I once worked for a nephew of the king of Bhutan.
This is true. I didn’t make it up.
His name was Tong Au and he was a genius, though he was also an idiot. Tong was living proof of the multiple-intelligence theory. He had a diploma from Imperial College, a school so posh it doesn’t bother with Ph.Ds, a bit like the way surgeons drop the title Doctor.
Tong had a gold, open-top Rolls-Royce that he used to drive to Monaco where he had an apartment. He was about five-foot four inches tall, and at what he did, he had no equal. Tong could work out the most complex problems known to man in his head while simultaneously talking utter shite.
He was a millionaire when it was really something to be a millionaire.
He always wore brilliant white shirts and a tie from some cricket club.
Tong was a genius and an idiot at the same time. A high-functioning idiot-savant. He had a perfect grasp of the English language but no understanding of idiom, and though he was always jolly and laughing, he had no sense of humour whatever.
He was, in many ways, as we used to call him, The Automatong.
On the phone: Au. The name is Au!! A for Apple. U for Uncle!! Au!!!
However, he had one marvellous gift outside of his professional area, and that was entirely thanks to his lack of humour. Tong had the gift of the apt mixed metaphor.
I know a woman who gets things wrong, and yet they’re still right. She talks about her enstrangled husband.
She calls militant environmentalists Ego worriers.
Albert Reynolds also had a gift for the mixed metaphor but his efforts were simply absurd and lacked the internal consistency of the true master: What Ireland needs now is razor-edged salesmen at the coal-face to bring home the bacon.
Tong’s gift was greater. Tong’s utterances made a weird kind of sense.
In Tong’s world, anything questionable, doubtful or dangerous was Hairy.
That guy so hairy. It all looking very hairy.
We skating on hairy ice.
Genius. We all sniggered and I scribbled it into the Great Book of Tong.
That guy, he so hairy, I don’t trust him with a barge-pole.
In many ways, Tong was a likeable guy, and he was right to complain about the money coming in grips and grabs. After all, he was paying the wages.
I heard the royal family of Bhutan was wiped out a few years ago in a crazed gun attack by a trusted insider, and I hope Tong survived, but I can just imagine his reaction.
Oh, that guy so hairy. He mislead us completely up the garden spout.