Hieronymous Bottomley is my best friend. We go way back. We were in kindergarten together. Hieronymous was known as ‘Ronnie Mouse’ to our enemies, the bullies. They also made great play of the word ‘bottom’ which seemed to amuse them a great deal. To his friends he was just ‘mouse’, a big, easy-going mouse. Or so it seemed. In fact, he was anything but a mouse; he was slow to anger but a lion when he was roused.
He was always big, even then, whereas I was small and still am. If you’re small you are a target for the bullies too. They used to call me ‘Wog’, I guess because of my non-anglo name. To mouse I was just Rey or ‘X-Rey’ , because my middle name is Xavier , sometimes ‘stingray’, because I had a lightning fast punch to the enemy’s nose. Together we made a formidable pair, he would hoist them off the ground, and I would dong them on their noses, which soon became luminous. The bullies learned to leave us alone. Nowadays we tend to defend ourselves with by less physical means.
Nowadays Mouse is a spin doctor. He calls himself spin doctor to the stars and politicians. He reckons that spin doctoring is just the professionalisation of something that used to be done by amateurs. The difference between professionals and amateurs in his opinion is not that he’s better at it than the amateurs but that he doesn’t believe his own spin. He also reckons it is the oldest profession in the world and that it is where the second oldest profession got their general idea of how to operate.
Amateurs come to believe what they say when they say it for long enough. Politicians are like that too. It just takes them a little longer for them than it does for less calculating singers and thespians.
The other day he said to me, “X-Rey, I reckon most people are easy to fool because they think sideways or upside down or backwards instead of thinking all round.”
“Why do they do that, Mouse?” I asked.
“That’s an easy one,” he said. “It’s kind of like burying your head in the sand. They are either afraid of something or they really want something. So they get tunnel vision. The focus in on the thing they are scared will jump out at them, they pant after a bone that think they can grab, and they can’t see anything else.”
“So you could say they are watching the doughnut and not the whole. Ha, Ha!” I quipped.
“Let me make the jokes, Rey! Besides, they mostly only watch the bit of the doughnut nearest to them. But you’ve got a point there. It’s the shape of things. The way they fit together that matters. And that includes other people’s points of view. If you want to see the doughnut properly, you’ve got to see it from all sides as well as seeing the hole in the middle. It’s the way things fit together, not just the things themselves. If everyone saw like that, I’d be out of a job.” He sounded pensive, but then he perked up, and said brightly, “Anyway, Rey, tell me about your blog. What’s it about?”
“What you said, Mouse. What you just said. And maybe a little bit more…about what doughnuts really are!”
“This is going to be fun, X! I’m sure I’ll fall about laughing when I see it.”
“Either that, or you’ll burst into tears, Mouse’s Bottom!”, I needled him.