Tooper has been listening to friends complaining about ‘fake’ people. What’s to be gained from pretending to be something you’re not, they wondered? After all, won’t the truth come out eventually?
Tooper wonders if they are being a little harsh. Who amongst us hasn’t at some time or other faked a persona to suit the given situation, he argued? Aren’t we all a little guilty of gilding the lily when it suits us? Like when we first meet our partners for example, or at a job interview and especially when we’re staying with the in-laws! And anyway, how many of us can say we haven’t spent many an hour daydreaming about the sexier, more dynamic people we might have become, if only our parents hadn’t weighed us down with such uninteresting monikers as Deirdre or Derek!
In fact, he wonders whether we’d view any of the following in quite the same way had they not ditched their birth names before emerging as their rather more exciting alter-egos :-
- Tiger (sulky golfer, Woods) striding onto the 18th green as … Eldrick! Yes, I kid you not, Eldrick!
- Judy Garland headlining on The Wizard Of Oz billboards as … Ethel Gumm
- Marilyn Monroe serenading the US President as plain old … Norma Mortenson
- Tina Turner getting down and dirty and strutting her stuff as … Anna Mae Bullock
- John Wayne staggering up the beach in The Sands Of Iwo Jima as … Marion Morrison
- Shania Twain sweeping the boards at The Country Music Awards as … Eilleen Edwards
- Sting launching his world tour as … Gordon
- Jamie Foxx winning a best actor academy award as … Eric Bishop
- Sir Elton John being knighted by the Queen and her saying, ‘Arise Sir Reg.’
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Commy has been listening with surprise to female friends bemoaning a dirth of male ‘strong silent types’.
Given that they had previously always informed him that the key to any good relationship was keeping the lines of communication open, he felt compelled to enquire whether what they were now referring to as strong, silent types, might on any other day be described as Neanderthals.
Even so, Commy felt obliged to point out that important as it is to know when to communicate, equally important is knowing when not to! In fact, he maintains that every couple needs to acquire the ability to identify and acknowledge each other’s communication dead-zones.
When pressed, he suggested not initiating make-or-break relationship discussions during any of the following:-
- while she’s searching for bargains online
- while she’s choosing a new colour scheme or re-arranging her mountain of bed cushions
- while she’s watching some ‘throw-back’ on daytime TV get the results of a DNA paternity test
- while he’s having difficulty lighting the BBQ
- while he’s getting to grips with his new iPhone settings
- while he’s watching a televised penalty shoot-out
Tooper has been listening to friends discussing his tendency to ‘stereotype’ people.
While Tooper takes issue with the use of this highly sensitive word, he considers that what most other people define as stereotyping, he would consider to be merely … categorising. In fact, he believes that since the dawn of time, we have been pre-programmed to do so and that it has formed a major role in honing both our survival and reproductive instincts.
Moreover, he contends that making snap judgements about strangers is one of the few pleasures a trip to the High Street affords these days and offers the following examples from some of his more recent meanderings :-
- a tall bespectacled women, with a severe hairstyle, dressed in a tweed suit and sensible shoes – chair of the local magistrates or senior librarian?
- a bearded middle-aged male in a battered corduroy suit (with leather elbow-patches) – Liberal Democrat councillor or geography teacher?
- a stout bustling female with an alice-band, denim skirt (with elasticated waist) and with two large labradors in tow – Farmer’s wife or Secretary of the Pony Club?
- a middle-aged bearded male (with latest iPhone) in a black turtle-neck sweater and jeans – gadget man or aspiring technology entrepreneur?
- a tattooed, brooding neanderthal dressed in black, with a mohican and multiple body-piercings - inner city vicar?
and the one always guaranteed to cause Tooper to break into a cold sweat, if seen advancing towards him with a steadfast gait …
- a recently dismounted motor-cyclist in full leathers but still fully helmeted – obviously a mafia hitman!
Commy’s friends have been discussing Celebrities and the naming of their offspring.
Can there be any better manifestation of their egos, they wondered, than the saddling of their poor, unsuspecting progeny with such self-indulgent epithets as Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow), Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson) and Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee – an American actor/comedian, apparently!). Don’t they realise this is the equivalent of pushing their child through the school gates with a target on its back, they asked? Have they learnt nothing from previous recipients of so-called ‘hip’ names, like Zowie Bowie; who emerged, years later, older and wiser as Duncan Jones?
Then there are the celebrities whose PA’s have managed to confuse their potential-baby-name-lists with their bosses’ travel itineraries. Even if these children manage to avoid the ‘off the wall’ name-feste above, they run the risk of being christened as a country and/or city: India, Paris or even Moroccan (obviously geography is not a strong point, Mariah!).
However, they reserved their severest ire for those followers of a more recent trend. Those who guarantee their children a life-time of humiliation by naming them after the town or city in which they were conceived!
