The scene is familiar and adored by young and old alike. Seven short, hairy men enter from stage left, whistling merrily to themselves. Spontaneously they break into song, ďHey ho, hey ho, itís off to work we goÖĒ Invariably the audience has little choice but to sing along. Doubtless this has been your experience as it has for generations of children.
Yet all is not well in the kingdom of far, far away. Following the success of the Shrek franchise, discontent has been growing among fairytale creatures. Some have begun to question their Walt Disney appointed roles, daring to ask whether it is within their contracts to behave any differently. After all, who among us would have imagined that Princess Fiona would voluntarily elect to remain an ogress? Times are indeed changing.
To investigate this phenomenon further, this intrepid reporter was despatched deep into the enchanted forest for an exclusive interview with the seven dwarves. We met in their tidy, little cottage and, once Snow White had gone out, I put the same question to each of them in turn:
ďGentlemen, you are renowned for your positive attitude towards hard work. Indeed it is difficult to think of the seven dwarves without calling to mind that popular ditty. Our readers would be interested to know whether you are still steadfast in your commitment to toil and drudgery.Ē
Sleepy: Actually, work has really never been my thing. Thatís the one advantage of working for a family firm: theyíre unlikely to fire you for nodding off on the job. I just find myself an old forgotten mine shaft where I can take forty winks and no one is the wiser.
Sneezy: Sorry, but I have an exemption certificate from my doctor. I have only to think about work and my nose starts twitching. The next thing you know, Iím trumpeting like an elephant locked in a pepper factory.
Dopey: Work would be great if my cousins werenít always shouting at me. Dopey, donít do that, donít touch this! Is it my fault that things break so easily? They have stopped giving me jobs to do, so I just sit in the canteen until itís time to go home.
Grumpy: I hate work: the tools are blunt; the pay is ridiculous; you get no help from anyone; you canít see a thing with the lanterns; the hours are too long; and no one ever bothers to say thank you. Honestly, I donít know why I bother.
Bashful: Things were fine until Snow White came to live with us. In the mornings I canít bear to leave the house and Iím forever making excuses just to linger in her presence a little longer. When Iím in the mine, I canít get her out of my thoughts. I sit there and daydream all day long until its time to rush back home. Of course, I wouldnít dream of saying a word to her.
Doc: The problem with work is that it is not properly structured. Every business needs someone to take command and ensure that everyone else is fulfilling their potential for the greater good of the company. Although I am clearly the most competent in this area, my numerous memos, suggestions, agendas, and organisational charts are routinely ignored by the others. I get to the end of the day and I havenít even had the time to swing a pick axe. Itís grossly unfair.
Happy: Hey, Iím happy at work! What do you expect? Iím Happy. Of course, like everyone else, I have good days and bad days. But the blessings outweigh the difficulties - you just have a keep a positive attitude. A wise king of old once said the following: ďThere is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. This is from the hand of God.Ē As the song says, donít worry, be happy!
And there you have it, dear reader. Seven diminutive dwarves with seven very different attitudes to work. If you ask me, they are pretty much typical of the people we all end up working alongside Ė not that I would want my boss to find out which dwarf he reminds me of! Next week I will be interviewing Woody from Toy Story on his successful screen test for the remake of Rambo.
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