Ratty was a narcissist with neurotic tendencies. Badger was a bombastic bully with an assumed kindly and bluff streak developed purely to hide an arrogant manner. Otter was a ruthless killer with psychopathic tendencies, who nonetheless loved his kith and kin.
Mole, with whom many young persons identified, was a born follower doomed to a life of resentment. And following.
The weasels and stoats were frightful rotters, Mostly badly-behaved City boys, road ragers, gangsters and gang members. A thoroughly bad lot.
The rabbits were mostly lunch.
But Toad; what about him and his wrinkled, crinkled life?
Toad is defined, for all time, by this passage from ‘Wind in the Willows’:
“Speech – by Toad.
(There will be other speeches by Toad during the evening.)
Address – by Toad
Synopsis: Our Prison System; The Waterways of Old England; Horse-dealing and how to deal; Property, its rights and its duties; Back to the Land; A Typical English Squire.
Song – by Toad.
Composed by himself.
Other Compositions – by Toad – will be sung in the course of the evening by the Composer.”
And that all-consuming vanity is, actually, all that is wrong with him.
Toad’s heart is in the right place. He is overshadowed by insecurity, a fear of being overlooked and of appearing foolish, even whilst behaving foolishly. Toad wants the best for everyone, but so often his ego takes over and fights endlessly and sadly victoriously with his good and generous nature.
This characteristic can often be seen in my business when discussing website, newsletter and speech content with business owners and C-Suite natives.
Time and time again they lose sight of why they are there as they allow vanity and ego to drive their responses and reactions. What they need, of course, is someone to stand behind them to whisper in their ears the terribly useful words ‘You worthless piece of effluent; one day you will be dead – be nice. Remember who will write your epitaph.’
There is a slim and useful book called ‘Counselling for Toads’ by a chap called Robert de Board. It is described as a psychological adventure.
Though it seems to be about furry and other woodland creatures on the surface, in reality it’s about each one of us and explains most clearly why we should be more understanding about our own frailties and those of others.
Its biggest lesson is that when it comes to comms, once you understand that it’s never, ever, about you, even ordinary content becomes great.