Tue | Sep 17, 2019

Gordon Robinson | Get over yourselves!

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2019 | 12:09 AM

In a tense domino game, the score was five-all in the deciding six.

Dessie was playing with infrequent participant Peter ‘Poop’ and, late in the game, had the choice of blocking the game by going two fives (letting in double-five) or killing the double. Having just been forced to offer that choice, I was sweating the fact that I held the endangered card. Outwardly, I was cool.

I was confident I’d tricked Dessie by earlier cutting five to return Autry’s card, but I should’ve known Dessie, the domino genius, couldn’t be fooled. Just before I cut that five, Poop let it reach me without ‘drawing’ so, with a flourish, Dessie killed double-five.

“Dead like a dawg,” chirped Poop, “in the middle a Hope Road!”

Closely followed by “Arrange di funeral. Bury dat!”

Dem want I; dem want I

fi come a dem funeral.

Dem claim say; dem claim say

Dem a di ginneral

Haemorrhoid had been kibitzing, as usual, and couldn’t resist telling a Shaggy Dog story. Readers, especially Danielle, remember and love Haemorrhoid, a lazy, articled clerk named Ernest H. Flower, whose nickname came from a combo of his middle initial and his constant complaints about “piles and piles” of files on his desk. Haemorrhoid, a world-class raconteur, spoke of what happens when politicians die.

“John’s grandfather was a famous political leader. When he died after a lengthy career, including championing environmental causes, his family wanted him to be cremated, in accordance with his commitment to a green world. Also, in his small nation, land space was limited, so John’s grandfather always promoted cremation and composting of bodies as the preferred way.

After weeks of mystery and official mourning, John’s grandfather was instead buried after a full State funeral. Weeks afterwards, John was out drinking with a friend, who asked why.

John replied ‘Firstly, cause of death was a big secret. The champion environmentalist died from asbestos poisoning. It might’ve taken weeks to cremate the body’ John chuckled. ‘Seriously though’ continued John, tongue contrarily still firmly in cheek, ‘like all politicians, his trousers, especially the part covering the rear-end, was necessarily made from flame-retardant material’.”

Haemorrhoid literally rolled on the floor laughing at his own joke while we rolled our eyes in unison. But I recalled Haemorrhoid’s story when learning of the tiresome complaints from supporters of former PM Eddie Seaga about a closed casket.

“Let the people see him!” they demanded.

This is why I don’t believe in funerals. They’re fodder for irrational argument about a dead body. A nation (even a constituency) may honour any public servant with whatever award, including a State funeral. Details of these post-mortem rituals are for family alone. Everybody else needs to stay out of it.

You mus’ ee want I fi

come a, come a funeral.

And I no go no one burial.

Yet you want I come a,

come a funeral

Mek yu frien’ come claim say,

“You a di ginneral?”

It’s musical folklore that Peter Tosh’s Burial was targeting Bob Marley, whose funeral Peter refused to attend.

Propaganda

The propaganda is fuelled by lyrics “how yu rob up di place” and “even rob di blind” when lawsuits claiming the Barretts (and other Wailers band members) were tricked out of their royalties, became public. I represented the Wailers in one lawsuit (long ago settled) so won’t comment, but Burial was co-written with Bunny Wailer in 1968 when the three were friends and it was on Peter’s 1976 album, Legalize It. Bob died in 1981.

So rumours that Peter, for me the most naturally talented of the three, denied Bob three times before the cock crowed are greatly exaggerated. I’m with Tosh. Funerals are ceremonial farces for the living’s (especially churches’) benefit.

Those getting all hot under the collar because we can’t ‘see’ the deceased in a coffin, get this. HE’S NOT THERE. HE’S GONE. Get over yourselves.

Peace and Love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com