Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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January 18, 1999 Picture: Civilisation's Curtain CallGentle Readers, though there has been much talk of late of the 'revival of the written letter' brought about through correspondence of electronic means, if most of what is being written follows the general outline of the following missive to oneself, one feels we ought gently to notify all concerned that civilisation we know it is at an end. We might as well haul out the wooden clubs and tribal costumes again, for all the progress we have made in the past few thousand years.

Dear Sir C.:::

Your columm got me ROFL. I really LMAO!!!! BTW, that Pennylope is a FOX! LOL! Like you want to hear that dude!


One has heard that these capitalizations are really acronyms of frequently-used phrases near and dear to the hearts of those who prefer the scent of warm cathode tubes to the aromas of the great outdoor expanses. Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who is eighty-fifth in line for the throne . . . one believes one has not mentioned this salient fact in some time) explained to one that, for example, the palindrome 'LOL' is meant to imply the phrase 'laughing out loud.'

Which leaves one's eyes, of course, shrouded by the filmy gauze of mystery as to what the other acronyms could mean. One's column, apparently, has the correspondent either Realizing Ovaltine's For Losers or perhaps Repealing Old Finnish Laws. One also gathers that the correspondent really Loathes Making Applejack Often, or perhaps Lose Money At Odessa (and who does not? There was once a delightful casino there).

In fact, were it not for the correspondent's assertion that young Penelope Windsor-Smythe was a Frequently-Ogled Xanthippe (and as eighty-fifth in line for the throne, which she happens to be, she is a much-photographed young woman), one would be tempted to write off 'Marvin' as completely illiterate.

For such is the impression we receive with such letters, is it not, ladies and gentlemen? After the first initial shock of noting that someone has tilted their Scrabble board upon the page, we begin to think about what Marvin and his ilk are really telling us. Marvin's message happens to be twofold.

First, by use of these elusive acronyms Marvin tells us that despite having ten perfectly functional digits at his disposal, and a working keyboard, the three seconds that it would have taken to type 'Laughing Out Loud' instead of 'LOL' were simply too much for the boy.

Second, his use of 'LOL' confirms to us that instead of taking the time to think up a sincere sentence such as 'Sir Charles Grandiose, your piquant sense of humour brings a smile to my lips,' Marvin prefers to be uncreative, unoriginal, and abysmally brief. But then, what else should we expect from an uneducated baboon forced to type with two fingers because higher coordination is too much for him?

One feels that if one's readers must adhere to acronyms in order to make their point, they should at least be grammatically correct. Laughing out loud, indeed. Laughing aloud is more appropriate. Of course, one shouldn't in the least mind seeing a few more of these acronyms in one's correspondence:

STBYPPDSC = Simply titillated by your provocative prose, dear Sir Charles
AYAFFOAM = Aren't you a fine figure of a man?
MPTLNWMADCLIOI = My private telephone line number which mummy and daddy can't listen in on is ______
WCIBLYSC = Why can't I be like you, Sir Charles?
DWIKOOTGP = Don't worry, I'm keeping out of the gene pool.

Sir Charles Grandiose

Sadie Lou writes:

Picture: High Toned English StockDear Sir Charles,

I don't know what to do with my oldest boy, Billy Boy Grannyooze, Jr ("Bubba"). He has started to take on airs and no longer wants to grow up and be a flagman for the highway department like his daddy, Billy Bob, Sr. I hear tell that you got so many fans that if they was ticks on a  hound dawg, that pore dawg would be sucked dry in less'n a week. So maybe you can help. That, and you might be kin to us.

It seems Bubba had to do one of them genie-ol—ogy projects at the junior high. He found he was descended from a Mortimer Grandiose what got kicked out of his family in England a hundred and fifty years ago for messing with a cook. Anyhow, this guy came to America and ended up across the ridge from where we live in Hunchback, WV. Apparently he was fruitful and multiplied and we are descended from him.

Since Bubba found out he was from high-toned English stock, he wants us to call him William Grandiose, refuses to eat fast food from the sack and wants the table set with different forks for different courses, and expects us to dress up for dinner. It is real hard to persuade Billy Bob, Sr., to even put on a shirt in hot weather and he sure ain't gonna wear a tie.

What are we gonna do with a kid like this? Do folks actually live the way he wants to, or is Bubba just a few French fries away from a Happy Meal, and we should get some kind of professional help for him?

Sadie Lou Grannyooze

Sir Charles replies:


How . . . lovely . . . to hear from one's 'country cousins,' so to speak. The legend of Mortimer Grandiose indeed is still well remembered in one's household. Legend has it that after he was disowned by the family, his wild fairy princess of the pastries laid a curse upon Blandsdown. And it is quite certain that ever since, every member of the household has suffered with flat, lifeless, saggy buns.

It sounds as if young William has delusions of grandeur indeed. However, you might remind him of this simple platitude: A princess might spend a penny in the water, but that doesn't mean the farmer down the river is drinking champagne.

Feeling slightly soiled, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Troubled writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

As a humble reader of your urbane and sophisticated column for many months now I have finally encountered a dilemma worthy of referring to your august countenance.

I have encountered a problem in the great study of Philosophy at the Oxbridge Academy for Deranged Intellectuals-- namely in Plato's Theory of Forms. What do you think of this ingenious (but flawed) hypothesis?

Is there, in your expert opinion, a realm of perfect forms that every object in our amazing universe are but pale reflections?

Yours with the greatest respect,
Turgidly Troubled in Cheshire

Sir Charles replies:

My young philosopher,

You've never seen 'Aerobicizing with Annie' on BBC2, obviously. My word, what perfect forms. A few hours here and there watching Annie on her Slide Mat, my boy, and you'll forget all about Plato, just you wait and see.

Always glad to be of help, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Sir Leon writes:

Picture: The Height Of Sartorial FashionMy dear Sir Charles,

I note with horror that you have dabbled with investments in women's fashion at that yankee institution known as K-Mart!

One should be reminded that a gentleman never dabbles in the most rude and uncouth calling of commercial enterprise! No, sir! Instead a proper peer of the realm should remain in the enterprise of his forefathers: land and slaves.  Although slavery has been technically banned, we still have the young and the mentally unfit to depend upon.

I apologize for airing my views in such a public forum but I was deeply  concerned and felt immediate action was called for.  It may start with women's fashions, but this may lead to a very slippery path indeed, God forbid.  We must discuss this further, tuos iube meis dicere.

Your humble equal,
Sir Leon Arbuthnot

Sir Charles replies:

Sir Leon,

One would never degrade oneself to the level of dabbling in investments. That is for what purpose minions were created.

As for the young and the mentally unfit, one had rather gathered that one exploited the former in the making of the Kathie Lee line, and exploited the latter into buying it.

Counting the dough, one remains
Sir Charles Grandiose

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