Thursday 19 April 2007


Guy Browning's Never Push When It Says Pull: Small Rules for Little Problems (Atlantic Books, 2005), is one of those volumes that I cannot allow myself to read in public places - say at a bus stop or on a tube train - simply because I can't stop myself from laughing OUT LOUD, thereby raising suspicions that a dangerous lunatic is at large...

Dip in it anywhere and there's a gem... Take Browning's instructions on 'How to be SMUG':

Certain clothes are an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible smugness. For example, polo-neck jumpers are virtually the uniform of the smug. It's a way of saying to people, "I'm rather cosy."

The word smug is basically an elision of smiling and snug...

Smugness, like ragwort, is incredibly difficult to get rid of once it has taken root.

The hot bath of achievement may have long disappeared down the plughole of life but the scum line of smugness will last until it's scoured off by the brillo of ridicule.


Anonymous said...

I shouldn't worry about laughing aloud in public... I do it quite often. It actually puts other people in a better mood and we could all do with a bit of that!
I have been known to laugh out loud in trains, airports, disturbing an otherwise religious silence! Go on, let it all out!

Brian Sibley said...

OK, but if I get locked up, it'll be YOUR fault!! ;-)

Boris Hiestand said...

the brillo of redicule!

speaking of brilliant, although completely off topic, here's a brilliant program I tought you might like:

get into the mind of the very loveable Stephen Fry

Anne said...

This book sounds like a lot of fun. I need to keep my eyes open for it. I imagine it can be found where I am too.