Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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October 16, 2000

Are You A Commoner?
An easy multiple-choice quiz by Sir Charles Grandiose
As printed in RoyaltyWatch! magazine

Picture: A Bunch of Toffs1. While watching the telly after dinner, my snack of choice is:
A. Prawn-flavoured crisps and a chocolate-flavoured carbonated beverage.
B. Popped corn.
C. Welsh rarebit and sherry.
D. Crack open that rare merlot, Jeeves. It's Friends night.

2. It's the anniversary of my wedding. As a present, I give my wife:
A. A new carpet sweeper.
B. A brass spittoon.
C. Jewelry.
D. A genuine tiglon-skin purse with matching leopard and alligator shoes.

3. My favourite spice is:
A. Pepper.
B. Oregano.
C. Saffron.
D. Posh.

4. When referring to oneself, one employs the phrase:
A. Me.
B. I.
C. One.
D. We.

5. I would characterize my complection as:
A. Acne-scarred.
B. An all-natural, soapy shine.
C. Porcelain-like, with a smooth texture.
D. Rough and manly, like a lumberjack's unshaven bum.

6. For school I attended:
A. Mme. Louise's Institute for Cosmetology and Carburetor Repair.
B. A decent state-funded school.
C. Oxford.
D. Let me finish this brandy and I'll try to remember.

7. My first romantic encounter:
A. Was with a bad, bad iconoclast from the wild and wicked streets.
B. Was a tender but misguided affair with someone from school that I immediately regretted.
C. Was with a member of the opposite sex especially picked by mummy and daddy.
D. Still prompts me to wander hopefully back to the sheep paddock from time to time.

8. My dream home would be:
A. Free from all these prawn-flavoured crisps packets.
B. A nice suburban home with a picket fence and a dog.
C. A grand, baronial estate.
D. Staffed with nothing but pretty young things in French maid's uniforms.

Scoring: If you answered and/or read any of questions one through eight, give yourself a whopping zero points. On the other hand, if you skipped past this quiz with a superior sort of sneer, because you have no doubt about your innate nobility, and certainly don't need a multiple-choice quiz to determine the issue for you, you win!

Picture: Ah, Beppo!Lord Marchdon writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

My acquaintance, the Contessa, will be visiting the villa shortly. It is little imposition. The poor woman is a bit of a dipsomaniac, if you know what I mean. A decanter or twelve of sherry, a pool chair, and the poor dear is set for the fortnight.

No, my question is about her simian companion, a small chimpanzee named Beppo. Beppo is a troublesome creature who continually throws things at the servants, ruins the parlors with his mischievous climbing, and jumps out from behind chairs to chatter at me. I swear he is possessed by the devil himself.

Given that the Contessa will be passed out by the pool clutching a delicious whiskey sour in her tremens-afflicted hands, to what means of discipline should I resort? How often should I spank the monkey?

Lord Marchdon

Sir Charles replies:

My Lord,

What a curiously familiar letter you wrote. It was so unusually reminiscent of other inquiries by other concerned readers, that one checked the archives. Last year another reader with a misbehaving ferret inquired into the maximum number of times a day he might whack his weasel, while in 1997 an irate churchgoer, after hearing a particularly offensive sermon by a senior prelate, asked if it might be permissible to beat the bishop.

It is one's fervent opinion, however, that Advice from Sir Charles Grandiose cannot advocate that its readers raise a hand to any creature. It is ugly. It is unpermissible. It is just Not The Thing.

Have the servants spank your monkey.

Helpfully, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Bramahvishnu writes:

Sir Charles,

We are here at Central India Machinery (Pty) noting recently correspondence with your Mark in regarding Schwitters bolt.

Please be advised that we are being for some long time arthurised manufacturer and distributor of Schwitters bolt of all size and finishes, in great range of materials and color.

If so good you are being to refer your Mark to our attentions, we much gratitude would be.

Rule Britannia, old boy,

Bramahvishnu Guptu
Manager, Selling and Markets
Central India Machinery (Pty)

Sir Charles replies:

Mr. Guptu,

We are thanking you . . . that is, one is thanking you . . . that is, one thanks you for your speedy response to the Schwitters Bolt situation. We are thinking that . . . one is thinking . . . bloody hell. One will be dressed up in a tablecloth saying "Hail Marys" to Bessie the cow and inviting Endora Gandhi to dinner, next.

Wishing the correspondent success, curry, yoga, and vindaloo, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Go Soak Your HeadJessica writes:

My fiance used to get into trouble with the law . . . He's changed and is the person I want to marry. 

Now that we're getting married, my parents want to know EVERYTHING about him. . . i.e., if he's been to jail or not, whether he's ever done drugs, etc.  He is embarrassed about his past, is not proud, and does not like to talk about it or publicize it . . . is it fair that he should have to go to my parents and basically lay his guts on the table and pray they accept him as who he is rather than who he was?

My first impression is that it's none of my parents business about his mess-ups in the past . . . they also want to know if we've ever had sex, which I think IS NONE of their business . . . they say it's ALL their business, since he's marrying their daughter!  

What do you think? I have to talk to them on Thursday, I don't know what to tell them, or should he really lay his guts?  Thank-you, hurry up and write back! Time's running out! 


Sir Charles replies:

My dear Jessica,

Imagine, my girl, that you are an orchard farmer. For years and years you have nourish your crop of apple trees from mere sprouts. Through the winters you have sheltered them from snow and cold. When they became ill, you sent for the tree doctor to bring them back to health. Many were the days you laboured in the potting shed to give them just the right nourishing mix of fertilizers to make them grow. Many were the nights you sat by their sides, ladling water to them cup by cup. All your money, all your toil, all your care has gone into these apple trees.

And now one of your trees wants to rip up her roots and pick up with the first scofflaw walnut tree from the streets she lays eyes on. Forgotten are all the years of love you have given the little tree. The fruit for which you have laboured and toiled over the years? That little twig is letting one and all pluck her.

That, my dear, is what your parents are experiencing right now. Be generous, and give them an apple or two for their efforts over the years. But exactly what is your obsession, my girl, with your boyfriend spilling his guts on your parents table? Are they practitioners of the ancient art of anthropomancy, the divination of the future through the formations of human entrails?

With a mixture of disgust and more disgust, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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