Sun | Feb 16, 2020

Gordon Robinson | Zones of satirical operations

Published:Tuesday | March 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Minister of National Security Robert Montague.

This is an official travel advisory for those of you sufficiently reckless to journey on Tuesdays to these literary zones of satirical operations.

Be warned: Two recurring characters in these sardonic spoofs have earned fresh nicknames; will no longer answer to their original monikers; and shall henceforth be known by their new names only.

The first victim of these droll deed polls is The Computer Whiz, who, as you know, is the Old Ball and Chain's eldest son. He was so named because of his early, intense interest in those new-fangled machines that would often result in his room being littered with bits and pieces of a computer he'd dismantle and rebuild daily.

His interest is still keen (forever buying computer parts), but he has been surpassed in computer geekdom by the Ampersand, an honest-to-goodness programmer and code writer, whose reliability and expertise as the Father's go-to computer repairman has become iconic. "Have you tried plugging it in, Father?" is only one of the many samples of the Ampersand's advanced computer wisdom imparted over the years. His decision to seek further computer gizmo education in freezing cold foreign has cemented the Ampersand's rise to the top of the family's computer food chain.

Another dynamic demanding a name change is the overwhelming evidence that Old BC's eldest has become a carbon copy of his paternal grandfather. My father's calling was teaching, and, from all independent accounts, he excelled at Jamaica College as mathematics teacher and sports master before the rigours of supporting a wife and three children drove him, kicking and screaming, into the private sector.

At JC, students called him (behind his back, of course) 'Skullhead' because of his weekly visits to the great H&S Macko barbers to the poor and unknown.

When my elder brother, Lionel Jr, began at JC, his peers needed neither time nor thought to award him the obvious nickname 'Skullhead Jr', soon shortened to 'Skully'. This became the bane of my being as, for the first dozen years of my sad existence, I believed my name was 'Skully's brother'. Skully's pals insisted on relieving me of the burden of individual identity. This led to my stubborn refusal to attend JC, having won a Government Scholarship to that hallowed institution in the Common Entrance.

For years, emphasising how much like his grandfather he has become, the Computer Whiz juggled a full-time job with teaching mathematics at MRC Learning Centre, run by the great Russell Bell. When his day job became too demanding, he reluctantly gave up part-time teaching, but not his frequent visits to the barber (often doing the chore himself).




One day, I hope eminent social scientist Anthony Harriott will conduct a survey of the effect (toxic or otherwise) of nicknames on young men in secondary school. The results should be interesting. But, now, it's time. Henceforth, the young man, formerly called the Computer Whiz, shall be known as Skullhead III.

The second casualty in the nickname reshuffle is Robert 'Bobby' Montague, formerly dubbed in these columns, 'Uncle'. That nickname was created in reaction to his lame attempt at humour when warning criminals that his uncle was an obeah man. I've been ribbing him mercilessly ever since. Recently, he said this to Parliament regarding that foray into tomfoolery:

"It was meant to be a joke, but many persons were not amused. They were offended, and rightly so. I want to apologise for the remark and the offensiveness it has caused and to give the assurance and publicly state that I am not into devil or evil worship in no way, shape or form. I worship one God - the one and only true God that reigns, forgives and sustains."

Congratulations, Bobby. This is the most sincere-sounding apology by a Jamaican politician I've seen, heard or read. Ever! This is how apologies are done. You could teach lessons in repentance and contriteness to some of your parliamentary colleagues. I admire you for this.

He also addressed a gathering I've not been able to fully identify (twice saw clips; I'll expand later if I can acquire a full text) that was so impressive, my false teeth almost fell out. The remarks were pointed, rational, frank, open and honest. Fighting words and superb stuff from a practising politician! So, henceforth, the man formerly called 'Uncle' shall, in recognition of his fighting spirit, be known as Bobarum (pronounced, for greater cartoon effect, 'Bo-Bah-rum'). Google it or ask Gene Autry to explain. It's comic.

Peace and love.

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