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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Erudite, eh?

Last week the Godfather came to town (my actual godfather, not a head of an Irish branch of the Cosa Nostra). He is a very smart man. So smart, in fact, that he came first in an episode of The Weakest Link and has been on Mastermind not once but twice. Apparently his specialist topic was so broad that the producers asked his to make it even more specialised. He is the stuff of quiz show lore. He is just that intelligent.

We went for a very pleasant dinner with my aunt and uncle at a chinese restaurant. In between the Hot and Sour soup and prawn toast my aunt exclaimed that she had shown the Godfather my most recent column. I wracked my brain. Did I talk about shoes? For the sake of the man who was supposed to be the light by which my spiritual wellbeing was nurtured, I hoped that I had talked about the collected works of Anthony Trollope and not something that Bridget Jones would find pedestrian.

As a rule, I take criticism at face value, so I'll believe anything. However, he's the only family member that I know would tell the bald-faced truth without reserve. After a slight pause, he pronounced my work as 'erudite'. I thanked him, prentended that I knew what the word actually meant, finished my meal and promptly ran home to the bathroom where, inexplicably, my Italian housemate keeps the dictionary and looked up the meaning of 'erudite'.

It means 'full of learning' by the way. I know I'm full of something, but I'm fairly sure that it's not learning material. Maybe it was just a kind way of saying that I recover gracefully from all the stupid mistakes I make as the family's token unemployed person. Perhaps it was a comment on how the columns are always presented with a convenient conclusion; a story with a moral disguised with the smoke and mirrors of oddly-timed quips. Or my learned Godfather may actually think that I am a relatively smart person. It's the definition of irony then that I can't actually think of a conclusion for this week's piece. Or maybe it's just unfortunate. I'm not too sure. I might have to go consult the dictionary in the bathroom. It's all a learning process, after all.