Amidst the neatly mown lawns and manicured hedgerows of the commuter belt, in Mr Fussy we meet a well-known creature of this habitat - the anal retentive personality type. With his excessive need for order and meticulous precision, Mr Fussy’s drive to retain control even goes as far as straightening the blades of grass in his garden.
Students of psychoanalysis will immediately recognise the fundamental unsustainability of this level of repression. And sure enough, it is not long before Mr Fussy is visited by Mr Clumsy, apparently a cousin from down under - clearly an allusion to the anus. Mr Clumsy is of course nothing more than our hero’s own deeply buried desire to rebel against the toilet training of his infancy. As this process, though clearly traumatic, was at the same time integral to the formation of his adult identity, it is only logical that his subconscious must project an alter ego through whom he can stage his regressive revolt.
It comes as no surprise to see that Mr Clumsy is in appearance simply a fatter, more bedraggled version of Mr Fussy himself, dutifully giving the latter licence to relinquish control of his bowels and at the same time look disapprovingly on. Make no mistake, Mr Fussy is loving every minute as the symbols of the self in his house and garden are processed and expelled as waste. And because the conscious self is allowed to remain a mere bystander in proceedings, this return to the Eden of untrammelled excretion evades any crisis of guilt.
For now at least, that is. Hargreaves hints that there may be a future price to pay for his scatological rampage. Things cannot simply go back to how they were. Soon after Mr Clumsy leaves, Mr Bump arrives. Do we take this to mean that Mr Fussy’s still unresolved internal conflict will see him at some point escalate to bouts of accidental self-injury? We are left to muse on what earthquakes await with the shifting tectonic plates of the psyche.