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Henry Schnerd - the great gorilla hunter

Published:Tuesday | March 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Gordon Robinson is an attorney at law.

Gordon Robinson, Contributor

Once a young articled clerk named Ernest H. Flower, a domino neophyte, visited the game.

For those readers too young to know they're alive yet, before the University of the West Indies offered a law faculty to persons aspiring to be Perry Mason, there were two separate routes to legal qualification. Aspiring Chambers lawyers (litigation solicitors or commercial practitioners) started as "articled clerks"; basically indentured servants apprenticed to a senior practitioner to "learn" the trade. Barristers (court lawyers) learned "real" law by travelling to England, eating fancy dinners, giving grand speeches and taking lessons in arrogance.

And for those snot-nosed students now "graduating" from the law school with mother's milk dribbling from the sides of their mouths intending to foist themselves on an unsuspecting public as "lawyers", let me tell you that (deep breath) IN MY DAY, articled clerks had to pay for the privilege of sharpening their masters' pencils and running his errands while studying for exams unassisted. There was no prospect of huge salary demands based on inexperience and book learning.

But, that was then ...

'A clean sale'

Anyhoo, Ernest was like most articled clerks. Useless, lazy and incompetent, he spent the workday loudly praying for "a clean sale" (rather than the convoluted messes that were routinely shovelled his way as a grunt's grunt) and constantly whining about the "piles and piles" of work on his desk. Consequently, we assumed that his middle initial stood for 'Haemorrhoid', and the name stuck.

As a novice, Haemorrhoid was limited to kibitzing Autry and I versus Little D and The Beast. Soon, a bored Haemorrhoid, whose real skill was in telling 'shaggy dog' tales, launched one of his favourites.

The story begins at the Hope Zoo where a couple of great white gorillas were the prized exhibit, the only known pair in captivity. Then the male gorilla died. Haemorrhoid, a famous adventurer, was retained by the zoo to travel to deepest Africa to capture a replacement in order to keep the breed alive. He set off on his quest. On arrival, he looked around for local expert help and was referred to Henry Schnerd, the great white gorilla hunter.

Upon arriving at Schnerd's camp, he was directed to the great man's tent guarded by a vicious, snarling, mangy mongrel dog and an Indian (whose tongue had been surgically removed) armed with a rifle. Ushered inside, he struck a deal with Schnerd and joined Henry's hand-picked crew headed to hunt gorillas. Haemorrhoid noticed that Schnerd insisted on including both dog and Indian in the hunting party but would only grunt "You'll see" when asked why.

Soon, they spotted a great white gorilla, a most tenacious carnivore, who never stops advancing until its prey is devoured. The gorilla and Schnerd saw each other simultaneously. The gorilla charged. Schnerd ran up a tree. The gorilla followed. Schnerd skipped from branch to branch until only one remained. Eventually, with nowhere for Henry to go, the gorilla leapt at Schnerd who dodged expertly. The gorilla fell from the tree and, as it hit the ground, the dog leapt upon the stunned ape, capturing it by biting hard on the gorilla's testicles.

Schnerd bagged and tagged the gorilla.

The silent Indian

So, Haemorrhoid now knew the dog's purpose but Schnerd still wouldn't explain the silent Indian. To counter possible death by attrition on the long journey back to Jamaica, Schnerd advised hunting two more gorillas as insurance. The process was repeated with the identical result - a second gorilla captured after its testicles were trapped between the jaws of the snarling dog. Again, Haemorrhoid queried the utility of the silent Indian. Schnerd wouldn't reply.

Then, on the last hunt, as Schnerd retreated along the final branch, it snapped and Henry Schnerd plummeted to the ground.

As he was falling through the air, he shouted to the Indian "Shoot the dog!"

So, you see, dog can be man's best friend if he's got nothing else. And the best laid plans of mice (and men) gang aft agley. The moral is: when you ask a mangy, vicious attack dog to savage your prey, you never know when you might need, in reserve, a rifle toting Indian who can't speak when he should be listening.

So, to end as we began (with lawyers), let me assure readers that Justice Boyd H. Carey was a brilliant, albeit not very humble, judge. He remains one of Jamaica's finest legal minds and is worth twice the paltry hourly rate he's being paid to conduct the Government's pre-election campaign. Where's the Indian?

Peace and Love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney at law. Feedback may be sent to