May poll dancing
Although I have spent more than half my life in this beautiful country, there’s still a part of me that will always be irrevocably British.
Thus I was galvanized by the bizarre train wreck of the June election helmed by the Hon. Theresa May, prime minister and head girl of the (oxymoron alert) United Kingdom, whose awkward television interviews and retro expressions could have come straight out of a children’s novel by Enid Blyton*.
During an interview leading up to her ill-advised political gamble, May revealed the shocking truth about her formative years as a vicar’s daughter growing up in bucolic Oxfordshire. Responding to a question about the naughtiest thing she ever did as a child, she was momentarily lost for words.
“Oh my goodness. Gosh,” she stuttered, frantically searching her memory for something sufficiently atrocious to satisfy the salivating hordes of media maggots and fake news aficionados. There must have been something that stood out, insisted her interviewer, trying hard to keep a straight face. After several excruciating pauses, May finally managed to dig out her deep, dark secret.
“I have to confess, when me and my friend, sort of, used to run through fields of wheat. The farmers weren’t too pleased about that,” she admitted coyly, sending the entire country into paroxysms of helpless laughter and releasing a tsunami of sarcastic tweets.
Among the printable gems were: “People don’t run through fields of wheat like the good old days because of the gluten”, “Theresa May facing a hard breakfast” and “Fun Fact: Crop circles are the result of Theresa May running through wheat fields and repeatedly performing U-turns”.
May’s cynical decision to hold an election – after a series of firm declarations that she wouldn’t and less than a year after the last one – backfired in a spectacular fashion. On the other hand, her cringe-worthy attempts to connect with the great unwashed made me feel almost sorry for her.
Her general demeanour suggested that she had been teleported to 2017 Britain from a genteel tea party in her Maidenhead constituency circa 1956, and her ability to empathize with others was on a par with that of David Brent, the odious main character in the British version of The Office.
Having grown up across the pond in the ‘50s, I knew quite a few Theresa Mays, including several of my school teachers. They were immaculately turned out, quite posh, authoritarian and incapable of spontaneity, never mind unforced humour.
The headmistress’s word was law and resistance was futile. And although I never ran recklessly through a wheat field, I did once walk home without wearing my regulation school hat in defiance of the rules, which, looking back, could have been my Theresa May moment of unfettered rebellion. I remember doing a lot worse, but fortunately I am not planning to run for political office, so my secrets are safe with me.
Meanwhile, mayhem, so to speak, continues unabated on both sides of the Atlantic in an unprecedented (that’s unpresidented to you, Donald) never-ending reality TV show. And since Trump’s American carnage continues unabated on its suicidal course, I will leave it to that country’s great humourist, Mark Twain, to provide closure for this column.
“Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress… but I repeat myself.”
*Most of you, being younger than Methuselah, probably don’t have a clue who I’m talking about, but Enid Blyton was a best-selling children’s author whose fame peaked in the 1950s.