Becoming a successful raconteur is a question of verbal ingenuity, a talent for the theatrical… and vapour.
This is something I learned from three immensely talented individuals: Herman Charles Bosman, Patrick Mynhardt and a sure-footed individual by the name of Jake Klipspringer. If you want to tell a story to optimum effect, you must know the precise moment to pause. And when this precise moment arrives, you must let your silence do the talking… preferably for no less than one and a half minutes. Next you must clear out your old meerschaum pipe by knocking it out methodically on the heel of your hobnailed boot. And then you must clear out the old throat, you know – with a HACKER-HACKER-HACK-HIC-HAK-HOC-HOODIE-DOODIE-HAK-HAK-HAK. Don’t hold back, my friend. Project your cough as if your life depended on it: there is no advantage in being a tentative cougher.
You have to know exactly when to suspend your prolonged monologue – and when to initiate another conspicuous diversion: such as, for instance, trying to build a complicated pyramid out of a collection of matchsticks and then purposefully scattering them all over the place – accidentally on purpose – as if you were Helen Keller trying to operate a jackhammer in a public library. (I’ll get to the subject of actual smoking a bit later on, so please bear with me.)
(A vigorous pause is strongly recommended here.)
Okay, back to the situation I was originally talking about. To reiterate: you must suspend your monologue at precisely the right moment and then punctuate it with an appropriately provocative type of question – a question which can hang ominously in the air like a stranded Zeppelin or a giant inflatable condom insinuating itself into the vicinity.
Here are a few examples of the type of question you could ask:
‘Do you know the grisly truth about Custer’s last stand?’ or alternatively, ‘Do you know that one of Sitting Bull’s Generals was a warrior by the name of Big Nose?’ (This one’s actually true. However, as a general rule of thumb, one should avoid the truth wherever possible.)
Or how about these ones designed to irritate British or American audiences?
‘Do you know they have proof, that Winston Churchill was a Lieutenant Colonel in the KGB?’
Or ‘Do you know that President Abraham Lincoln used to keep a penis enlarger in his top hat?’
(It’s very good for raconteurs to push the envelope and be as obnoxious as possible.)
But let me backtrack once again. As I’ve already stated, your question will be much more effective if it is interspersed with a pause: especially if that pause is pregnant. And especially if it is followed by a question involving pregnancy. Such as:
‘Do you know that Mother Theresa was pregnant at the time of her canonisation?’
Or ‘Do you know, that pregnant ostriches have been known to give birth at a speed of 77 miles per hour?’ Or as a non-pregnant follow-up
‘Do you know that the Dalai Lama is not, strictly speaking, a species of Llama?’
And let me now address the burning issue of this piece. Vaping (that is, the exuberant smoking of an electronic cigarette) has now unquestionably replaced the proverbial old meerschaum and matches which I mentioned in the opening paragraph. It’s official. The e-cigarette is now the best practice instrument for the raconteur. Do not look back in anger… for this is a fact of life. Choose an e-cigarettte and the crowds will immediately begin to gather around you. And, as the Farrelly brothers have observed, women will instinctively flock to you like the salmon of Capistrano.
Excellent – this is all good. And when you eventually exhale – your e-cigarette will emit a white puff of awesome proportions. This is much more impactful than anything that could be achieved using the old technology – a pipe, a cigar or a cigarette. Vaping outperforms smoking, 6-0 6-0 6-0. Vaping is like Puff the Magic Dragon meets Sasolburg. Vapour billows out everywhere in gigantic plumes of aromatic euphoria; vapour emits from every orifice. Random bystanders start sprinting for cover. The Maitre-D rushes into the area to see whether something has gone wrong with the flambéed ostrich steaks.
Others think that a new Pope might have been unexpectedly elected during a snap vote or something like that. Buttoned-down thinkers state that there cannot be smoke without fire. Perhaps. Provided you can talk the talk and have one of these electronic cigarettes in your possession – you can command an audience wherever and whenever you choose.
And if you have a spare mirror available you can achieve a whole lot of other astonishing results.
~ Gordon Stuart