Now, whilst sympathising somewhat, Commy argued that, in fact, it could be argued that these Celebrity parents were doing their children a favour; rather in the manner of that Johnny Cash classic, ‘A Boy Named, Sue‘. Just consider how tough these kids would have to be, if, during some natural disaster (tornado, hurricane etc), their Celebrity parents were forced to take shelter (bored, without power and with nothing better to do) in any one of the following locations ..?
- Hooker – Oklahoma
- Disappointment – Kentucky
- Cockup – Cumbria
- Dildo – Newfoundland
- Intercourse – Pennsylvania
- Boring – Oregan
- Accident – Maryland
- Embarrass – Minnesota
- Bald Knob – Arkansas
and a great one for all the Brits …
- Twatt – Orkney, Shetland Islands, Scotland
Tooper has been listening to friends discussing how they felt they would fare under interrogation.
Whilst there were a few brave (some might say foolhardy) souls who felt they could withstand anything from white noise to waterboarding, there were others who were a little more circumspect.
Seemingly being exposed to any (or all) of the following would be enough for some people to start buckling under pressure :-
- ‘not being injected myself … but being forced to watch someone else being poked with a needle.’
- ‘being forced to listen to someone constantly popping and cracking their knuckles.’
- and from one particularly hardy soul, ‘being forced to eat the crust on a Stilton cheese!’
There did however appear to be general agreement about who they would least like to see in their cramped, fetid, dimly lit cell taking on the mantle of interrogator in chief:-
- anyone dressed in full clown regalia
- Lady Gaga
- anyone in mirrored sunglasses
- Christopher Walken
- anyone sitting a large black leather chair, stroking a cat
- Jack Nicholson
- anyone standing over a dentist’s chair
- Sean Penn
and an equal tie between…
- Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un
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Commy has been listening to one of his female friends castigating men for laughing at her so -called ‘irrational fear’ of using lifts, or elevators as our US based clientele prefer to refer to them.
She further wondered why men pretend to be so macho. After all, she argued, things have moved on considerably ‘evolutionary-wise’ since the days when our knuckle-dragging ancestors hauled their compliant (and supposedly grateful) women back to their caves. Is it too much to expect she asked, that in these more enlightened times, men acknowledge that we are now in the 21st century and lighten up a bit in the testosterone stakes?
Commy however, feels that women need to be more careful what they wish for. In fact he argues that, before women stage their emasculating interventions by (metaphorically) wrestling the remote control out of their male counterpart’s cold, dying hands, they should take a moment to re-consider.
After all, ladies, would you really want the following:-
- Your New Man agreeing to share the household chores and then providing you with an optimum flow chart for loading/unloading the dishwasher?
- Your New Man asking you to remove a massive spider from the bath … or passing you a jar saying, ‘Open this for me, wouldya honey?’
- Your New Man returning laden with goodies from the sports outlet sale and making you, ‘guess how much?’
- Your New Man keeping a secret journal of all his innermost thoughts … and then locking it away.
- Your New Man swivelling in front of a mirror in his speedos, asking, ‘Does my beer belly look big in these?’
- Your New Man agreeing that, as a couple, you do indeed need to eat healthier; before binning the wine together with the chocolate.
- Your New Man not wanting to speak to his best friend because he feels slighted that he was seen with other friends down at the pub and he wasn’t invited!
- Your New Man getting back from his gym/spa day and asking expectantly, ‘Notice anything different?’
- Your New Man coming home from work and complaining that he had to use Fat Bill’s keyboard and it was so… disgusting!
and if you’re still not convinced, ladies…
- Your New Man waking you unexpectedly in the night, wide-eyed with terror, saying, ‘Can you hear something downstairs?’
Tooper has been listening to friends discussing the growth and growth of the government licence.
Is there any activity these days that doesn’t escape the all-compassing gaze of officialdom, they wondered? And who are these people anyway, to tell us whether we are competent enough to wield a fishing rod, perform street theatre or even marry?
Tooper as ever, begs to differ. He feels that he sleeps a little sounder knowing that certain sections of society are already on the authorities radar and further, suggests a few other areas of life that are just crying out for closer government control.
He suggests training, competency exams (and a licence) should be compulsory for all of the following :-
- anyone considering becoming a parent
- anyone accessing social media
- anyone given access to cash machines, self-service petrol pumps or ticketed parking barriers
- anyone (over 60) who’s thinking of attending Glastonbury
- parents watching their offspring playing competitive sport
- weather presenters
- anyone considering using public elevators, lifts or self-service check-out tills at the supermarket
- anyone considering wearing lycra in public
- anyone considering causing an outage of the national grid with their outdoor illuminations at Christmas
- have I mentioned parents?
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Commy has been listening to friends discussing the waning of resolve that inevitably follows the start of any new diet.
