I am appearing on clever-clever egg-head Radio 4 quiz show, "Quote Unquote" tomorrow (only recording, don't know when it will be broadcast) and so had to spend my afternoon coming up with my favourite quotations about etiquette and boys and girls. That's two separate cateogaries: I didn't have to come up with one quote that encompassed all these things. And the two cateogaries are "etiquette" and "boys and girls". Not "etiquette and boys" and "girls". Though that might have been fun too.
I don't know what "Quote Unquote" panellists did before the advent of the internet but thanks to Google (other search engines are available, but aren't as good) I am going to be able to look like I am clever and well-read, even though in reality I am stupid and illiterate. Ha ha ha!
I am going to pull a smug, self-satisifed face after every quote I say as well. Not that you'll see that on the radio, but you'll be able to tell from my voice how pleased I am with myself, even though I have essentially cheated. The danger is that I will not understand the quotes I am reading out and will be revealed for the thick-o, non-cornish twit that I really am. For example when Schopenhauer (whoever he is, I hope they don't ask me) said, "Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax," did he mean that politeness will make human nature more pliable, or that it will destroy human nature and make it run off elsewhere, before hardening? Maybe wherever he wrote that thing he went on to explain and make his point a bit more clearly. But what if Nigel Rees asks me what that means and I have to say, "I don't know, sir, I just copied it off of the internet. I hate quotes. And unquotes. I shouldn't be on here really."
But if Nigel Rees says, "You shouldn't just have copied off the internet, you should have come up with the quotes yourself"
I will reply, "What like you didn't copy all that graffiti off of walls and then put it in a book. In fact you didn't even copy the graffiti yourself, you got other people to copy it for you and then send it to you. And made millions of pounds. I hate you Nigel Rees.... It was you who did those graffiti books wasn't it? I always get you and Miles Kington mixed up to be honest. And Fred Housego."
But tomorrow's recording has an extra significance, because one of the other panellists is feminism's Germaine Greer, who you may know is the woman whose bra I made vague attempts to steal last year, but ultimately chickened out.
So it will be interesting to meet her and see if she remembers me (I suspect she gets a lot of letters asking for her underwear) and more interesting to see if I can achieve my goal (now no longer useful for the show, but nonetheless my personal mission).
I suspect that one way or the other I will end the day in prison. But I will attempt to be polite. After all I believe it was Voltaire who said, "To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered."
If he's right I should win the quiz and come home with the tit-hammock of an icon of our times.