Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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November 29, 1996

At this autumnal time of year, when the once-green frondescence of the forests has fallen to the ground, one receives a number of aerograms and 'greeting cards' from one's American admirers (who alone are so many in number that were they each to put pen to paper--not crayon, however tempting that might be for most of them--and write their local newspapers to expose a certain Miss M-nn-rs [one does not slander a Lady in the public press. One will simply refer to her as 'Miss Born-In-A-Barn' henceforth] for the rustic, lubberly sans-culotte she is, the tabloids could replace her thrice-weekly ramblings with belles-lettres of greater value . . . say, Advice from Sir Charles Grandiose) wishing one a 'Happy Turkey Day.'

How quaint.

Without going on about it, for one finds loathsome those annalists who natter on with incessant, vain bumptiousness about their pet peeves, one will simply remind you Yanks that 'Thanksgiving', as one believes it is called, is simply not a British holiday. Oh, one knows that it may be difficult to conceive for many of you Poopsi-generation, EmptyVee-addled, brand name endorsing, Dallas-watching, resource-gobbling, hair lacquer-wearing, revolver-bearing, Mickey Mouse-eared, sports-idolizing yobbos that there are countries other than your own in this world, with different customs and holidays. One finds it difficult to imagine precisely what it is that you all are thankful for, anyway, when your so-called 'convenience' stores are permitted to sell both Hostess Snowballs and 'Slim Jims'--surely the food of Satan himself!--to innocent, unknowing kiddies.

However, as one is aware that these greetings were sent to one with good intentions, and one has firmly determined not to reward kind thoughts with rebuff, one will simply let the matter lie. Though, for the record, one does not allow turkey to be served at the Grandiose table. They are a class of fowl with immense, quivering wattles hanging from their neck. Eating one would be too much like having a slice of Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe, upon one's plate.

There is another holiday, however, rapidly approaching. Surely one would be remiss if one did not remind one's readers that as of this writing, there are only six and twenty shopping days left until that most blessed of holidays, Christmas. And as one's readers know, the yuletide is the season of giving. Oh, how much better 'tis to give, than to receive!

Picture: Two SistersOne knows, after nearly two years of reading the pathetic chicken scratches that pass for correspondence in this agony column business, that many of one's readers are lonely, desolate, altogether pathetic refugees of the human gene pool with no one from whom to seek advice and refuge. No one to understand them. No one to whom they can give brightly-wrapped Christmas prezzies. Why then, one says, why not give to Sir Charles Grandiose?

But before one's insipid would-be Kris Kringles and Lady Bountifuls rush out to the local 'K-Mart' and purchase some jejune bauble, let one offer a few 'helpful hints' so that one's readers . . . and of course, oneself . . . will enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.

Item One: Handmade items are all very well and good if one happens to be, say, famed craftsman and designer William Morris. But let one merely remind one's readers that grubby macramed hanging plant holders, mangled cross-stitched representations of naughty kittens in the spice jars, and jelly jars of fetid potpourri are an insult to anyone in the peerage. Yes, no matter what Princess Di said to those foreign urchins who thrust hand-glued bookmarks at her during state visits. Last Christmas, one received a 'jean jacket,' sized extra-large, with one's name spelled in sequins upon the back. One had this aesthetic crime instantly burned. It did not carry lice, but it certainly looked as if it would attract them.

Item Two: If you are going to do a thing, do it right. Nothing with a net value of less than fifty pounds. They're scarcely worth returning, otherwise.

Item Three: 'Summer Sausage' bears as much resemblance to real meat as 'McNuggets' to any part of a chicken.

Item Four: The fellow who last Christmas subscribed one to the 'Laxative of the Month Club' may have thought he was a clever wag, but one assures him it was Not Funny.*

For an especially good prezzie, one imagines, one will even have one's secretary write a personal thank-you note from oneself. What better acknowledgement could a generous reader expect?

Patiently awaiting a bounty of holiday cheer, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

*N.B.: Though one was tempted to pull a smile when the Lady Felicia mistakenly snacked upon April's 'Minty Choco-Runs' one evening, after dinner. Much hilarity ensued.

Picture: Two Sisters

Rose Petal writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I'm not what you would call one of those 'fast' women. That is, I've only been engaged three times, unlike my chum Nance down the lane who's been leading the blokes on since she's been fourteen. But then, she lives in a council flat, and that should tell you something. She keeps all the engagement rings, she does. Do you think that's right? I don't. I only kept the one from Mr. Moss with real diamonelle. How it shines in the right light! Almost like the real thing! Mr. Moss drove his own second-hand lorry, too.

