Friday, 6 January 2012
Hooptedoodle #40 - The Maxims of Ernie's Dad
Now this really is a silly one. I had another go at trying to hear what Napoleon's last words are in the Christian Clavier film, and I still can't make it out. For a moment I thought how weird it would be if he said "Rosebud", and then I remembered Ernie's dad. The connection is, at best, tenuous - all right - there is no connection - it's just something to do with the humour implicit in trying to find deep philosophical meaning in something which is actually meaningless. Analysts of Beatles' lyrics used to excel in this field.
My old friend Ernie - alas no longer with us - was Welsh, and his dad was a fearsome ex-miner with a devotion to Chapel and to strong drink. When Ernie left home at 16 to become a naval cadet, his father made one of the longest speeches of his life. He said, "Always remember to trust in the Lord, Ernie, and never forget that what you keep in your pocket will strike no sparks".
Ernie promised that he would remember it, and for years afterwards he wondered what on earth it meant. When his dad became old and infirm and went into a nursing home, Ernie went to visit him, and decided to ask him about it. His dad said, "Did I say that? Can't remember anything about it - it makes no sense at all to me", and the subject was never mentioned again. Having fretted about it for years, Ernie was understandably disappointed.
If you were hoping that, in spite of everything, there might be some point to this story, you have my apologies.