I have a certain amount of sympathy for the Portuguese policeman who was bitten by a member of the mayor’s office, but not enough to sacrifice a chicken on his behalf. The mayor’s aide was clearly the policeman’s social superior, so one can understand his rage at being addressed with the familiar pronoun. That said, no amount of plebeian impudence can justify sinking your teeth into people. A man of position should respond to such provocations with patrician hauteur.
In all my years in the circus, I was never once bitten by a human. I would like to think it was because I treated people with courtesy, but in truth it was probably the fear of getting a mouthful of fur that deterred the maniacs. In any large crowd of humans, there are bound to be assorted yahoos who think that biting a gorilla might win them fame and the love of beautiful women. Fortunately, the prospect of having to hawk out hairs from the back of the throat was too vexatious for them to countenance.
The nearest thing to getting bitten I experienced happened after a show in Winchester, when I was escorting my friend Lady Chuffington to her Bentley. From close behind, I heard a frantic woman utter the following words:
“I want to make you my beard, you big hairy hulk!”
Before I could turn round, she had buried her chin in the small of my back and was massaging vigorously. I have to admit it didn’t feel too bad, and had I been unaccompanied I might have allowed her to continue; but I obviously couldn’t let her carry on like that in full view of her ladyship, who would have been scandalised by the sight of a strange woman being afforded such liberties on my person. So I shook the woman off and told her to compose herself, while Lady Chuffington gave her a moisturising wipe for her flushed face.
After calming down and attending to her appearance, the woman began to explain herself. It turned out that she was a kick-boxing champion who had been enthralled by my performance in the ring and wanted to show her appreciation in a tangible way.
“I knew what I was doing was crazy but I just couldn’t help myself,” she said.
“I quite understand,” I replied. “After attending to her ladyship, I shall escort you to my trailer and give you a souvenir.”
It goes without saying that I did not invite her to serve me with further chin-to-back stimulation. Such things are only tolerable in the heat of the moment, and a gorilla does not press his advantage with an infatuated woman.
Perhaps this incident sheds light on the behaviour of the mayor’s aide in Portugal. The rational part of his brain must have known that biting a policeman was an act of grotesque depravity, but such inhibitions were overridden by a powerful surge of emotion. I suspect that many of the world’s problems are caused by over-excitement.
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