Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Gordon Robinson | Don't R unless you P!

Published:Tuesday | August 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM

No, this isn't about the adventures of a US president in a Russian hotel.

It's about me. I'm obsolete. The modern world has passed this grumpy old man by.

What's the matter with the world?

Has the world gone mad?

Nothin's wrong with the world,

it's the people that's in it.

Take, for example, parties. In my day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, this is how they were arranged.

The words 'pay' and 'party' didn't coexist.

The party's host first worked out if he/she could afford it.

Having decided in the affirmative, he/she created a list of invitees, then added 20 per cent to account for inevitable 'crashers'.

Invitations were issued (mainly by word of mouth); party catered (often by home cooking); and disco (usually operated by a 'friend') hired. Who came, came. Who didn't, didn't (more leftovers for the host).

Only hoity-toity invitations were designed, printed and contained the abbreviation 'RSVP'. Still, my mother, anxious that I'd know how to behave if ever invited to Buckingham Palace, taught me 'RSVP' was French and meant 'Repondez s'il vous plait' or 'Respond if you please.' Apparently, the meaning has evolved to 'please respond' and appears on every invitation issued for every gathering, from mayor's ball to round robin or domino game.

You can depend on the sun

it rises every day,

but you can't rely on ...

the things people say.

Rain falls from the sky,

to give water so life won't die.

Everything's in harmony,

except you and me.

Whichever meaning you prefer, it remains a request, not a demand. After all, here I am minding my own business and YOU invite me to your circus. Thank God, it's now general knowledge I'm a hermit who suffers from terminal antisocial syndrome (ASS) so rarely, if ever, attend group gatherings of any kind.

Thanks to this enforced awareness, resulting from repeated non-attendance, my receipt of invitations has dwindled to a not-so-precious few. One came by email recently with the offending abbreviation at the end. As usual, I ignored it. So I received an oxymoronic follow-up titled 'reminder to RSVP'.

Reminder? To 'reply if I please'? To 'please reply'? Guggoo Leego! Whadaat? You obviously mean "reply whether you 'please' or not".

What's the matter with the world?

Has the world gone mad?

No ain't nothin' wrong with the world.

It's the people that's in it.

After consulting two of the world's leading managerial experts, one known to all and sundry as 'eenie-meenie', the other as 'minee-moe', I clicked on 'will attend'. To plagiarise the great Paul Keens-Douglas, who tell me say so? I was taken to a survey. The first question was: "How many will attend?" I searched the answer menu for "the same number you invited, you dummy," but it wasn't available, so I cancelled the process before I could be asked whether I would need a bed or sofa to nap on during the function.

What's the matter with the world?

Has the world gone mad?

I TELL YOU THERE'S nothin' wrong with the world.

It's the people that's in it.

Prolific American songwriting duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff are credited with creating the legendary Philadelphia soul musical genre (aka 'Philly Sound'), best exemplified by the mostly instrumental TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia By MFSB and the Three Degrees). A domi(No) Prize to the first reader who deciphers the band's name. BTW, didja know the Three Degrees began their careers as Engelbert Humperdinck's backup singers?

Gamble and Huff dominated the 1970s with their unique music and relevant lyrics. In 2008, they became Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees (non-performing category). In 1979, soul singer Lou Rawls recorded their deeply philosophical What's the Matter with the World, which profoundly declared spiritual truth that what we call the world is really the people.

The world is going to pot. And, no, it's not my fat pot.

Peace and love.

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