Pin the tail on the donkey

I don’t listen to Boris Johnson at the best of times nor, as it happens, the worst of times (ie the times we are in now, although apparently things are getting better).

But my ears pricked up when I heard him talking about guacamole in his broadcast yesterday.

Guacamole? What on earth was he on about? And shouldn’t he be pronouncing it gwa-ka-MOH-leh or even wa-ka-MOH-leh? As any fule kno.

If you listen to his speeches, you could be forgiven for thinking our prime minister models himself on the Nigel Molesworth books.

This is Fotherington-Thomas, as narrated by Mr Johnson.

And then, this morning, I realised our esteemed leader hadn’t been talking about a Mexican avocado-based dip at all.

Johnson was saying whack-a-mole. It seems it’s his latest sound biting catchphrase which defines his approach to tackling local coronavirus spikes, as in the case of Leicester which is staying in lockdown this week.

I’d never heard of the expression whack-a-mole. But then I don’t have a croquet lawn.

I looked it up and it’s an arcade game invented in Japan. Who knew? (Probably everyone – I’ve led a very sheltered life. Seeing how whack-a-mole is trending on Twitter, just like ducks we have all been hooked And that’s the glory of a soundbite phrase. It’s an ear worm that stays in your head, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing and therefore a brilliant phrase because you can’t think of anything else.)

The allusion to a poor blind creature being whacked over the head was probably invented by a parliamentary adviser ridiculed for going out in his car for the day to test his eyesight. Take that, people.

Now, if Johnson had said splat-the-rat it would have been a much a better use of imagery. Rats are horrid, moles are sweet (unless they’re destroying the aforementioned croquet lawn or hollowing out the ha-ha). Splatting a rat is more beneficial to the community than whacking a dear little mole out of its blind and velvety existence.

But maybe the rat analogy is too close to home. There are a lot of them about.

I’m confused. Still, I’m looking forward to when all this is over and we can have a national game of pin the tail on the donkey instead of running around playing blind man’s buff.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

Author: Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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