21 December 2013

Be Interesting

It's soirée season. And there's nothing more boring than hearing about someone's illness, political gripes, or children. These are fucking dull subjects. Avoid them.

I say this after having attended an exhausting round of Christmas parties during the last two weeks. There's another one tonight. I shall let you know how it turns out.

As you know, I came of age in a vastly different time and place--and it wasn't that long ago. When I was a young man I was expected to attend holiday parties. And I did.

Do you have a party trick? I do. In London at Christmas and New Year's Eve gatherings our well-connected neighbour-hostess required of her attendees some kind of party trick: a joke, magic trick, amusing anecdote, quotation, etc.

It was regarded as a gift, the least one could do in return for her generosity. For my part I chose to present the John Donne poem 'A Hymn to Christ, At the Author's Last Going Into Germany', my recitation of which rarely failed to amuse fellow guests. I had memorised the poem at school for reasons lost to me now. More on this later.

Not having a family to speak of, I'm unclear as to how modern people celebrate holiday family gatherings these days. But for you, I recommend being as interesting as possible. And, work on the art of having a conversation!


PA said...

I haven't done this since my early 20s in the military. But my trick was the Elvis lighter.

I'd take a cigarette, put it in my mouth, get my zippo lighter, and do a number of Elvis-like moves, including twirling the lighter in the air, as prelude to lighting the cigarette, taking a deep drag, and pocketing the Zippo.

w.adam mandelbaum esq. said...

I sacrifice a goat while reading selected portions from Mother Goose. It's a real ice breaker at parties. Sometimes it's interesting to hear about peoples' illnesses, especially when you can't stand them. Also, I sometimes enjoy hearing about their children, provided they have been arrested and are in search of experienced counsel. Enjoy your Holidays LBF!

Michael said...

I can recite the "Owl and the Pussycat". Long snatches of Kipling. I can flip a pencil relatively high in the air and catch it and do it again. Pretty much endlessly and without looking. This last was a trick I employed when I ran an investment firm; flipping the pencil while never taking my eyes from the associate making his pitch for a transaction. Decades later these associates have become rich men who remember the fear this feat put in them.

Anonymous said...

Another Christmas party tonight.

Like Atlas bearing the world...

No one lives these days. No adventures, no risk.

So they ask me for stories. Sad when a 28 year old has lived fuller than a 50 year old.

Anonymous said...

Frohe Weihnachten, Herr Admiral.