Back in the grim days of World War II, the War Advertising Council came up with the phrase “loose lips might sink ships” to be used on posters by the United States Office of War Information.
It was part of a general campaign to advise servicemen and other citizens to avoid careless talk concerning secure information that might be of use to the enemy. The British equivalent used variations on the phrase “Keep mum”.
One way of ensuring against people being loose lipped has become apparent after a woman down south found herself in a very sticky situation.
An account of the woman’s experience has been given by TV3 here.
She has told her story on condition she remain anonymous.
This was perhaps unnecessary because it sounds like the woman could not have answered questions, anyway, which would include telling the reporters her name.
At least, she had little to say until the medics went to work with paraffin.
A Dunedin woman directed emergency services to her home through a lengthy series of grunts and taps overnight, after accidentally gluing her mouth shut.
The 64-year-old, who spoke to 3 News on the condition on anonymity, says she made the mistake while fumbling for a tube of cold sore cream in the middle of the night.
Blocked up with a cold, she grabbed a yellow tube that she thought held the cream – but it turned out to be super glue.
“I got into bed and I could feel this tingling on my lips, so I thought I’d get the cold sore cream,” she says.
“I have all my ointments in a tray in the cupboard, so I get out of bed and I dived into the tray and I couldn’t smell it because I was blocked up.
“And then I got into bed and thought, ‘what have I put on my mouth?’.”
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By the time the woman realised what she had done, it was too late. She got around to dialling 111, but her mouth by then was glued shut.
“I couldn’t speak on the phone so I couldn’t tell them where I lived, I couldn’t tell them my phone number,” she says.
“The communication was ‘Do you live in Dunedin?’ and I grunted ‘mmm’, and then the lady went through all the suburbs and then all the streets, she was very, very patient.
“I had to tap on the phone, one tap for no and two taps for yes, and then it took a long time to narrow down the streets and then all the numbers too.”
The emergency service people eventually were directed to her home in the suburb of St Kilda, although initially they sent a police dog handling team to the house because they believed she may have been gagged and the victim of a violent attack, which is a reasonable thing to have believed in the circumstances.
She was later taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital, where a paraffin oil was applied to remove the glue.
Alf is now working on a plan to silence lefties and the greens.
There are lots of the buggers, so it will take some time.
But essentially it involves persuading them to apply the lip balm that Mrs Grumble will send each of them, appropriately gift-wrapped to make it seem the sender is a well-wisher.
We then have to round up and destroy all available supplies of paraffin.
If the plan works, the debates in Parliament will be well worth listening to in future.
A couple of years ago, you might recall, another bit of TV3 news (here) was headed Labour tightlipped over capital gains tax.
When Alf has finished they will be tight-lipped about everything.