On Pickles And Pluck And Gumption

We wish to insert, into the subject’s mental and emotional innards, the qualities of gumption and pluck. For this purpose we resort to specially prepared pickles.

The first step is the preparation of the subject. A ravening hunger for pickles must be created and maintained. There are various methods, most of which involve prolonged starvation accompanied by the eventual provision of jars packed with pickles, and potable water. There are ethical questions to be dealt with, but these can be swept aside, in grand and foppish manner, by appealing to the greater good. Note that one must on all accounts avoid a situation where one is asked to define the greater good, or to say what it is greater than. If necessary, flee, scarper, or assume sudden cretinism.

Once the subject has been imbued with a desperate pickle craving, the pickles can be supplied. As stated, these must be specially prepared pickles, ones which impart gumption and pluck. So, actually, the first step is not the starvation of the subject but the preparation of the pickles. You have to have the pickles ready, for that moment when the subject is hammering their fists upon the skirting board or dado rail of the locked rumpus room, screeching for succour. At this point you must be ready to skip into the room, beaming and jolly, and bearing jars of pickles and a pot of potable water. It helps, too, to have an electrified pole, akin to a cattle prod, with which to zap the subject should he or she attempt to shove you out of the way and scamper from the room in search of unpickled foodstuffs. Usually the subject will be sufficiently weakened to make such shoving and scampering unlikely, but some subjects are wilier and more cunning than others. Wiliness and cunning are the characteristics we wish to expunge and replace by gumption and pluck.

What, then, must one do to the pickles? What indeed? It is not as if the ordinary common or garden pickle is somehow magically engumptioned or implucked, in and of itself. It is not. It is just a pickle. For our purposes, we must have recourse, as so often, to the wisdom of the ancients. More accurately, we must impart a modern twist to the wisdom of the ancients. The ancients, after all, did not have a ready supply of pickles in jars. They may have had certain items pickled in amphorae, yes, but that pickling process was probably undertaken for reasons other than the preparation of tasty and toothsome snacks. Bear in mind that we want the subject to shovel the pickles down their gob with unalloyed gusto, not to gag and become overwhelmed with nausea, as might happen if the pickles are of the kind favoured by the ancients. The ancients were uninterested in gumption and pluck, generally speaking, qualities which became valued later in history.

You will be pleased to learn that you need not remove the pickles from their jars. Simply align the jars in a row upon your counter, then cover them with a tablecloth or blanket. Do ensure that the tablecloth or blanket is freshly boiled and laundered and bears no trace of grime or grease or filth or minuscule creepy crawly life form. Then make passing gestures with one’s outstretched arms over the entableclothed or enblanketted line of pickle jars, palms downward, while intoning the following incantation in a low, ghoulish murmur:

“Spavin. Gecko. Distemper. Hod. Blackguard. O. O. O. Crusty. Bingle. Poop deck. Flan.”

Repeat hundreds of times until you see an eerie, almost invisible vapour – a piquant vapour – rising from the tablecloth or blanket. Then remove it, with one deft flick, revealing the pickle jars. They will look exactly the same as they did before you covered them, but if the wisdom of the ancients is to be trusted, they are now jars packed with pickles ready to be modified. It is a sobering thought that one could, if one were a malefactor, imbue the pickles with one or more of the seven deadly sins. Imagine the havoc one could unleash! But one does not, for one is working for the greater good, is one not?

Injecting, with a syringe, essence of gumption and pluck into the pickle jars is a simple enough matter which need not detain us here. Seal the tiny holes made in the jar lids by the syringe with special wax. Leave for half an hour, then turn all the jars upside down one by one to ensure that the waxen seals hold fast.

There is one further magick bit of flummery to enact before taking the jars to the subject imprisoned and starving in the rumpus room. Obtain an infant and gently tap each pickle jar against its fontanelle, while you imitate the song of the wheatear.

When you have taken the jars and the potable water into the rumpus room, make a quick exit and lock the door again. If you press your ear against the door you should, if all goes well, hear the subject unscrewing the lids from the jars and gobbling down the pickles and glugging the potable water. In no circumstances should you unlock the door just yet. Go for a stroll in a scented garden for the blind, making at least three circuits of the path. When you return, fling open the rumpus room door and bid the subject to go forth, with gumption and pluck.

There have been cases where the subject has failed to respond in the expected manner. If this happens, review very carefully your preparations at all stages of the process. We all make mistakes.

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