Whimsical Post #9: Ways to make a telling exit

Many years ago, a wise man gave me valauable advice. “Always know how to get out of Dodge City”, he told me and hesitated…. “But it is more important to always know when to get out of Dodge City.” I had almost forgotten this when some incidents in the dreary December of annus horibilis 2009 brought it back to my mind. And as always it started a veritable chain reaction in my mind…. the values of making an exit – and in a marked manner – when your prestige is at the highest and you are secure, rather than lingering on till the time when premptorily being told to exit. And there is always the peril of the hasty and involuntary exit. As Shakespeare put it – in the form of a stage direction: Exit, pursued by a Bear………. Unfortunately, the Bard of Avon does not reveal what happend next.

However, I again get that familar feeling that I am digressing form what I wanted to convey. This was how to make to make an exit in a telling manner. The English language has a very effective verb to describe it – flounce, used in an intransitive way.  I will cite three cases in support.

The first concerns Greek philosopher Pyrrho of Elis  (c.360 BC – c. 270 BC), credited as being the first Skeptic philosopher. The philosophy can be simplly understood that you cannot believe anything, even if it is before you in all its imposing majesty or otherwise. Even we can’t believe thatwe cant’s believe anything. That is why Pyrrho did not write any books, reasoning no one would read them. He went all through his life following his own philosophy, not carrying if he was walking off imaginary cliffs, into imaginary chariots and the like… with a band of devoted friends preventing such occurences.  (They evidently seem to have done a good job considering what a long life he seem to have lived).

However, as a story goes….. Pyrrho was once engaged in a intense discussion with members of a rival school. As they proved stout in their obduracy, he – probably incensed – leapt, fully clothed, into the (illusory?) river nearby and swam powerfully away……

The second profound exit was the brainchild of an ingenious Scotch whisky distiller, in the last decades of the 19th century. I don’t recall the name and would not like to, in case the firm is still in operation and I inadvertently engage in advertising and promoting it. However, he used to hire a group of actors – aristocratic looking men (the sort described by the glorious English word toffs) and glamourous women, who used to go to premier restaurants not stocking the distiller’s brand and demand it particularly. On being told by shame-faced waiters or assistant managers it was not available, they used to cry out in horror: “What No (THAT Brand). Then we won’t stay” and walk off in a huff, or more better, flounce off haughtily with the eyes of a crowd of astonished diners on them…….

The third was a modern day philosopher, whose name again escapes me. Teaching at a prestigious university in London in the 1950s, he used to end every lesson by jumping out of the window (fortunately, the classroom was on the gound floor), leap onto its motorcycle and ride noisily away…….

(I remember Col Flagg attempted the same in an episode of M*A*S*H 4077, after asking everyone to close his eyes for his exist as at the close of any mission, no one could see him leave. When Hawkeye and B.J. demurred, he said he would’nt leave, at which their eyelids rapidly descended….. Well, Col Flagg or Col ‘Wind’ as he he termed himself did not come to a particular felicitous outcome…. but let it be for now. Will tell it sometimes else.


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