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Tag Archives: tormentations

I gotz ur jug,
toppin' up ur glasses.

The moste subtle tormentation of the pour.

I was introduced to the following technique by the archcricket of Wales at a charity luncheon several years back – it can cause terrible internal consternation in the mind of the poor victim and will surely leave them on edge for the entire evening. It is primarily intended for the restaurant lunch-for-2, with a target who is sensitive to matters etiquettical, otherwise they might miss it entirely, and then where would you be?!

When you sit down with your partner at the table and are ordering, be sure to ask for a jug of water; (Oh! the other person must also be wiling to drink it elseways this will not work at all). So yes, anyway. You are to keep track of the levels of both his and your glasses of water during the meal; what you are waiting for is a time when you are just finished yours, and he is somewhere between half and two-thirds finished his.

Now, when you reach this point, you reach for the glass and fill yours to a level just slightly below the level his is at, and then you put the jug back down (Do try to make sure they notice this; but don’t point it out in some vulgar way). Then you carry on. Such an action will cause immense conflict in their refined minds as, on the one hand, you aught have topped them up, but on the other hand you seem to think such a quantity as you have poured to be sufficient for your own purposes. I am not, maybe, best able to explain the psychology of it in words directly, but I will vouch for its fantastic effectiveness.

When is not a beurocrat a beurocrat?

Two torments on a theme by bureaucrats.

If ever somebody should assume that they have been passed through some procedure, however trivial, that they might, for some terrible reason, be passed, through, you must berate them terribly for being so presumptuous as to think they need not worry about such things.

If they say that they need something for some reason, you must then go on, at great length, about how many other people in far more serious situations as them, you have also been unable to help, whether you know anything of their situation or not. In fact, if you know of their situation, you should supply examples, only be sure that they are by no measures as serious as the one which is prompting the other person’s inquiry.

No no, I mean the *other* sort of fault. (ho ho ho)

An argumentative fallacy

A class of reasoning I’ve observed in heated arguments between irritable people:

Person A does something that person B doesn’t like. Person B will commonly first remark something like “What’s this mess, did *you* do this?”, before going to say something like “This mess is all *your* fault”. This leads, logically enough to them saying “It’s all *your* fault”.

Now a piece of magic occurs, and the emphasis changes, resulting in “It’s *all* your fault”. They will repeat this again, using it as one might when saying “It’s raining”, so: “It’s *ALL* your fault”. This inevitably leads them to defensive conclusions of the form of “I’ve *never* done anything wrong”, with the intended scope being absolute and universality. There is a certain ingenuity involved in this sort of reasoning, I’m sure you’ll agree.

"plum" line, geddit?
(ho ho ho)

A torment for the purchasers of glasses.

That is to say, a torment for those of us in their company, of course, but that doesn’t give as snappy a title, and in this modern world of snappy titles, I feel that the reorientation of tormentations about the tormentors (as opposed to the tormented) doesn’t seem to fit well. But if you have any suggestions for titles, then please, by all means, write them on a postman, and send them in, and I will do my best to give them a jolly reception.

So, a little torment for today:

Let’s say that somebody has bought a new pair of glasses, just, and that they are terribly proud of them, showing them around and the like. If they are weak of character, then to spoil their burgeoning pride can take but a single sentence, spoken in a “tactful” (not necessarily discrete), carefully-metered tone:

“They look lovely only, aren’t they just, just a little lopsided?”

of course, whether they are or not isn’t the point; all you wish is to foist an embryonic torment onto their souls in the hope that it will germinate and blossom into something altogether wonderful.

Yeah, haven't been feeling the most inspired updatewise recently. Oh well. You guys all still totally love me though, so that's okay.

A torment for the “Mobile Generation”.

Restaurants and mobile telephones. No person of any class or breeding will ever leave their mobile telephone active while sharing a repast with somebody in one of our city’s fine establishments; it’s one of the big etiquette no-nos.

However, those of us who like to torment are not interested in these social conventions except as a means to irk and perpetually torment those nearest and dearest to us. So let me offer a suggestion how best to capitalize on this rule:

Either before you enter the restaurant, or just when you do arrive at the said establishment, your partner should in some way discretely turn off their phone. Check for this, and when they do, make some show of sending a text message from yours, and then comment to them that you hope they will reply quickly.

Now, you should spend a good deal of the first course completely occupied with the operation of your phone, sending text messages and completely ignoring your partner, and not touching your food for the most part – this works better if they are paying, but is satisfactory by other arrangements as well. This should leave them feeling rather tired with your behaviour before they’ve even gotten to the main course. And, of course, be sure to hold the phone as follows: both elbows on table, phone, held in both hands, raised to your eye level.

Now, in the wait between courses you should send a message to a family member asking them to call you when they are free to, somebody who you expect will reply to your request within the next ten minutes. Then put your phone away, and begin to talk to them in some seemingly earnest way, apologizing profusely for your ignoring of them.

