Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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May 16, 1997

Picture: A Man Of A Certain Age When one is young, one is but an extension of one's parents. Oh, one might exert the effort, from time to time, to voice one's desires, but one is still a mere whelp, unpracticed in the ways of the world. And during adolescence, when one is discovering the first inklings of the sentient being, one is still not one's own person, yet. One is too busy experimenting; one is too busy deciding what one is not, to discover what one is.

Even in the early flower of adulthood, the twenties and thirties and forties, the majority of us are too busy with finding our mates, and with establishing our families and households and careers, really to pay attention to our own selves. It is not until we arrive at a certain age of reflection that we begin to understand ourselves, our motivations. What makes us, if one may employ a vulgar familiarism, tick. And now that one is at the prime of one's life--those vigorous, pulsing, bracing years--one is sublimely aware of every nuance, every little quirk, every little whim, in one's personality.

Oh, one's readers (and one has it on the most impeccable of authorities that were each a silkworm, their output in a single day should provide the raw materials to furnish each member of the Royal family--including ex-spouses-- a fresh pair of knickers each day until Lammastide, 2006 AD) know how acutely aware one is of one's faults, at this point in one's life. Or rather, one should say fault. For one has only the one: A too-aching sensibility to the shortcomings of others. Oh, one has tried to overcome it. But one was given this cross to bear by no one but Our Creator, and therefore one bends under its burden, doomed forever to be the one truly perfect angelfish in a sea of imperfect lemmings.

Which neatly brings us to the point of this week's preamble. One received a most pleasant letter from a correspondent this week, which one will reproduce below:

Dear Sir Charles,

One has thoroughly enjoyed your missives over the past few weeks, however, having digested the entire contents of your lavish library, one finds oneself at a loss. Naught in this fair city can compare with the joy one finds in spending time in the study of what it means to be a refined person of title and manners.

What is one to do to fill the void that has, until of late, been filled with your wit and impeccable insights?

With heaving bosom and trembling hand, one awaits your response.

Woeful in Wichita

For you see, if one knows one's fault, one knows one's abundance of strengths as well. And how beautifully the correspondent has summed them up.

And how right is Woeful. When one has climbed to the peak of Olympus, what charms have Potter's Nub? When one has sailed the Pacific, how can the mud puddle over the cistern in one's back garden seem at all deep? When one has sampled manna, can one go back to eating pork scratchings? When one has taken long draughts from the library of Sir Charles Grandiose, how can one return to lesser hacks like 'Shakespeare' or 'Miss Manners'?

Poor Woeful. One feels for you. One knows how it is to revel in the sheer joyous presence of Sir Charles Grandiose. After all, one must cope with the overwhelming excitement of it all twenty-five hours a day. But one has several solutions to the plight.

1) Cold Baths. Plenty of them. One finds they work wonders, especially after a leisurely session of admiring one's collection of ancient Indian brass spittoons in the shapes of the Kama Sutra.

2) Sturdy Foundation Garments. If the foundation garments are too loose, or too tight--or worse, if they are too smooth and silky, or too scratchy, the correspondent might find himself or herself over-distracted. One's hands will wander. One will tug. One will probe. One will touch here, and there. Then finally, with a total abandonment of self-restraint, the reader will give in to his baser, viler impulses altogether, grabbing the newspaper and reading a sillier, lesser agony columnist.

3) Finally, Tell Your Friends. It is true that one already has so many admirers that were each a single bacterium sneezed from atop the tower of London, the resulting infection would cause so many residents of Great Britain to fall ill that the plagues of the Middle Ages would seem as inconsequential as a mild case of prickly heat by comparison. But imagine the joy you will receive, Woeful, upon introducing your common little friends to the wisdom and wit of Sir Charles Grandiose. And after all, this giving and sharing is the very essence of friendship, is it not?

Yes, if one were not a modest man, one would have indulged in a veritable orgy of self-congratulation over that particular letter. But one is sent this sort of thing so often, you know. Because one is, after all, so exquisitely talented and supernally blessed that one richly deserves all the praises one receives. And one receives a lot of it.

But one remains, modestly, until next week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Such A Pretty Ass!

Babette writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I don't know if you remember me, but I once wrote to you about riding my jackass Harry in the Lady Godiva re-enactment ride at the Tung Frolics in our picturesque village of Cheeke. I had hope to have the pleasure of meeting you after the race (at the private poise and personality interview that each contestant has with the judge), but--alas!--the sudden fire canceled all that.