Anyway, I've been seeing Mr. Hepplewhite, and his wife hadn't found out yet and everything is going so smooth, but lately our parish has been assigned the dishiest vicar. Oo, I could go on and on about his eyebrows, I could. When he rides by on his bicycle, it makes me want to get down on my knees and go all religious.

Sir Charles, do you think I'd make a good vicar's wife? Did I mention how dishy he was?

Ever so gratefully yours,
Rose Petal (Not my real name!)

Sir Charles replies:

O Would-Be Flower,

Rose Petal might not be your real name, but the sobriquet is surely most appropriate, as one is sure that the correspondent has been thoroughly plucked and discarded many a time. In point of fact, the only more suitable moniker of which one can think for you might be 'Kleenex'.

Frankly put: One suspects that the correspondent would be as good a vicar's wife as she would be a nun.

But before the correspondent interprets such a remark to mean one's approbation, let one remind her that one of the primary duties of a nun is to remain chaste. It's not all fancy headgear and guitars, you know.

Humming 'Dominique' to oneself, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

The Absolutely Fabulous Index of Poetry writes:

Dear Esteemed Occupant of Blandsdown,

We of the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry have received your original poem--yes, YOUR POEM!--for our next International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry Contest. Your poem--yes, YOUR POEM!--has not yet been examined closely and critically by our panel of distinguished expert judges (many of whom have attended a college or university), but so sure are we of its merit that we are advancing it to semi-finalist status and assuring it of publication in our next absolutely fabulous volume, DREAMS OF POETIC POSTERITY IN THE ESSENCE OF THE ETHEREAL SANDS OF TIME, VOL. 6.

The fact that you have submitted an advance purchase order for 200 copies (a record number, we should point out!) of the volume in which your poem--yes, YOUR POEM!--will be published has little to do with our decision, for we are an impartial publishing house dedicated to preserving integrity at all costs. However, given the fact that your cheque cleared immediately and we now have cash in hand, we at the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry have unanimously agreed to accept you as Patron Of Original Poetry (POOP) and to present you with the enclosed certificate (please note its suitability for framing) announcing your prestigious achievement. As a designated POOP, you are hereby entitled, should you so desire, to affix the initials POOP after your name whenever you participate in any literary endeavor.

In the meanwhile, the panel of distinguished expert judges (many of whom have attended a college or university), will be going into seclusion at a lovely and private resort in the south of France where they will evaluate your poem--yes, YOUR POEM!--for expressions of wit, cleverness, aesthetic appeal, artistic expression, creative depth and/or imagery, originality, sensitivity, perkiness, legibility, sufficient postage, adherence to the 19 line limit, and various other ethereal poetic qualitites too numerous to mention. As soon as they have reached a decision (in past years, it has coincided with the end of the social season at wherever they have been sequestered), you will be notified as to the further status of your poem--yes, YOUR POEM!

Thanking you profusely for your submission and your generous advance purchase of 200 copies of DREAMS OF POETIC POSTERITY IN THE ESSENCE OF THE ETHEREAL SANDS OF TIME, VOL. 6,
Your literary colleagues at the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry

Sir Charles replies:

To the discriminating connoisseurs poetique of the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry,

One is honoured, truly honoured, most highly honoured, that one's facility with the English language is so regarded, so thoroughly regarded, so highly regarded. One knew beyond a doubt that one's early exposure to 'Phun with Phonics' was time well spent!

One does not wish to prejudice the committee any further than one has already done, but one has only a simple, simple question: At which resort in the south of France will the committee be staying, what are their room numbers, and what are their favourite cheeses and wines?

With one's highest, highest, highest regards, one remains
Sir Charles Grandiose, POOP

Picture: With All the Modern Conveniences

Worried Bride to Be writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

My fiance is a contortionist at the carnival (he's quite famous, really. I've enclosed one of the handbills advertising his act). However, I worry about his future health. Surely he'll pop a disc one day, or ruin his spine.

Should I invest in private health insurance, or should I persuade him to seek less dangerous work?

Worried Bride to Be

Sir Charles replies:

My dear girl,

One cringes as one looks through the handbill and espies the various bone-defying poses your funambulist fiance can assu. . . . gracious, he can put his head there? One imagines that would be most convenient. Most convenient indeed! That is, for the purpose of checking boils and such. Naturally, one had no other design in mind, no self-serving, pleasurable scheme at all.

One is surprised the man needs a fiancee at all. Does he give lessons, perchance?

Most intrigued, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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