Pagett, MP

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British military historian John Keegan dearly loves the United States, and has visited the country many times.  However, he thinks we have an appalling climate in the summer, especially the hot, muggy summers of the Midwest which he experienced first hand on his initial trip here in the fifties.  He has compared the US climate in the summer in the Midwest unfavorably to the climate in summer of much of India.  Having endured the current heat wave in Central Illinois for many weeks, the worst since the great drought of 1988, I am inclined to agree with him.  Perhaps it is my Newfoundland blood, but I have always been fond of cold weather and despised hot weather.  In tribute to the agony inducing qualities of heat, I submit this poem by Rudyard Kipling.  With this poem, no commentary by me is necessary!

The toad beneath the harrow knows

 Exactly where each tooth-point goes.

The butterfly upon the road

Preaches contentment to that toad.

Pagett, M.P., was a liar, and a fluent liar therewith

He spoke of the heat of India as the “Asian Solar Myth”;

 Came on a four months’ visit, to “study the East,” in November,

 And I got him to sign an agreement vowing to stay till September.

March came in with the koil.  Pagett was cool and gay,

Called me a “bloated Brahmin,” talked of my “princely pay.”

March went out with the roses. “Where is your heat?” said he.

 “Coming,” said I to Pagett, “Skittles!” said Pagett, M.P.

April began with the punkah, coolies, and prickly-heat, -

 Pagett was dear to mosquitoes, sandflies found him a treat.

 He grew speckled and mumpy-hammered, I grieve to say,

 Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.

May set in with a dust-storm, – Pagett went down with the sun.

 All the delights of the season tickled him one by one.

 Imprimis – ten day’s “liver” – due to his drinking beer;

 Later, a dose of fever – slight, but he called it severe.

Dysent’ry touched him in June, after the Chota Bursat –

Lowered his portly person – made him yearn to depart.

He didn’t call me a “Brahmin,” or “bloated,” or “overpaid,”

 But seemed to think it a wonder that any one stayed.

July was a trifle unhealthy, – Pagett was ill with fear.

 ‘Called it the “Cholera Morbus,” hinted that life was dear.

 He babbled of “Eastern Exile,” and mentioned his home with tears;

 But I haven’t seen my children for close upon seven years.

We reached a hundred and twenty once in the Court at noon,

 (I’ve mentioned Pagett was portly) Pagett, went off in a swoon.

 That was an end to the business; Pagett, the perjured, fled

With a practical, working knowledge of “Solar Myths” in his head.

And I laughed as I drove from the station, but the mirth died out on my lips

 As I thought of the fools like Pagett who write of their “Eastern trips,”

And the sneers of the travelled idiots who duly misgovern the land,

And I prayed to the Lord to deliver another one into my hand.

 

10 Responses to Pagett, MP

  • “mumpy-hammered”

    I would love to be abe to use this adjective, but finding its meaning is difficult. Is it “uneven,” as in the weathered nose of an old seaman?

  • Pagett was dear to mosquitoes, sandflies found him a treat.
    He grew speckled and mumpy-hammered, I grieve to say,
    Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.

    As in those old movies set in the tropics where there is only a single fan running, which turns slower the more oppresive the heat . The Indian summer is a killer. My solar myths dissipated when I took a train trip across central India one June, it felt like the train was passing through an endless oven, an antechamber of hell, that the only recourse was to pass out; After that experience I had neveragain begrudged the senors their siestas. And the damned mosquitoes, if only they’ll suck your blood without all that buzzinng in the ears. Defy the Sun!!/a>.

    Airconditioning is the greatest invention… Lee Kuan Yew

  • I have long sung the praises of modern air-conditioning Ivan!

  • Old Man Lee insisted that all government offices in Singapore be airconditioned and efficient from the earliest days, Donald – quite unlike in my native India where till the early 2000s it was always Jarndyce and Jarndyce made worse by the intolerable heat.

  • It says, “He grew speckled and mumpy — [he] hammered, I grieve to say,
    Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.”

  • I respectfully disagree with Mr. McClarey.

    I do not scrape heat and humidity from my car windshield.
    I do not shovel heat and humidity from my driveway.
    I am not encumbered with a coat, a hat, gloves and a scarf when there is heat and humidity.
    I cannot enjoy wading in the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania in bitter cold and snow. I cannot get there in the snow of the Alleghenies.