Then your phone rings (Oh, make sure that your ring-tone is truly obnoxious). Now, you do all the things that you feel might annoy him – talk loudly, say that you are in a restaurant, indeed feel free to complain about the food. Now, and this is the piece de resistance: ask the person who called you if they would like to speak to your partner, and that you are sure they would like to talk to them. Then thrust the contraption in their faces and say to them, “Here, so and so wants to talk to you”.

Works a treat.

If you’re stuck for something to try during dessert, if things get that far, I can heartily recommend a course of constant mobile-phone photograph taking. Especially if you have the anti-pervert camera shutter sound on your phone.

Now! Let's see if you can't learn something today.

A stylish varation on a classical torment: playing favourites.

(Also ideal for teachers, parents, or anyone whose approval carries weight).

Playing favourites — it’s one of the oldest ways of tormenting those under your command, and one of the best. Deserved or undeserved, so long as those in your employ are honest workers who take pride in their job, it’s sure to breed malaise in the work-environment as well as any other method of wickedness.

But it can get a little boring, you know? Year in year out, the same sausages on the plate; sometimes you just want to spice things up a little! So, here’s an elaboration of the classic-to-beat-all-classics, perfect for the winter 06/07 season:

Say you are managing a project involving two workers, both kind honestly people. Pick on one of them, the weaker of the two. Don’t be directly destructive in their criticism, but take every opportunity you can to take over or suggest obvious ways of doing even the simplest of tasks, as if you do not trust them in any way; be overwhelming in your control and never utter a positive word their way. Pay not much attention to the other worker.

Now, eventually, and here’s what you’re pushing for, the other worker will say something to you in a very direct manor saying that the other is capable of doing work without your constant interference in the presence of the other party (if they say it to you in private, simply ignore it).

This is your cue: from that moment, do nothing but praise the fellow you initially harassed so much; laud his diligence, eulogize his adroitness – whatever you can. And don’t for a moment make mention of his co-worker, who did stand up for him.

The torments in this strategy are manifold. For one, the worker you plagued so much at the start will not in any way believe your criticism. More than this, if he comes to you privately asking that the other have his efforts acknowledged, you should ignore him; he will not say it in front of his co-worker for implicit in such a strategy would be the assuming of a position of superiority, something which he will not want to do. But he will consider doing so, and that will be an extra little torment.

The other fellow, well, he is the victim of the torment of playing favourites, but the additional fact that it seems to be punishment for backing up a coworker will damage his spirit in a far more general and long-lasting way.

These may or may not be communications of grevious crimes committed against yours truly.

Two torments on gratuities.

Given that I’ve cleared my conscience, I feel that I can offer some advice on how to torment people you are going to dinner with when it comes to the paying of gratuities.

Scenario the First:
It’s been a really good dinner. Both of you are paying for yourselves. The other person leaves a hefty tip. What you do is not only to not give any gratuity, but indeed to pay under what you actually should, so that their generous gratuity is completely nullified or, even better, reduced it to an insulting amount. If they do not notice this, let them know as soon as you have left the restaurant.

Scenario the Second:
It’s been a really good dinner. Both of you are paying for yourselves. The other person leaves a hefty tip. You say “Oh, that’s far too much of a tip”, take most of the tip-money from the tray, and put it back into your wallet.

Yay for always having a bunch of candles to spare somewhere. Yay then for powercuts!

A torment: Give a child an irrationally founded belief for christmas! (+ general insensitivity)

There is a great tradition in Ireland of sending sick children away to places to reinforce fantasies proportional in absurdity to the seriousness of their illness.

For terminally ill children, Fatima, Lourdes, or other similar places of unmitigated religious daftness, are often locations of choice; for seriously ill children, particularly those with leukemia, a Christmas trip to Lapland is often considered the appropriate place of call.

Profound question: where would Santa go if he got leukemia?
Answer: Fatima.

Insensitive suggestion: tell all the kids with leukemia that Santa got leukemia and probably will be getting chemo at Christmas so won’t be able to deliver presents. But say it in the tone of voice that really means that you don’t expect him to be alive by Christmas. While molesting them.

Greeks may rise and Trojans fall, as they say, but a tip a'taken never burnt no moss.

Compunction & gratuity: an episode from the guilty prehistory of my present self.

I was going to bitch about someone else’s behaviour here; I really wanted to, I mean, really. But the heat of my fuffing was, I believe now, due largely to my own guit at a related crime I had myself perpetrated, which I will presently relate you.

Here, come sit down and let me tell you the story.

I was in Eddie Rockets, late one night, with someone towering, striped, thoroughly lovely (now also equally thoroughly pass’d).

But anyway, we had, like, two malts.

Anyway, after our sapient colloquy, we were, like, up at the counter, and were paying individually.

As I recall, I had, like, a fifty, but also, like, just twenty cent under the actual cost in change. So, when we were going up, I was, like, “can I take twenty cent from your change to pay my way?” and that was sorted.

Only it wasn’t. Because, he, having paid first, and with change in hand, I saw him tipple the coins into the tips tray by the register.

And I, I…I reached in to the tray and took out the twenty cent piece to pay the balance of my malt, didn’t tip, then walked out…

The memory I have of that action still haunts me, and I have to say the crime committed against me that I was to bitch about pales in comparison.

…mes faux pas dans la vie….