Essay: Jeeves and Ehud O.

With apologies to P. G. Wodehouse.

2612-avner (photo credit: Pipi Fainburg)
(photo credit: Pipi Fainburg)
Ehud O. was lying in bed after a rather depressing night, unsettled at the prospect of what the morning's papers might be saying about him, when Jeeves glided obsequiously into the room. "What's news, Jeeves?" "Good morning, sir." "The usual nasty headlines, I suppose." "Nasty weather outside, sir. Might I suggest the brown suit today? Something about this gray morn that suggests brown." "Hand me those papers! What are the beasts accusing me of today? Look at this! Ha'aretz doesn't have a single decent word to say about me. It's not enough that I've resigned - I'm also supposed to step down. What rubbish!" "If I may say so, sir, the last government that found favor in the eyes of the editorial staff of Ha'aretz was the rule of the British Mandate." "AND LOOK at this editorial in The Jerusalem Post. It accuses me of abusing my authority - running the country as I wish until a new prime minister is elected. Chutzpa! And here's a letter actually saying I should apologize." "It is a good rule in life never to apologize, sir. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take mean advantage of them." "It's enough to make one throw up." "Indeed, sir. And it's also a good rule never to open a newspaper before orange juice, and if the news is particularly scandalous concerning one's own person, never before coffee." "The trouble is that when you become prime minister you're fair game for all the press. They will take something you say today, dig up something to the contrary you said yesterday, and then claim you are a liar." "Are they claiming that about you, sir?" "Claiming it? They're proving it!" "Tut, tut! The trouble is that a liar isn't believed even when he's telling the truth - is that not so, sir?" "Of course it is. And since a politician hardly ever believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him." "And you find that agreeable, sir?" "My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me." "I see your point, sir." "And it's my own ministers who are the real villains, constantly trying to take pot shots at me, trying to shoot me down." "I take that to mean in the sense of a bird shoot, sir. The fascination of shooting as a sport depends wholly upon whether you are on the right or wrong end of the gun. In this instance I take it you are on the wrong end." "Jeeves, to tell you the truth, I simply can't trust a soul." "WELL, IF I may say so, sir, to find a man's true character one has to play golf with him. Golf is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well." "As do you, Jeeves, as do you. And you know me well enough to know that I've never played by the rules. I would never have become prime minister had I done so. In politics all that matters is survival and defeating one's enemies!" "Indeed! As the Bard suggests, 'Ripeness is all.'" "Quite right! And who knows better than you that I have many faults, but being wrong is not one of them. Consider what I've done in these last few weeks, just as I'm about to pack up. Nobody else would have dared do what I've done." "And what is that, sir?" "OFFER THE Syrians and the Palestinians almost everything they want. It takes guts to take such risks." "No noble thing can be done without risks, but truth to tell, sir, if I may be so bold, you were not always so generous to your foes as you are now. There was a time in government when your voice did ring with the earnestness of a politician determined to say as little as possible." "That's true! And do you know why? Because some people had the audacity to think I was capable of behaving above the law; suspicious of my actions, questioning my beliefs." "Well, if I may say so sir, it doesn't really matter what you believe, just so long as you are sincere." "Well said. Who taught you that, Jeeves?" "Your predecessor, sir."