A Gentleman is Like a Motor Car
As it gets older, the differential starts slipping, and the U-joints get worn, causing the drive shaft to go bad. The transmission won't go into high gear and sometimes has difficulty getting out of low. The cylinders get worn and lose compression, making it hard to climb the slightest incline.
When it is climbing, the tappets clatter and ping to the point where one wonders if the old bus will make it to the top. The carburettor gets fouled with pollutants and other matter, making it hard to get started in the morning. It is hard to keep the radiator filled because of the leaking hose.
The thermostat goes out, making it difficult to reach operating temperature. The headlights grow dim, and the battery need constant recharging.
But if the body looks good, we can keep it washed and polished, giving the impression it can compete with newer models and make one more trip down the primrose lane before the head gasket blows.
Gentlemen, start your engines!
Why Were Knights So Called?
Guy's Answer: It was the age of chivalry.
Will's Answer: It was the dark ages.
In 1912, Country Life wrote that 'few words come to convey so beautiful a meaning as that of "Gentleman".'
English gentleman never shows-off. Any blatant self-promotion would immediately disqualify one from being a gentleman. In this respect becoming a gentleman is rather like the reverse of Groucho Marx quote: 'I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member'.
However, down the years English gentlemen have exhibited surprising and amusing behaviour. I was astonished to read that Edwardian gentlemen circa 1905 had a penchant for tattoos, I was amused to discover that a partridge was their favorite motif. Apparently, these gentlemen had a shot of cocaine to ease the pain of the tattooist's needle.
Moving forward two decades, I spotted this advice on crocodile shooting etiquette, 'No compunction need be felt in shooting crocodiles, for where so common it is a constant worry to the natives'. As Algeron pointed out to me, no gentlemen would ever read a books on etiquette, they just absorbed how to behave by osmosis from the gentry who came to their stately homes.
What caught my in Mark Hedges recent article published in the times was this: 'No gentlemen would ever wear pink socks'. An idea that I beseech the women in my life to extend to shirts and even cardigans.
Mark Hedges finishes with this wonderful anecdote, which distils the essence of an English gentleman. A member of a club in London posted a notice on the board demanding that the nobleman who stole his umbrella at once return it. When a fellow member asked how he knew that the culprit was a noblemen he replied: "Sir, the rules of this club state that it is for noblemen and gentlemen. And no gentleman would have taken my umbrella."
Groucho Marx once said, "Any club that would have me as a member, I wouldn't want to join". Whether or not you agree with his witty epigram, there are some societies that you definitely wouldn't want to set out to become a member of.
The Shuttlecock Club
The Shuttlecock club is an exclusive society for anyone who has crashed on the Cresta Run (in Switzerland) and survived. That second part of the membership criteria might sound obvious but the Cresta Run is one of the most dangerous things a human being can do short of actually committing suicide. At times the gradient of the course is 1:2.8, which is nearly a 45° slope and riders can reach an average speed of around 50 mph as they hurtle face first off the side of a mountain. Members of the Shuttlecock Club describe going over the top of the embankment as being "more like falling out of an aircraft than anything else." Bearing in mind that the Cresta Run is operated by the Cresta Club, formed largely from officers of the Army, Royal Navy and R.A.F, if anybody can give an accurate description of falling out of a plane, it's them.
The Ejection Tie Club
Not to be outdone by a bunch of tobogganers, Air Force Pilots around the world who have ejected from a fighter jet, and therefore actually did fall out of a plane, have their own exclusive club. Founded by Sir James Martin of ejector seat manufacturers Martin-Baker, the Ejection Tie Club rewards pilots from air forces around the world who have looked death in the face, then blasted off in a chair with… a tie. While this may sound to be quite a simple membership rule, just remember the figures involved in this action. When ejecting from a plane a pilot is literally seconds from becoming a smooth paste on the ground, which is terrifying enough but the sheer force of the seat itself firing is enough to break your neck if you look down, exerting nearly 30Gs on the pilot as he takes off. Then there's the landing to worry about. Pilots routinely break their ankles landing from an ejection, and even in these practice runs the pilots make a less than gentle return to Earth.... ..... ..... l just to get a tie and a lapel pin.
The Association of Dead People
In 1976 Indian man, Lal Bihari, applied for a bank loan but was turned down due to the fact that he was dead. Despite Mr. Bihari's repeated assertion to the contrary, and also, despite being very much alive, he had been declared deceased by his uncle, who did so in order to gain ownership of his nephew's land. He discovered around 100 people in the same boat as himself and founded the Association of Dead People in order to campaign for an easier process of reversing a death certificate. Unfortunately this did not come easily and Lal Bihari was not declared alive again until 1994, five years after he ran for the General Election and was accepted as a candidate and 18 years after he was originally informed of his death.
By 2004, the Association of Dead People had around 20,000 members, four of whom had been successfully declared alive by that time.
The World Association of Ugly People
As terrible rapper Xzibit once said; "Beauty is only skin deep but The WAUP, or Club dei Brutti in its native Italy, see ugliness as a disability and campaign against the discrimination of ugly people in the workplace. Furthermore they also help ugly people accept their ugliness, get over their fears and even find love for the most hideously afflicted. Ugly goes right to the bone," and the World Association of Ugly People would only agree.
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