Positive that I would have been crowned Tung Princess had not the fire interrupted the festivities, I was standing in the road, softly weeping into Harry's mane, when two gentleman came up behind me and simultaneously declared, I want that ass! Though I told them Harry wasn't for sale, they chuckled and explained that they certainly weren't going to buy my ass (they seemed to think that was illegal, but then they're Americans). The gentlemen--a Mr. Hefner and a Mr. Flynt--explained that they wanted to photograph my ass for magazines they publish in the colonies. Would I mind bringing my ass to America, they wanted to know.

Well, knowing the problems transporting an equine to or from the colonies (Would you believe I am still waiting for Godot who remains quarantined in the Hebrides!?), I told them, because of certain complications, I was afraid my ass might be quarantined indefinitely. They seemed to lose interest at that point, and walked away looking quite downcast. However, I recently received letters from both of them indicating a renewed interest in my ass and hoping I was well.

Having just last month received my degree from the Cheeke College of Cosmetology and Penmanship, I am ready to go off and seek my fortune. Do you think hauling my ass to America would be quite the way to do it? If you were an American, would you want to look at pictures of my ass?

Babette ("Bouf") Pompadour

Sir Charles replies:

Oh, Babette,

One remembers you. One remembers you very well, my dear. In fact, had it been up to one, you, Babette--yes you!--would have been one's own private, personal Tung Princess, if not one's Cheeke-y Queen.

"What?" you say to yourself, astonished. "You, Sir Charles Grandiose, deigned to notice me, a little no one with naught but my big big tease and my curlicues to recommend me?"

Yes, Babette. Trust one. When one stood across the green, you stood out. How, you wonder? Well, Babette, it was impossible for one to miss you. Your big ass would stand out in even the largest of crowds. You may not have noticed, but one was watching it amble from side to side. One even suppressed a secret, secret smile when you reached around, at one point, to scratch it deeply with your perfectly manicured fingernails. Oh, how it must have itched, for you to dig into it, like that.

Yes, Babette. One can see why these American gentlemen would have been interested in getting your ass across the ocean and into their photographic studios. Would you be so selfish as to deprive an international audience of a glimpse of your ass?

No, one didn't think you would.

Au revoir-ing, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Jillian writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I have met a man that I am very attracted to and we seem to have a lot in common. We have been dating casually for a few months now. I like being with him a lot and would like for the relationship to go one step further.

The problem is, he cannot kiss! Period. I like to kiss and if I cannot find a nice way to either suggest or show him an alternative way I am afraid I will have to draw a close to this otherwise promising relationship. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.

FYI: I am 48 and he is 50


Sir Charles replies:

Wanton Jade,

Upon perusing your letter . . . or more accurately put, your torrid missive of libidinous braggadocio . . . one had been assuming that by 'one step further,' you of course implied marriage. For that, and that alone, is the only step a woman should take after the coy glance, the gently-held (but gloved) hand, or any of the early stages of courtship.

But when you followed with the lascivious declaration of your willingness--nay, enjoyment!--of the common habit of pressing lips together with a member of the opposite sex. . . . Well, one was quite horrified. One had to mop a bead of perspiration from one's brow. Does not the correspondent know that such behaviors lead to not only germs, but the disease-laden parasite known as the 'cooty'?

Wondering how the human race survives, sometimes, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Mr. Mansell writes:

Picture: One's ABBA-Stunted Secretary My dear Sir Charles.

I have been a devoted fan of yours for many months, but I confess that your wisdom and erudition have brightened many a day in the heathenish colony in which I reside.

However, after a close and thorough perusal of your archives, I have reached the shocking conclusion that you are not actually an English baronet, but, and I hesitate to make this most terrible accusation, an American. No doubt you are asking yourself how one can make this scandalous, libellous and thoroughly insulting accusation (one thought long and hard before accusing you of being a "Yankee"), but I have the evidence to prove it.

Although you spell words such as "flavour" and "colour" correctly (i.e. the British way), certain words escape your attention and reveal your true origins. These include "realization" and "estrus", which a true Englishman of blue blood and noble birth would instinctively spell with an "o". Confess, Sirrah, confess!

Yours disappointedly,
Richard "Sherlock Holmes" Mansell
Johannesburg, South Africa

Sir Charles replies:

O sun-stroked one,

One was tempted to provide the correspondent with an explanation of one's secretary's sloppy, heathenish habits. He, after all, has the misfortune of being the 'Yankee'. But then one took pause. One took pity. The correspondent must have been spending too much time upon his farm in South Africa, out among the veldts with the zebras and rhinoceroses and whatnot.

Why else would he insist that the word 'realisation' be spelled with an 'o'? Everyone knows it begins with an R.

Pityingly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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