By Anthony Deyal
Elvis Presley sang “Home Is Where The Heart Is” and, sentimentally speaking, it makes sense, but being confined to barracks for the past few days, even though voluntary, I wish that I had a detachable heart that I could leave at home while I go out for a bit. Of course, with the Trinidad and Tobago government demanding that we stay home, I would need a really good pacemaker to outrun the police and soldiers, some of whom have already given a homeless man a bottle of rum to drink and then forced him, at the threat of death, to try to outrun the vehicle in which they were comfortably ensconced.
The good thing about being home with your wife or husband is, for some people, a relief of sorts. There are fewer surprises. For instance, take the case of Jackson who came home early and saw a stranger with his head buried in Mrs. Jackson’s bosom. “What the hell are you doing?” Jackson asked. What we call in Trinidad, the “horner-man”, replied smoothly, “I’m listening to music.” Jackson said angrily, “Let me listen.” After a very short while he shouted, “I don’t hear any damn music.” “Of course not,” said the stranger, “You’re not plugged in!” These days with all the information coming at you from multiple sources, staying plugged in is easy but you might lack the element of surprise.
Mr Thomas returning to his Port-of-Spain home from a business trip was surprised to find his wife in bed with a strange man. Both were nude. He was very angry and was intent on killing the man. His wife begged, “Wait, darling, you know that car I told you I won in the raffle, well this man gave it to me. Remember the holiday we had in Miami, well this man paid for it. And our son didn’t get a scholarship like I told you, this man is paying his university fees.” The husband then shouted, “It’s cold in here. You better cover him up before he catch pneumonia.”
Clearly, by forcing us to stay home, COVID-19 is saving us from our own ignorance and from unpleasant surprises. Still, that is not a certainty. Larry answered the bedside phone in the middle of the night, grabbing it before his wife could get it. He heard a man’s voice asking if the coast was clear. “Hell, man,” he shouted, “how should I know? The sea is about fifty miles from here.” There is the relatively well-off couple who began worrying that if the self-isolation continued and they were stuck in the house for another few weeks they would run out of cash. “If you learn to cook,” the husband suggested, “we can fire the maid.” The wife replied spiritedly, “If you learn to make love, we can even fire the chauffeur.”
This week, consistent with my intention to spread the jokes and not the virus, I have a longish one that is something like Sparrow’s Calypso, “Lying Excuses” but with a twist. The wife came home early and found her husband in their bedroom making love to a very attractive young woman. She was upset. “I’m leaving you,” she shouted. “I want a divorce right away.” The husband begged, “At least let me explain what happened.” “Go ahead”, she sobbed, “but they’ll be the last words you’ll ever say to me!” The husband began, “Well, I was getting into the car to drive home and this young lady here asked me for a lift.
She looked so down and out, and defenceless, that I took pity on her, and let her into the car. I noticed that she was very thin, not well dressed, and very dirty. She told me that she hadn’t eaten for three days. So, in my compassion, I brought her home and warmed up the enchiladas I made for you last night, the ones you wouldn’t eat because you’re afraid you’ll put on weight. The poor thing devoured them in moments. Since she needed a good clean-up, I suggested a shower, and while she was doing that, I noticed her clothes were dirty and full of holes, so I threw them away. Then, as she needed clothes, I gave her the designer jeans that you have had for a few years, but don’t wear, because you say they are too tight.
“I also gave her the underwear that was your anniversary present, which you don’t wear, because I don’t have good taste. I found the sexy blouse my sister gave you for Christmas that you don’t wear, just to annoy her, and I also donated those boots you bought at the expensive boutique and don’t wear, because someone at work has a pair the same.’ The husband took a quick breath and continued, “She was so grateful for my understanding and help, that as I walked her to the door, she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘Please, do you have anything else that your wife doesn’t use?’”
My favourite though is an old story from Vaudeville days about the devout farmer who lived in a little country village and had three beautiful daughters he named Faith, Hope, and Charity. Things were slow in the village and Faith left for the big city where she soon got a job with the Ziegfeld show and it was not long after she was wearing very expensive jewellery, riding around in a Rolls Royce and living lavishly.
Faith told Hope about the city life and soon Hope joined her and it was not long before she too was enjoying a luxurious life. Then they got a letter from little sister Charity who said she wanted to come to the big city to pay her sisters a visit. When the train came in, Charity got off, dripping in furs and jewels and wearing a Parisian dress. Although she announced that she was planning to stay just a week, she had four maids with her, sixteen suitcases and twelve carry on bags. The moral of the story is that Charity begins at home.
*Tony Deyal was last seen saying that finally, the government has found a way to keep its downtown offices clean. They are allowing public servants to work from home.