    January and February are the year end time in insurance accounting. I loathe it, having done if for almost 20 years, and thanks to the NAIC Model Act, it is worse than it used to be.

    Air conditioning, swimming pools, the wading pool near PNC Park, all are available to my family in the summer. Winter is full of cold weather, short days and too much office work.

  • “I do not scrape heat and humidity from my car windshield.”

    True. You merely enter a car with the air of a blast furnace until the AC kicks in and makes driving bearable.

    “I do not shovel heat and humidity from my driveway.”

    As opposed to mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, etc, in tropical heat while coming up close and personal with a large part of the insect kingdom.

    “I am not encumbered with a coat, a hat, gloves and a scarf when there is heat and humidity.”

    Nope, one is merely arrayed in endless sweat and exhaustion while struggling to get from point A to point B in endless blazing heat and suffocating humidity.

    “I cannot enjoy wading in the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania in bitter cold and snow.”

    Ice fishing and ice skating has its charms for those of us who appreciate the bracing weather of winter.

    “January and February are the year end time in insurance accounting.”

    You have me there.

    Air conditioning, swimming pools, the wading pool near PNC Park, all are available to my family in the summer. Winter is full of cold weather, short days and too much office work.”

    Hot chocolate, sweaters and furnaces all recharge us after we engage in winter sports. The sleeping in a warm bed after a great winter’s day can’t be beat.

  • “I do not scrape heat and humidity from my car windshield.”

    True. You merely enter a car with the air of a blast furnace until the AC kicks in and makes driving bearable.

    In winter, you are hit with another blast of ice cold air and shiver until the car engine warms up.

    “I do not shovel heat and humidity from my driveway.”

    As opposed to mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, etc, in tropical heat while coming up close and personal with a large part of the insect kingdom.

    Mowing the yard gives me a nice tan – as long as I remember to use sunblock the first time it gets warm. Pulling weeds and trimming bushes lets me work up a sweat without having to go to the gym – which, for me, is important since the señora and I have a four year old boy and a seven month old baby.

    Summer gives us flowers and fresh local farm grown fruit and vegetables. Summer provides the opportunity to have one’s own vegetable garden. Did I enjoy working in the massive garden my dad planted for years? Not at the time. But, we did enjoy the corn, cucumbers and tomatoes. Not to mention the peaches, pears, plums and apples that we usually had in abundance. Those apple trees provided all the apples and then some for my grandmother to bake pies we enjoyed until the next summer.

    Oh, I almost forgot – after twenty years of losing, baseball is fun again in Western Pennsylvania.

    “I am not encumbered with a coat, a hat, gloves and a scarf when there is heat and humidity.”

    Nope, one is merely arrayed in endless sweat and exhaustion while struggling to get from point A to point B in endless blazing heat and suffocating humidity.

    You forgot to mention the slush slop that gets tracked in everywhere. I take the Port Authority bus to work. Geez, there is nothing dirtier than one of those buses in the winter. Slush and salt on the floor and God knows how many viruses are circulating from coughs and sneezes.

    “I cannot enjoy wading in the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania in bitter cold and snow.”

    Ice fishing and ice skating has its charms for those of us who appreciate the bracing weather of winter.

    One of my regrets is that I did not learn to ice skate. Such is the once desolate life that was growing up in Portage County, Ohio. fortunately, ice hockey is very popular in Pittsburgh and there are several indoor rinks to choose from, as well as an outdoor rink in PPG Plaza. I do have skis, but no thanks to my job in insurance reporting, skiing is out of the realm of possibility.

    “January and February are the year end time in insurance accounting.”

    You have me there.

    I knew it.

    Air conditioning, swimming pools, the wading pool near PNC Park, all are available to my family in the summer. Winter is full of cold weather, short days and too much office work.”

    Hot chocolate, sweaters and furnaces all recharge us after we engage in winter sports. The sleeping in a warm bed after a great winter’s day can’t be beat.

    You are quite right there – until January 2nd. Then, winter is something to be endured.

    Sorry, Mr. McClarey, I had to argue…before baby Charles wakes up from his afternoon nap and wants to be fed, carried, played with and bathed.

  • Some men PF argue for fun and some argue for profit. I do it for both! :)

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