Several years ago I was listening to news on public radio when I heard something that raised my spirits for a very long time. It was a report about some bit of foreign affairs involving our respectable brethren, the Brits. I love the Brits. Always have. They are sillier and stuffier than us at the same time, and simultaneously classier and more uncouth. And much better cricketers. Anyway, when you come to know the British like I do (through study of Monty Python and the Beatles discography) you become very adept at identifying the true essence of British-ness. Which is exactly what gave me such a thrill when the reporter on the news mentioned the British Foreign Secretary at the time by name. The man’s name was Jack Straw.
No need to look him up, this is almost certainly what Jack Straw looks like
It’s really a profound pleasure to happen upon a fact like this, one that represents a perfect harmony between what is and what ought to be. If we all got in a room and read Oliver Twist for two weeks, had a sporting Polo match against the 15th King’s Hussars at Eton, refrained from brushing our teeth for several months, and then we decided to come up with the best possible name for a British Foreign Secretary, I am pretty sure it would come down to a choice Archibald St. James-Smythington and Jack Straw. But we’d have to go with Jack Straw. Jack Straw is perfection. I never got to know the man during his tenure, but it’s clear he comes from humble beginnings and found success only due to the provident intercession of a mysterious benefactor, and that he always wears a bowler hat, which is occasionally knocked off by the odd snowball thrown by street urchins who all have actual soot smeared on one cheek. I loved Jack Straw.
Not long after that, the Americans upped the stakes. I heard about the quarterback of the Texas Longhorns. He’s still there today, and, given his celebrity, people are somehow able to mention his name without sitting down to ponder the miracle of that name. But the name remains astonishingly perfect. Yes, it’s Colt McCoy. Colt McCoy is the quarterback for the Texas Longhorns. I can’t count the times I have given thanks for the fact that Colt McCoy is the quarterback for the Texas Longhorns, doing exactly what he was sent to this earth to do. If he’d been born 150 years ago, there would have been a number of good career options for Colt McCoy, most of which would have involved slinging, russling, and spittoons. But in this moment, there is nothing else on earth worthy of that man, and that name.
So why am I bringing this up now? Because those of us who find transcendence in these perfect convergences have now received yet another blessing, better than Jack Straw, better even than Colt McCoy. And predictably, the blessing comes by way of Merrie Olde England again. I was listening to the radio again this weekend when someone mentioned in passing the current British Finance Minister. What? What was that name again? Seriously? Alistair Darling? Yep. Alistair Darling. The Brits have named their finance minister Alistair Darling. “After heated caucus meetings, Labour have sallied against the Brown coalition government demanding the appointment of new Finance Minister Alistair Darling. Darling, the Earl of Lortoncestershire and son of St. Patrick and Mary Poppins, was originally viewed as something of a git, but after his mates in the House of Lords shouted down the ponces on the other side, everyone was knackered, and the nutter got the post. ‘Brilliant!’ said Darling.”
Alistair Darling, after his appointment to the ministry
There’s just nothing you can do to compete with Alistair Darling. We’d have to elect someone named Sam Yankee Washington to the presidency. Maaaaybe we could fight them to a draw if we elected Colt McCoy, but we’d be the underdogs.
Anyway, hats off to the Brits. They are just killing it right now.
UPDATE: Astute reader Elizabeth tracked down Mr. Straw’s bio for us. Amazingly, and awesomely, Mr. Straw enjoys “walking, music, cooking puddings, and supporting Blackburn Rovers.” That’s right. Cooking puddings.