Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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February 23, 1998 Picture: In Fine FettleOne takes the opportunity, in this week's column, to salute our Olympic athletes. The Olympics! The spirit of athleticism, glowing bright! The Olympic torch, passed from hand to hand, from generation to generation! Hundreds of bright-eyed youths, representing the best and brightest of every nationality, joining united hand in hand in a display of solidarity so sincere and so moving that we all are brought to tears.

Or, to some folk, the spirit of sweaty men and women in tight-fitting spandex uniforms traveling downhill with sticks on their feet at eighty miles an hour.

But one can hear one's clamouring readers (and one has it on the ineradicable of authorities that the number of this elect group is so sizable that were each Siamese Twins, the freakish one-headed humans would be relegated to carnival attractions) asking the inevitable question. "Sir Charles!" they cry en masse. "You have a television set in your palatial estate? And you watched the Winter Olympics upon it?"

Well naturally, one replies. The entire Grandiose family crowded around the television receiver box in order to see if Sir Colin Bates (the fiance of lovely young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, who as eighty-seventh in line for the throne must set an example for the rest of the gentry by marrying at least a Knight of the realm) achieved a medal in the relatively obscure sport of snow spraying. From what we understand, Sir Colin's chosen specialty involves using a frozen pole to etch his name in the snow. However, though we were glued to the proceedings from dawn until dusk, we never saw the event. Very curious. Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, however, avers a certainty that he will win a gold medal for the United Kingdom in the proceedings. And she is eighty-seventh in line for the throne, and ought to know.

We were, however, treated to hours and hours of coverage of odd men sweeping the ice with brooms. One rather thought it was an instructional lesson for charwomen, until the Lady Felicia informed one that it is the sport of curling. And another odd sport--that of the biathalon. Folk who ski for hours, then shoot targets. Precisely what is the point? Is it a training exercise for Swiss assassins?

Quite honestly, one does not understand all this mucking about on the snow and ice. In one's day, the snow was for admiring from the comfort of one's study, and ice was something to be avoided at all costs. Not to be careened over, nor to be leapt upon. In one's day, one executed the figure eight if one strapped on skates. One did not launch oneself into the air into a double axle or triple putz, with the express intention of courting one's rear end with the cold hard ice. If one danced, one did it in such elegant places as the Crystal Ballroom of Blandsdown. Not upon a slippery glacial expanse.

Naturally, we are all disappointed not to have witnessed young Sir Colin's prodigious feats at spraying. Young Penelope says he is quite adept at etching all three of his given names in the snow behind the stables.

Frostily, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Tom writes:

Picture: Hee-Haw!Dear Sir Charles,

I'm on the American luge team for the Olympics this year. I've been all excited to be in Japan, but my girlfriend Tiffany isn't happy about it. She thinks I'm mean because I put itching powder in Michelle Kwan's boots last Friday, and helped out our Dream Team wreck the Olympic Village after they were unfairly denied their gold (GO U S OF A!)

Okay, and so Alberto and me went down the luge slide head first without the sled, with a couple of Japanese chicks we picked up in the sushi bar. I think it was a sushi bar. Some kind of nasty looking rolled up fish crap. Why can't these people have MacDonald's everywhere just like at home? What are they, Commies or something?

Anyway. Tiffany thinks I'm a jerk. You tell her, Sir C.


Sir Charles replies:


Much as one hates to admit siding with anyone named 'Tiffany,' one must admit that you, sirrah, are nothing but one of the biggest lugers one has ever had the pleasure of corresponding with.

Sincerely, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Jack writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I've come up with this idea that I want to market, and I understand you have a lot of olde English money lying around that you might want to get rid of. So here it is. You know we've got all our soldiers over in Iraq. And they get hungry, right? And after eating all that army hash, they want a reminder of the good stuff they're used to. So my idea is to box up some Pepsi and some Twinkies and a couple of Slim Jims and some potato chips or maybe Munchos. And we'll sell them at a eighty percent profit! I was thinking we'd call it the Iraq Attack Snack Pack.

Jack Boraque

Sir Charles replies:


I do not like the Iraq Attack Snack Pack. I do not like it, Jack Boraque. I would not like it in a shack, I would not like it on the track. A shame I do not have the knack of giving your big head a whack, but I'm certain that someone will pick up my slack.

With a hearty 'alack,' one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Sir Edmund writes:

Picture: Le Cushion WhoopeeSir:

I hold for you the deepest respect. Therefore, it is to you that I turn in this, my time of greatest need, for there seems no other voice which, dare I hope it, might deliver me, righteously, from this Hell my life is slowly becoming. I feel certain that your column, above all others, will treat this matter with the delicacy that it deserves, nay, demands.

My wife, sir, has a nasty case of the winds.

This is not simply to say that she's a bit on the breezy side. No, I tell you, such a stench has never before breeched the walls of my nose. My eyes water. The dog yelps and skulks away. I have lost all appetite and, consequentially, now possess a frightfully protrusive set of ribs. The good lady, she seems quite oblivious to her . . . Condition. And blithely proceeds to wind it up, even in pleasant company!

How, sir, may I handle this situation? It is so delicate a subject that I fear to broach it--I am a gentleman, sir, and one should never call attention to a lady's flaws. Yet, I fear, something will come of it--Lord Barton will put on a dinner party in a fortnight, and I fear for her delicate spirit should it rear its head in such a place, as it surely could not be ignored, even by the most courteous of hosts.

I pray this letter reaches you in time.

Sir Edmund Fitzhugh

Sir Charles replies:

Sir Edmund,

The mark of a true gentleman, sir, is an ability to conceal disgust in polite social situations. And the mark of a good husband is an ability to conceal disgust at one's spouse, in any situation. When your wife leans slightly to the left in the presence of company, it is your duty, as a man and a gentleman to laugh lightly, pat your own stomach, and make a small jest about geese flying overhead.

But confidentially, one has never experienced wind until one has dined with Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe. Good god, the woman sits on a typhoon. One found it easy enough to ignore until the evening in which her poor lapdog came too close to her chair, and was blown across the dining room against the wall. It was like watching the human cannonball display at a church fete, only accompanied by the aromas of the Jojo the Human Dung Boy.

Having been put off coq au vin forever by the experience, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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