Thursday, May 3, 2012
This English spy who was curious about the niceties of obscure knots and who was also it seems a cycling enthusiast (a-ha) has been famously described as being like a "Swiss clock". That is meant to indicate his punctuality I assume. Not his resemblance to a clock. I wonder, will somebody close to me come up with a colourful metaphor about me when I am found dead and bound in a duffelbag?
No matter. When I first heard the "Swiss clock" line on the radio I thought for sure they were going to say, "Now he is more like a Swiss cheese."
They didn't say it, and this rather elementary and yet highly pleasing joke has been siting there now for weeks waiting to be claimed.
This is me formally claiming it. I am not sure what the satire community has been up to that they missed this delightful yet essentially innocent joke. Perhaps that was the trouble: it was too innocent. They were too distracted by the possibilities of sexual jokes about bondage. They were too busy wracking their brains thinking of jokes about sex. Satirists love blue material. They love to advertise to the world that against extraordinary odds and obvious physical shortcomings they have a throughgoing familiarity with the obscuranta of the boudoir. Perhaps they should think more about innocent things and less about lascivious, salacious stuff because mark me when I say that God hath a pickaxe for the vile crawling snake that crawls on its belly in low places.
Although I suppose that they might not have made the joke because it doesn't strictly make sense. Commercial satirists are wary of humour that doesn't make obvious sense. That's why they always make jokes about sex. Any fucking moron gets a joke about sex.
People who have been shot with a machine-gun are more apt to be compared to Swiss cheese than people who have been squeezed into a duffel-bag and "expired of natural causes".
Like you might say, "You lousy fink, called the fuzz on me, now you're so full of lead you look like a Swiss cheese."
That could be confusing too, since there are not customarily lead deposits in Swiss cheese either, unless it is some sort of Williamsburg artisanal gimmick. Cheese with bits of lead in it with a gold-leaf garnish and a truffle foam.
Of course I took all this into account when I made the joke and again when I claimed the joke legally. My thinking is that Swiss cheese, like all cheeses, has a rich and revolting aroma, as the corpse of the dead English spy had. Also Swiss cheese has holes in it and the dead English spy presumably had holes in his corpse because he had started to decompose.
Some of my critics might argue that the decomposition process does not entail the appearance of holes in the corpse. My critics might cite, in their defence, the quite beautifully well-preserved corpses dug out of peat bogs in Scandanavia. These were people who died in the Neolithic era! and they do not have holes in them.
Yes, but those corpses are, for one thing, not typical as corpses. They are an anomaly. That is why they are so infinitely interesting to us. That is why we love to read books about Sutton Hoo. The average corpse, however, will no doubt be leaking pus from sores and the flies and worms will have infiltrated his outer dermis using their drill-like appendages and will have diligently forged many little wormholes and nooks and crannies into his ripening disgusting flesh.
In invoking this imagery of grotesque corpse violation, of the network of holes bored into the corpse's flesh by industrious insects, I apologise of course to the close female friends of the corpse. Of the spy. Neither of these women was apparently his girlfriend, but that is hardly worth noting. He was one of those men whose close friends are all women. That is all. I don't know why I even mention it. I do not say this fact with a crafty smirk on my face and a wink "for the knowing ones".
It is furthermore reported that he had a great fondness for the acquisition of women's clothing, and this eccentric fetisch is regretably the fact that has distracted the satirists from the better joke to be had.
It is to be noted, simply in passing, that transvestism and homosexuality are not by any means one and the same. Apparently there are a number of transvestites who fancy women. Their ways are mysterious and not easily fathomed. I consider these men both brave and unusual.
My critics might also point out rather pedantically that Swiss cheeses are not famous either for their odour or for their rottenness, unlike say a blue cheese which is in fact in a stage of decay for all to see, even while it sits on your plate all innocent-seeming. I am speaking now about a Stilton or a Gorgonzola. I will concede that this might have been a more apt comparison - that in death he (THE DEAD ENGLISH SPY) more closely resembled a Gorgonzola cheese - but had I said that in my joke, it crucially would not have had any comic resonance with the line about the Swiss clock.
"He was like a Swiss clock. Now he is like some Gorgonzola cheese." No - it can't be done. And it needn't be done. It shan't be done.
There must be lots of Swiss cheeses after all. There might be some Swiss blue cheeses that have holes in them even.
After all what do they do in Switzerland all day.
To summarise: Solely in the interests of the public reception my joke, and I cannot stress those words enough, it is to be regretted that the English spy was not shot multiple times with a machine gun before he was placed (or crawled into) his duffel-bag.
"There's bread in the oven and cheese on the shelf,
So if you want anymore you can sing it yourself."