Off the Agenda

by Robert Winter

I have a recurring vision:

I'm having tea with a rather stuffy collection of Englishmen, with the conversation based tangentially on the latest scandal-sheet gossip about the doings of the roya1 family.   Nobody claims to really believe what's been printed;  but then again, nobody can talk about much of anything else.

Outside the window, a large ape appears. 

I try to convey this information to the other people in the room, but I'm not allowed to get any farther than "Excuse me, but..." or "You, know, if you look over your shoulder..." before the conversation is steered with polite but intense determination back to the latest allegation of some minor royal spat or momentary lapse in discretion.

The ape comes closer and peers inquisitively through the window at the house's occupants.   He puts his face up to the glass and begins to mug and stroke his face and spread his lips in a toothy mock grin.  My efforts to point out what 's happening continue to be ineffectual.

"Well, if you want my opinion, she needn't have..." the conversation drones on.

This vision doesn't come to me in my sleep.  I have it when I try to convey an observation or idea through the communication system of this, the Media Age.


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