THE LOWDOWN: Well, who can I turn to?
Who can I turn to when nobody needs me? My heart wants to know and so I must go where destiny leads me. With no star to guide me and no one beside me, I’ll go on my way and after the day, the darkness will hide me – Dusty, Shirley, Andy and others.
I once had an altercation with a typist over a technical matter. Until she cut me down to size with: “Mr Hoad, I did a course in typewritering!” End of story.
I never did a course in typewritering nor, sad to say, in columnwritering. Which is why even today I struggle to decide how far you can go in a column.
Of course, there’s little likelihood that you will go too far. Your column has to pass through a battalion of super-editors, editors, sub-editors, legal beagles, style supervisors and the fellow who empties the waste-baskets before it will see the light of day.
But by then it’s too late. They’ve chopped out the offending parts or pulled you entirely. After false-starting once, you don’t risk anything again.
I figure your editor is boss and the one to please. And I try, from their writings, to find out pet likes and dislikes of my editors and whether they are Bees or Dees.
Alas, they often change Weekend Nation editors more often than I do underwear, sometimes three times in two months. Recently, I was sucking up to Ricky Jordan only to discover weeks later that Sanka Price had replaced him.
I worry about Sanka. He does this lurid, steamy I Confess column where people describe their intimate pornographies. Like, a fellow was telling him recently about a horn.
The girlfriend gave him a sleeping tablet (he’s recovering from an accident) but he didn’t take it. Bad mistake, always take your medication. He went out to find her and a cousin copulating furiously: “All I could do was stare at their sweaty, naked bodies”. Can Sanka remain detached with such detail?
I realised long ago no woman would ever want me for my own sake. But if a girl’s boyfriend was say, overseas, I would get her talking mushy about how she misses him. And then ask: “If he was here now, would he be nibbling your toes (earlobes, belly button) like this?” And she would say, “No, like this!”
And before you knew it, I had taken his place. It’s called “propinquity”, meaning “nearness”.
I was there; he wasn’t. Pathetic, but it works.
But can the ladies and Sanka handle all that propinquity?
Now a beloved former editor, Antoinette Connell, has put me in more trouble. She was perhaps the most hands-on of them all. And made us supply an email address where we can be reached. It’s like telling an assailant which lonely road you pass late at night so he can put licks in you.
Not really. Most so far have been nice. But then you get a really troubling one.
This came from someone who has suffered a great personal tragedy and who by all accounts is getting a rough deal from the powers that be.
I couldn’t mention anything so in a column but whom could I turn to to highlight the situation?
That’s when it struck me. We in Barbados care little about integrity legislation. In the first place, there is no corruption in Barbados. No policemen are in bed with the media, politicians or businessmen. No one takes bribes to award contracts. No one gets a little something for approving a land development or changing a water zone.
Secondly, we don’t believe that, even if there was corruption, anyone is going to be convicted.
So whom can a citizen turn to if he’s getting the dirty end of the stick?
A newspaperman, a politician, a senior police officer, the ombudsman (if we still have one), Amnesty International? I don’t know.
Actually, I do. Richard Goddard. Richard has the guts to fight any battle he believes in no matter what the personal cost – Greenland, Brittons Hill, old graves, old roads.
He’s had health challenges recently. May God fully restore him for we sure need him.
Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.