December 13, 1999
Gentle readers, 'tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la and all that rot.
One hears the collective gasp of one's readers. (And one has it upon a sterling authority that one's readers are so many in number, that were they all to gasp simultaneously, the resulting cacophony would be so immense that it would positively deafen those who had not donned their special and official Sir Charles Grandiose earplugs, lovingly handmade by youthful under-13 craftsmen in the Philippines so devoted to their artisanship that they labour at it sixteen hours a day for a mere thruppence, a perfect gift for your loved ones, available at high quality gift shoppes near you.) "Sir Charles!" they cry, thumping chests that sport a lovely and official one hundred percent soft cotton Sir Charles Grandiose active-wear sports jersey emblazoned with the official Grandiose coat of arms in sumptuous six-colour Ecuadoran silks, perfect for the active social climber in your family and available at the finer sporting goods establishments. "Surely you are not so much of a Scrooge as to scorn this joyous time of year!"
Of course not, readers. However, one feels that in this season of hustle and bustle, it is too easy to miss the true meaning of the season. One's reader's are out and about, decking their houses with coloured lights and plastic Santas and enormous candy canes. They are rushing madly about the shopping districts and the high streets and Harrods using their cheques and cards to purchase any manner of goods. They frantically lug home the Christmas goose and the Christmas crackers, ready to make the plum pudding and erect the tree. And then on the day itself, they awaken early to the screeches of the children as the little darlings plummet down the stairs to rip open their presents and overindulge on the sweets in their stockings. Fancy paper flied everywhere. The goose is eaten. And afterwards? The malaise sets in.
Which is why one wishes to reinforce, readers, that Christmas is not about the hustle and the bustle of shopping. It is not about the goose and the Santas and the mistletoe. It is not even about the exciting new computer game and trading card phenomenon, Sir Charles Grandiose's Authorized Pokelord, in which the novice Pokelord trainer roams catches and collects one hundred and fifty whimsically drawn varieties of baronets, earls, and dukes. The Pokelord trainer can then train these aristocratic Pokelords for battle! Yes, you can have your Chazachu face off against your rival's evil Fergusaurus in the official Sir Charles Grandiose Pokelord Stadium! Available at finer toy stores near you. Pokelord: Gotta catch them all!
No. Christmas is a season in which we remember the true meaning of giving. The nativity. The three wise guys. The star over Bethlehem. The shepherds watching their flocks by night. The angels announcing the coming of the lord. The 'No vacancy' sign flashing in the inn's window. A proud Joseph. A tender mother. And the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and set in what no doubt resembled an official and authorized Sir Charles Grandiose Genuine Imitation Restoration Style Crib, complete with the exclusive Crib Nappy to ensure that nasty moisture is wicked away from your baby's wee little unmentionables, and yet which prevents the crib's genuine Mahoganette finish from ever becoming dulled by exposure to your wee one's uh-ohs and baby spew.
However. If one's readers are going to give into the rampant and blatant commercialism of the season, they should do it tastefully, one feels. One's readers may not know it, but one is involved in several commercial ventures aimed to bring a certain dignity and savoir faire to the marketplace. For example, the Sir Charles and Lady Felicia Grandiose Action Figure Set. Whether dressed for tea with Lord Frost of Lockesley-Charmes (who is tragically pernicious!), or suited up for an evening of revels in the Crystal Ballroom, the Sir Charles and Lady Felicia Grandiose Action Figure Set is the perfect gift for the aspiring snob. Evening attire and Crystal Ballroom with Antique Family Portraits sold separately. Vibrating young Penelope Windsor-Smythe doll requires two 'AA' batteries.
However, one scarcely deigns to mention one's own products, given that self-promotion is rather--and one must reach for the French in order to express oneself here--declassee. One is afraid one's readers will have to search high and low for the shops carrying them. (List available upon request.)
