Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How to Silence the Bore

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

How to Silence the Bore

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

Last week we opened the topic of Bores. People who forget they have one mouth and two ears. They just look around and see a sea of ears - and see their task as filling them with information.

Bores know everything. I referred to the Married Bores last week. I forgot a critical question the Alpha Male Bore asked of his Male Victim. "What do you do for a living?" Bearing in mind they'd known each other for eight minutes and only one of them had talked.

It wasn't actually proven at this stage that they were on speaking terms. The question is only asked by those that are banking on Having Done Better. You're not going to ask that question if you wear an orange bib with "I'm Brian - Here To Help," for 40 hours a week.

The Male Victim told The Rude Bore he was "in insurance". There's a critical word - "In". It's a really good catch-all phrase, which pleads with you not to probe further. The Bore was delighted. He followed with the inevitable, "What specifically do you do?"

He was hoping he turned out to be the toilet attendant. The Victim was a clerk. This has never struck me as being a Male Thing. Clerk. It doesn't seem to require strength, courage and powerful thighs. As you know, I'm a stickler for detail and so I've scoured the jobs pages and I can confirm the absence of Rambo-like qualities as essential for the job.

They ask for "meek to the point of mute, the inability to say boo to a goose, subservient in every regard, and a liking for polyester trousers. Painfully shy introverts only, please".

The Male Bore was delighted by the response. He said, "Oh," thus pitching his opponent just above slugs in the food chain. Then there was a silence. I prayed that The Victim didn't respond in the expected manner. Sadly, this dreadfully polite man couldn't help himself. Years of good manners surfaced, and he broke the silence in the worst way. "And what do you do?"

I nearly screamed. Mentally I charged him, dragged him by the lapels and shook him violently, screaming, "You fool! Why did you have to do that? It's what he wanted!" Instead I just shook my head. The Bore saw me. We looked at each other. He sensed that I'd captured him playing with his prey.

For an instant he seemed flummoxed. I thought he was going to draw me into his world. I was ready for him. "Go on, punk. Make my day," I said to myself in that rugged Clint-like way that I have. "Ask me what I do for a living."

I had the perfect answer. The one that instantly makes people recoil. The worst occupation in the world. The social killer. The Bore Repellent. I'd advise you to use it when cornered. "I'm a salesman."

It is always the end of the conversation. You'll not be bothered on holiday again. People are frightened of salespeople. They'd rather bunk up with Ron Atkinson than share a meal with a salesman. …

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