, he'd have used it to cut 'my' trey and reintroduce 'his' four. No doubt, four-trey belonged to the Beast; good chance double-four was the Dunce's.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to