With a hearty 'Remember the reason for the season,' one remains
for yet another week,
Vicar Eddy writes:
I am in worse than a quandary. Due to circumstances enough to make even such an elevated personage as yourself flirt with jumping off the White Cliffs, I have removed to the Colonies (why would we have ever wanted this place?).
These people, good God, they drive the largest vehicles that their credit limit allows and then brag about playing in traffic. Their fashion statements are fashion mistakes, and their treatment of Her Highnesses' language is even less forgivable (e.g. I "had to" "get the go-ahead" to "keyboard" this "memo" to you from "The Big Guy"). When my vehicle is based, they think I have had "a fender bender" I abashedly respond, "No way! (in the local patois). I am awash in nonsense.
The only good thing in this circumstance is that I spend more time reading the Book, if only to mitigate my soul in the wonder of King James' language(shamefacedly I admit).
What am I to do? My command of English dissolves daily under the onslaught of the dissonance of the "Murican" dialect. Pray, good sir, tell me how I might retain some semblance of civility in this place? (Please tell me it is possible!)
May I remain, your humbled servant,
Sir Charles replies:
Most reverend Eddy,
Hold tight to your Lord Chesterfield and your Pater, whilst you venture abroad. Keep thoughts of the Queen and the Queen Mother in mind. When your spirits are down, sing a chorus of "Rule Brittania" to yourself. Insist on using the correct terms for crisps, lifts, cookers, and boots, instead of the corrupt terms they use over there.
And if all else fails, make certain to purchase and use an official Sir Charles Grandiose Upper Class Semi-Automatic Rifle, also available with a Mother-of-Pearl-Type handle inset for the ladies. In Britain one is afraid they're only available by special order from 'Vinnie' at the Supreme Curry Shop in Eccleston, but one understands in the States that they are available quite readily over the counter at most chemists', petrol stations, and hair parlours. Don't worry about the victims. They regard it as sport over there.
With a 'Yippe-kay-yay, old chap,' one remains,
dere sir charles,
i am torn between my first boyfrend and my second boyfrend and don know witch one to chuse. i thout i were pregnint by one of them but when i took the test it was negative . i want to get merryed bad.
Sir Charles replies:
Dear little brain-spavined Sarah,
You took the test and it turned out negative? Let's be honest with each other, dear, shall we? It was an IQ test you took, wasn't it? One rather thought so.
Wondering why natural selection didn't toss this one in the
rubbish bin, one remains,
Dear Sir Charles,
I have been happily married for the past five years. My husband is a caring, sensitive, and wonderful man. I wouldn't dream of cheating on him, but, lately, when we're in bed together, I find myself fantasizing about making love to another man.
Specifically you, Sir Charles.
I am made powerless by your writings. Weekly, I gaze upon your column, and my knees tremble from the passion aroused in me. It is only a matter of time before my sweet husband finds out.
Sir Charles, I love my husband, but I cannot stop thinking about you. Whatever will I do?
Amorous in Argentina
Sir Charles replies:
My Latin butterfly,
What a tragedy. You love your husband, yet you cannot get the thought of one's ennobled visage from your feminine little mind, as you sit there in Buenos Aires, fanning yourself on a hot, sultry, afternoon, with nothing to keep you cool save a single ice cube, which you run down your neck and across your sun-kissed . . . ahem.
Well, one can scarcely blame you. One has a bit of an admiring look at oneself in the mirror when one shaves, you know, and one's eyes are not offended.
But what to do, what to do. One senses that your passion will not be quelled until you have seen oneself in the flesh. For your sake, my dear, one will provide you with an all expenses paid trip to Blandsdown for an afternoon's tea at a quaint little cottage on one's own estate of Blandsdown where we shan't be interrupted under any circumstances. (Airfare, ground transportation, lodging, and tea not included.) There you will see that one is just a man. A man with a devilish charm and a rakish wit. A man with a chin that in a certain light has been called "delicious" by many a woman. A man who has nearly still all his hair. Who could resist such a fellow, indeed?
Always willing to help one's readers, no matter how dire their
plight, one remains,