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The Prescient Wit...
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

› by victoria

...of Roald Dahl. What applied in 1972 has only become more true today. I've always wanted to share excerpts from the book, so this is done for educational value:

In his study in the White House sat Lancelot R. Gilligrass, President of the United States of America, the most powerful man on earth. In this moment of crisis, all his most important advisers had been summoned urgently to his presence, and there they all were now, following closely on the giant television screen every move made by this dangerous-looking glass capsule and its eight desperate-looking astronauts. The entire Cabinet was present. The Chief of the Army was there, together with four other generals. There was the Chief of the Navy and the Chief of the Air force and a sword swallower from Afghanistan, who was the president's best friend. There was the President's Chief Financial Advisor, who was standing in the middle of the room trying to balance the budet on top of his head, but it kept falling off. Standing nearest to the President was the Vice-President, a huge lady of eighty-nine with a whiskery chin. She had been the President's nurse when he was a baby and her name was Miss Tibbs. Miss Tibbs was the power behind the throne. She stood no nonsense from anyone. Some people said she was as strict with the presidnet now as when he was a little boy. She was the terror of the White House and even the Head of the F.B.I. broke into a sweat when summoned to her presence. Only the President was allowed to call her Nanny. The President's famous cat, Mrs. Taubsypuss, was also in teh room.

There was absolute silence now in the Presidential study. All eyes were riveted on the T.V. screen as the small glass object, with its booster rockets firing, slid smoothly up behind the giant Space Hotel.

"They're going to link up!" shouted the President. "They're going onboard our space hotel!"

"They're going to blow it up!" cried the Chief of the Army. "Let's blow them up first, crash bang wallop bang-bang-bang-bang." The Chief of the Army was wearing so many medal ribbons they covered the entire front of his tunic on both sides and spread down onto his pants as well. "Come on, Mr. P," he said. "Let's have some really super-duper explosions!"

"Silence, you silly boy!" said Miss Tibbs, and the Chief of the Army slunk into a corner.

"Listen," said the President. "The point is this. Who are they? And where do they come from? Where's my Chief Spy?"

"Here, sir, Mr. President, sir," said the Chief Spy. He had a false moustache, a false beard, false eyelashes, false teeth and a falsetto voice.

"Knock-knock," said the President.
"Who's there?" said the Chief Spy.
"Courteney who?"
"Courteney one yet?" said the President.

There was a brief silence.

"The President asked you a question," said Miss Tibbs in an icy voice. "Have you Courteney one yet?"

"No, ma'am, not yet," said the Chief spy, beginning to twitch.

"Well, here's your chance," snarled MIss Tibbs.

and now, The Nurse's Song:

This mighty man of whom I sing,
The greatest of them all,
Was once a teeny little thing,
Just eighteen inches tall.

I knew him as a tiny tot,
I nursed him on my knee.
I used to sit him on the pot
and wait for him to wee.

I always washed between his toes,
And cut his little nails.
I brushed his hair and wiped his nose
And weighed him on the scales.

Through happy childhood days
he strayed,
As all nice children should.
I smacked him when he disobeyed,
And stopped when he was good.

It soon began to dawn on me
He wasn't very bright,
Because when he was twenty-three
He couldn't read or wrtie.

shall we do?' his parents sob.
'The boy has got the vapors!
He couldn't even get a job
Delivering the papers!'

'Ah-ha' I said, 'this little clot
Could be a politician.'
'Nanny,' he cried, 'Oh Nanny, what
A super proposition!'

'Okay,' I said, 'let's learn and note
the art of politics.
Let's teach you how to miss the boat
And how to drop some bricks,
And how to win the people's vote
And lots of other tricks.

Let's learn to make a speech a day
Upon the T.V. screen,
In which you never never say
Exactly what you mean.
And most important, by the way,
Is not to let your teeth decay,
And keep your fingers clean.'

And now that I am eighty-nine,
It's too late to repent.
The fault was mine the little swine
became the President.

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