Tom and Jerry, and Spike whose puppy has everything done for him

Author, Gawaya Tegulle. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The little puppy has no story of his own; all he can talk about is his father.   

I just noticed that, like any keen Kampalan who lives in Ntinda that a bungalow that for many years, graced the intersection of Ntinda-Kisaasi and Wamala roads, has been razed down. No big deal really, except that I have some nice memories of the former “Silent Corner Inn”, because before it was turned into an inn, it was actually my residence.

I had a bit of trouble there a little over two decades ago. My wife was not happy that I stayed in the living room till very late at night; and while there, I could be heard laughing excitedly. No wife worth her salt, anywhere in the world would be happy with such a scenario. One night my wife couldn’t take it any longer; she stormed the living room.

She was surprised to find that I was not on phone, talking to some side chick. The phone was in fact, in the bedroom. There was her husband, sunken in a sofa, cup of porridge in hand, hair let down, legs on a stool, intently watching the Tom and Jerry Cartoon on Boomerang, and laughing heartily.

This excellent cartoon was created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (bless their souls) in 1940 and focuses on the rivalry between Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse. There is actually another character, Spike, a massive bulldog who, with an iron fist, runs the little world they stay in. Any dream with Spike in it…is called a nightmare in English.

His forefather, in the dim, distant past, must have been the official canine of either Nazi icon Adolph Hitler or the Fascism kingpin Benito Mussolini; because Spike is a military dictator par excellence! Once in a while, a kind breeze blows a good mood his way; and you see him all smiley and charming. But when the citizens, Tom and Jerry try to enjoy any kind of freedom, Spike reads them the riot act and clamps down upon them. Viciously.

Even the felines in the neighbourhood live in fear of Spike who has no qualms going after his little neighbours at the slightest excuse; most times just to prove he’s boss. 

There are several things going for Spike; one of them is that you will never catch him taking alcohol; he is a complete teetotaller. Always sober and sharp, which has helped him stay in control for long, ruling the little world by sheer brute force.

But by the time of the cartoon series teeing off, Spike is clearly old and tired. Most of the time he is fast asleep on the job. The next person in line is his son – an insolent, whiny and wimpy, ill-mannered and scatterbrained puppy. 

Unlike Spike who is the tried and trusted quintessential bulldog with several fights under his belt, his little fellow can never be caught at the scene of a real fight of any kind. He makes lots of noise – but safely away from the battlefield.

The old dog Spike has a track record; he has been around for a long time. But even the finest of dancers finally leaves the floor, and Spike seems worried that his little fellow is too rush, erratic, esoteric and unpredictable. An accident waiting to happen; a litany of one mess after another! 

The little puppy has no story of his own; all he can talk about is his father. “My father did this, my father did that; my father will come for you, my father…what-what-what…”

Spike is the sun, but the little puppy is just a moon; which can only shine because it reflects the light generated by the sun. Take the sun away, and the moon will be absolutely ordinary and nothing. Spike, therefore, tries his best to make his son look good and great, quietly manipulating events, doing the donkey work himself and then allowing the little puppy to show up to claim victory, so that he appears a hero, fit to wear his father’s shoes. 

Thank God for his father! The citizens – Tom and Jerry – could have Spike’s boy for dinner any time they choose - he does not have the capacity to match their wit. But they are afraid of his father. As long as Spike is around town, his boy is untouchable.

Oh, my wife bought a TV set for the bedroom, so we could watch Tom and Jerry…and laugh together.

Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda | [email protected]