Monday, 13 February 2017

On Being Selectively Nice.

It seems to have become a regular habit of mine to say something nice to a young woman on every day which provides me with the privilege of meeting one. Today’s little gift was bestowed on the young woman from whom I bought a pack of vacuum cleaner bags.

‘And thank you for the lovely smile,’ I said – without hint of affectation, I might add – to conclude the transaction. Her smile broadened slightly, no doubt in preparation for the joking and tittering to be had with her colleagues, and at my absent expense, over their tea break later in the afternoon. No matter; a niceness is a niceness when all’s said and done.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m the nicest person I know. (The fact that I’m almost the only person I know may be disregarded.) At least, I’m consistently and genuinely nice to young women, children, dogs, birds, horses, cows and sheep. All other categories, I’m ashamed to admit, have to pass an entrance exam and the success rate is alarmingly low. Accordingly, it would probably be reasonable to admit that I’m actually more honest than nice. Which of the two is the greater virtue will have to remain a moot point.

And do you want to hear today’s maddening little enigma? OK, here it is:

Today I got to see Poppy’s bottom half for the first time. (The proportions of Poppy’s bottom half have intrigued me for several years.) I also got to see Poppy’s dog for the first time; I didn’t even know that Poppy had a dog. And what a delightful dog it was. Unfortunately, I was not afforded the opportunity to be nice to either of them.

*  *  *

But of course, what I really seek to achieve is that one of these days a particularly attractive beneficiary of my propensity for niceness will say:

'Oh my dear, good sir, your niceness is an inspiration to us all. It gives us hope for the better future of mankind and illuminates my own poor life immeasurably. Is there anything I can do for you in return?'

... and I  will reply:



'Very well, then. Do you know what baked Alaska is?'


'Do you know how to make one?'

'Yes. Yes.'

'Would you make one for me?'

'Oh, yes, yes, yes! The word of affirmation! A thousand times yes!'

'Then the bargain is complete.'

And that point she will utter an involuntary squeal of delight and faint, but only temporarily. Soon I shall be afforded one of the only three aspirations left to me in this life (the others being a trip up the Yangtze and sight of the Aurora Borealis, neither of which can be baked in an oven.)

And being a vegetarian - as well as a very nice person - I prefer to see pigs taking flight rather than lying dead on a plate waiting to be consumed.

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