Why does it all start so hopefully, they wondered? After all, armed with the latest dieting tome, an unflinching attitude to booze and chocolate and a new-found evangelical spirit, shouldn’t it be inevitable that target-weights are achieved? Why is it then that for most (quicker than you can say Friday night takeaway), the first full week invariably ends in a nightmare of guilt, recrimination and discarded chocolate wrappers?
Yet Commy contends that annoyingly there are always people who do not fall by the wayside. A few iron-willed folk, armed with seemingly unlimited calorie apps, encyclopaedic nutritional know-how and a heightened sense of righteousness, think nothing of boring their family and friends rigid with tales of their dietary derring-do. Then, just as you are about to take your first mouthful of dessert, piously paint a nightmare vision of the hell-fire, damnation and obesity that awaits all those who do not repent; namely … death by donut.
So, how do you know if you qualify as one of these scary target-weight tyrants? Commy has come up with the following quick questionnaire :-
- Do you ever wait for friends to order food and then just happen to drop into the conversation a complete calorific breakdown?
- Have you ever considered wandering up to fat people in the supermarket and randomly explaining the difference between fats and trans-fats?
- Do you ever have to fight the urge, when faced with a ‘fat family’ in the supermarket pushing a trolley full of unhealthy products, to either a). secretly replace some items with something more healthy, OR, b). kidnap their children?
- Is the highpoint of your day when someone uses trigger words like, super-size, Haagen Dazs and Krispy Kreme?
- Can you feel your palms itching when someone implies their weight gain is solely the result of an undiagnosed thyroid problem?
- Have you ever secretly tucked a weight-loss plan leaflet under someone’s mouse-mat at work?
and, it may already be too late if …
- Your family and friends secretly agree that the only person more sanctimonious than you … is Jamie Oliver!
Coming soon. Watch this space!
Tooper has been quizzing female acquaintances about why they are always so laden-down with shopping bags.
While most described themselves as not serious shoppers, just ‘lovers of a bargain’, Tooper wondered whether there were those amongst them who were kidding themselves. He contended that, while they may be able to convince themselves that their shopping habits were merely casua, some were teetering on the verge of ‘hard-core’. In fact, he felt some had been known to plan their assaults on High Street Stores, with a level of precision planning that could only be described as ‘shock and awe’.
In the face of a barrage of protestations, Tooper came up with a simple test. He asked that they check the following statements and judge for themselves how many they had uttered in the last few weeks … then decide whether they should be termed a shopaholic.
- ‘At that price I just couldn’t leave it there!’
- ‘No! That was for my winter collection … this is for my spring collection.’
- ‘Yes, but I needed another pair in taupe because then they’ll go with anything!’
- ‘You know I’ve been so good lately, I thought I’d treat myself…’
- ‘I bought this for you… and while I was in there, I saw this for me …’
- ‘Yes, but none of my other handbags have these darling little pockets for my iPhone and lippie!’
- ‘You know what’s so great about this? I didn’t know I needed it, until I saw it!’
- ‘Guess how much? Go on! You’ll never guess!’
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Commy’s friends have been wondering why they never come up with money-making ideas, unlike the person who, no doubt, made millions ‘inventing’ and marketing the blindingly obvious neck-brace.
Somewhat high-handedly, Commy felt obliged to point out that most of the time this had very little to do with true entrepreneurial spirit. Rather, it was more to do with the unique ability (held only by a select band of people, with virtually nothing to lose) to risk what little they do have on some hare-brained scheme. Some were bound to hit the jackpot and in fact, given the time, inclination and minimal start-up costs, he himself could probably do the same!
Having thrown down the gauntlet, he was unsurprisingly challenged to showcase his own money-making innovations involving the human body but precluding, of course, the most obvious ‘street walker’ or, ‘rough trade’ scenarios.
Never one to baulk, Commy (with a little time and a lot of prompting) came up with what he felt would be sure-fire winners :-
- HairRaiser.com – Wig-Makers to the stars.
- Company Motto – Our ‘rugs’ will never be pulled out from under you!
- BabyBoomer.com – No explanation necessary!
- Company Motto - Why throw the baby out with the bath water?
- Womb-n-Board.com – Surrogate Services
- Company Motto – When someone else wants to be left holding the baby.
Blood Donation (US only)
- SympathyForTheDevil.com - Blood-Bank Services
- Company Motto – It’s our job to get blood from a stone!
- PissTakers.com - Special rates for Tour De France participants! (and giving new meaning to the word, re-cycling)
- Company Motto – Let us make sure you come out smelling of roses!
COUNTING DOWN TO THE LAUNCH OF OUR FIRST CARTOON, HUMOUR PAPERBACK – THE TROUBLE WITH … RELATIONSHIPS. COMING SOON! KEEP CHECKING OUR BOOKS PAGE ABOVE.