I have just acquired three new books. All of the highest academic value. Plus I realise my readers follow this blog for its high intellectual content. So I would like to share my newest knowledge with you in the hope that you too will become fountains of knowledge, able to confound and astound at the next cocktail party you attend.
Did you know, for instance that the Chinese CD 'Fifty Favourite Chinese Children's Songs' includes: 'How Wonderful the School Campus Is', 'Whenever I Walk Past the Teacher's Window' and 'We Want to be Good Children of Lei Feng Type'. Impressed? I thought so! And did you know that 'Ear Pull' is one of the events in the Eskimo-Indian Olympics held annually in Fairbanks, Alaska. (A tug-of-war between two people joined with string looped round their ears. People occasionally lose an ear, but indeed a rarity, all right.)
At important events your medical knowledge is always worthy of an airing.
'Oh, I realised he was suffering from 'Alice in Wonderland Syndrome' will be received with incredulity. (A psychological condition where the patient feels that their body is much smaller or bigger than it is.) Not that you need to over impress with medical science. There is room for small talk, ever helpful in putting at ease those suffering anxiety at such gatherings.
'Do you realise minuscule is the most commonly misspelled word in English' never fails to show your grasp of the language, at the same time raising you to the position of English language supremo.
'Closely followed by millennium, embarrassment and occurrence' you can add for final effect.
If this in any way is seen as 'showing up' the recipient choose small talk that is interesting if not particularly challenging.
'Oh how I enjoyed Enid Blyton's Secret Seven as a child,' reeling off the names of all seven with reckless abandon always impresses. (Barbara, Jack, Colin, Pam, George, Janet, Peter). Or how about 'Did you know Staten Island was included in a list of the world's worst smells.' (Also included was skunk spray, baby sick, boiled urine, well-used trainers, brussel sprouts, egg sandwiches, dog farts and bad breath.) By the way, my American friends, is Staten Island really that bad?
So there you are. And just a little something to clinch that number one spot on the cocktail circuit. Did you know that 'Like a sausage or snake, but with cracks on the surface' is number four on the Bristol Stool Form Scale. (Number one is 'separate hard lumps like nuts'.) Take a tip, if you want to be number one, its all to do with perseverance. (Also on the list of misspelt words.) Me, I'm just going to see my friend whose recently been diagnosed as suffering from Jerusalem Syndrome. Oh well, it could be worse, Diogenes Syndrome is worse, much worse,
Vitamin by Roddy Lumsden
Short List Top Tens published by Collins
Top 10 of Britain published by Hamlyn