My chief is one of the world’s unsung heroes. He holds the world and Olympic record in cheapness, and yet the folks at the Guinness Book have not taken any notice of his sterling achievements in this field. Its easier to part Siamese twins than part him and his money. The sun rising on the 6th of every month (the day he pays his employees their wages) finds him wearing the lugubrious expression of a man attending his own funeral. I don’t think he has ever discarded anything in his life, except his diapers (and expert opinion is divided on this point). Once he made all the hospital janitors and ward boys comb the entire bramble – overgrown backyard of the hospital to find a five rupee coin that had somehow managed to escape his clutches and fall from the window of his office (which he had opened to save on the air-conditioner). The coin was not found, but the good-men’s exertions disturbed the reveries of the resident snake, and the none too amused reptile came out of its hole and expressed its displeasure in a series of alarming hisses. The panicked chief ordered his underlings to seek out the services of the neighborhood snake-charmer who ultimately succeeded in beguiling it into his bag. By now my chief had regained his equanimity and when the snake-charmer demanded payment for services rendered, told him calmly that the snake itself was more than sufficient compensation for his labors and that in all fairness it was he who owed the chief the balance of payment.
On another memorable occasion he called me into his chamber and I found him hunched over his desk with a most pitifully woeful expression on his face. Then he related to me the enormity of the tragedy that had struck the ship of his life like a tempest.
“Oh Doctor-at-large, I’ve somehow swallowed my golden tooth.”
My chief you see has a golden tooth, which gleams on those rare occasions when he bestows a fatuous smile on an amazed world. Somebody had once told him that in these days of volatile share and mutual fund markets, gold is a good solid investment and insurance against a rainy day, and so when his dentist decided to extract a decayed tooth from his chops, the chief decided to get a golden replacement. And now somehow the tooth had unloosened itself during his masticatory exertions on the breakfast toast and had dived for its freedom down the old man’s gut.
I could see that the enormity of the tragedy had befuddled his brain and I was expected to provide some sort of succour to the floundering man. With my characteristic brilliance I hit upon the solution at once.
“I think you should get an X-ray done. That will locate the exact position of the lost treasure in your gut. Then we can ask our gastroenterologist to scoop it out with his scope (endoscope I mean, I was just trying to cheer up the old man with a dash of pun).”
He brightened up immediately and we proceeded to get the X-ray done. The gastroenterologist looked at it and shook his head.
“Its gone too far down for me to reach it with an endoscope put in through the mouth and not far enough for me to reach it if I go up from the other end. You see its in a sort of no man’s gut. I suggest that you give it a couple of days and it will come out by itself, that being the usual fate of anything indigestible put into the mouth and swallowed.”
To be doubly sure, the chief got a daily X-ray done to know exactly how far his gut the tooth had traveled so that he could pounce on it the moment it came out. On the day the X-ray suggested that the expulsion was imminent, there was a palpable excitement in his manner and the whole hospital was eagerly awaiting the capture of the escapee crown. However, the truant jewel proved to be too clever, and despite the most diligent ferreting efforts by the chief (the details of which I shall spare the gentle reader) it escaped. By now perhaps it has managed to reach the sea and be swallowed by some fish, which perhaps having been caught and disemboweled by a fisherman would provide him and his cronies a month’s quota of barley water.
Now one might think that possessing such a supreme talent would be blessing enough for one man; but fortune is not known to bestow its largesse to all Homo sapiens in equal measure. Some it leaves a pauper, and some like my chief are wallowing in its riches. So my chief, the master cheapster of this century is also the greatest donkey kisser that I’ve ever known. His skill in this province is legendary, and since this art of donkey kissing is now universally acknowledged to be a most requisite skill for advancement in life, I’ve distilled out the most pertinent points from long observation of a true master of the art. So here is a list of the most essential points to be remembered by the practitioner of the art of donkey kissing, straight from the horse’s mouth.
1) The world is full of donkeys, but it is imperative to choose the right donkey to kiss. The right donkey can take you far through the perilous paths of life but kissing the wrong donkey is not only futile but may gain you an uncomfortable kick in the balls.
2) The ability to choose the correct donkey to kiss is given to certain gifted people as their birthright. They are prodigies, but most other men too can master this art with diligent study and sustained effort.
3) Remember that the most beautiful and well-proportioned donkey is not always the best donkey to kiss. Choose the donkey that can carry your burden the furthest, even if it is the ugliest and most smelly donkey around.
4) Another clue is that the right donkey will often have a large number of hopefuls queuing up behind it. Sometimes however such donkeys after enjoying the lavish attentions of their fawning followers have been known to lead them down a treacherous precipice. So always keep your options open and kiss more than one suitable donkey.
5) Some donkeys make threatening gestures on the approach of any kisser, pretending to despise such attentions; don’t be fooled however, for often these are the best donkeys to kiss and are only acting coy to jack up their market value.
6) It is imperative while engaged in the act of donkey kissing to enjoy the act or atleast make a great pretense of enjoying it. Keep making slurping sounds punctuated by ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘aahing’ and keep praising to the sky the divine attributes of the donkey in question.
7) Once you spot a better and greater donkey than the one you have been kissing, immediately shift your alliance. You are also free to bestow a parting kick or two on the donkey you are leaving, such being the universal practice amongst the most respected practitioners of this art.
8) Cast aside all false shame and unmanly scruples. People who make fun of you for donkey-kissing are often the miserable failures of society who have not been able to find a suitable donkey to kiss their way to success.
9) Always keep your eyes open. Truly great donkeys are often wont to hide their great powers under a façade of humility. But if you can worm your way through the mass of their followers and become their chief kisser, then life will be all smooth-sailing for you.
10) And finally, after a career of incessant donkey kissing, you might one day find a queue of ardent followers making slurping sounds behind you, and then you can smile with righteous self-satisfaction for a life well-lived. For now, your own donkey is worth being kissed.