Tag Archives: How to…

How to… be a bookworm

  • You don’t read books, you inhale them. Once you start reading, it’s going to take a pretty earthshaking event (or really, really rotten writing) to make you stop before you get to the end. (Skipping to the last chapter and reading the ending is simply not an option, as any self-respecting bookworm knows.)
  • Reading through the night and going to work / school bleary-eyed and half-asleep the next morning is a bookworm’s badge of honour. And nothing, of course, is better than having a day all to yourself to just read, continuously and obsessively (family and friends know better than to try and come between you and your book on a day like that).
  • Going to a library or a bookstore is both incredibly exciting and incredibly stressful to a bookworm. So much to read and so little time… you usually end up cross-eyed after hours of non-stop browsing and in a state of frenzied despair over what books you should choose out of the hundreds calling out to you.
  • Simple pleasures that make a bookworm’s day– that wonderful new-book smell (you’ve been known to stick your nose between the pages and breathe in blissfully), the joy of re-reading that well-thumbed old novel (in which you know every fold or tear of the pages), and that warm feeling you get when you see a stack of yet-to-be read books sitting invitingly on your bedside table
  • Book listings, literary review columns and such may be just something to skim over for most; for the bookworm, they’re the Holy Grail. If you find yourself constantly making mental wish-lists of what to read, and insist on lugging half a dozen heavy books with you even on a trekking holiday (because you’ll never get through your list otherwise!), you are firmly in book-geek territory.
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    How to… be a gadget guru

    1. Research. You spend sleepless nights on intense online research. You visit every techie site; you memorise every spec of the gadget down to the last byte or circuit or megapixel. You spend every weekend glued to your computer screen obsessing over which version of the gadget you need (putting up colour-coded charts mapping out the pros and cons of each is optional). For a true-blue gadget geek, this is possibly the most important step of the process; even more than the actual acquisition.

    2. Acquisition. This one is obvious, of course. There is no question of not buying it. Whether you have to repeatedly outbid a fellow bloodshot-eyed geek for it on eBay or you have to have it shipped at five times the cost of the gadget itself from some obscure corner of Japan or Germany; whether you need to pitch a tent outside the store overnight to be The First to own one or you have to trawl the grey market to get hold of it from a one-eyed Burmese pirate. The bottom line is, you must own the gadget.

    3. Give gyan. Once you own it, the job of the gadget guru is spread the word. Constantly. Loudly. And in exhaustive detail. Whether people around you want to hear it or not. All those weeks of research have made you a walking, talking fount of wisdom on the subject and you can’t contain yourself. Whether you’re at a la-di-da cocktail party or at a stodgy office meeting, your mission is clear — inform the poor, technologically Stone Age masses around you just what they’re missing out on.

    4. Online gyan. Let’s face it. Sometimes there just aren’t enough ‘real people’ around to enlighten. And for some strange reason, they don’t seem to appreciate being lectured to by you. So, once again, you take recourse to the Internet, that haven for geeks of all sorts. Now that you know it all and own it all, you get to be the one writing those long, supercilious reviews on techie websites. You get to put newbies and trolls alike in their place, and smack down pretenders to guru-dom online. Ah yes, being a gadget guru was never so sweet.

    5. Rinse and repeat. Unfortunately, the cruel truth is that there is no rest for the gadget geek. Because that next and improved gadget is always just around the corner, and if you stand around gloating for too long, the snotty-nosed kid down the street will end up owning it before you do. And there’s nothing sadder than a gadget guru with (gasp) an outdated toy. So it must begin again — research, acquisition, gyan… and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

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    How to… be germphobic

    1. Repeat after me: Hand-sanitiser is your new best friend. You need to keep one little bottle in your bag, one on your desk and, naturally, one in every room of the house, so that it’s always readily at hand to annihilate any errant germs that might venture on to your palm.

     2. Any and every new surface of contact must be viewed with suspicion pending further careful examination. A pocket-size packet of tissues (or better still, wet wipes — with disinfectant, of course) in the bag is indispensable for dusting/wiping those grimy cinema theatre seats (shudder) or messy tables at the neighbourhood restaurant (double shudder).

     3. It doesn’t matter if you’re truly, madly, deeply in love with them or if they’re your Best Friend Forever. If they have a sniffley, sneezy cold or a horrible, hacking cough, they need to keep away. A true germphobic makes no distinctions — friend or foe, a germ-carrier is persona non grata. (You might want to form relationships with the less-sensitive sort).

     4. The fine art of germphobia also requires considerable research. Every new bug making its rounds in the city must be thoroughly researched online, and every single possible symptom anxiously tallied against those of any family members/colleagues who are currently under the weather (if they match even slightly, see No. 3). Then, all possible cures must be listed, and your neighbourhood pharmacist (you’re on first name terms with him, of course) consulted on availability. It’s a tough life.

     5. Finally, the hardcore germphobic is not shy about spreading the message. If you regularly scold your significant other for not using a tissue when he/she sneezes or instruct your co-workers, schoolmarm style, to use hand-sanitiser before lunch, you’re already halfway there.

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    How to… be a chocoholic

    1. Some people think chocoholism is about an ongoing love affair with the Lindts or Godivas of the choco universe. Well, there is that. But there’s also no elitism in true chocoholism. In other words, you take chocolate in any form, anytime. Even if it’s that squished, mostly-melted last piece of choco toffee you discovered at the bottom of your handbag.

    2. For the hardcore chocoholic, there is no such thing as too much chocolate or a choco overdose. So, if you’re at a restaurant and the waiter explains that ‘Chocolate Explosion’ on the dessert menu is a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, with chocolate sauce on top and chocolate ice-cream on the side, your only reaction should be, ‘Mmmm. Chocolate’.

    3. By the same measure, there’s no such thing as too little chocolate for you to care about. Meaning, at the end of any choco binge, every last bit of chocolate must be scraped/licked off the wrapping/cup/packaging, dignity be damned.

    4. The worth of a proposed holiday plan must be measured by the likelihood of passing through well-stocked duty free shops (say Dubai, Singapore et al), where the complete galaxy of chocolates from Ferrero Rocher to Mars, Lindt to Hersheys and Toblerone to After Eights resides. The only thing closer to chocoholic nirvana is one of those chocolate cafes with everything chocolate (they exist, they really do).

    5. Finally, a true chocoholic has a tried-and-tested way of coping with the onset of choco-withdrawal. It might be gazing upon pretty pictures on Lindt’s Facebook page (you’re listed as a fan, naturally). Or, maybe popping in your worn DVD of “Chocolat” and watching it for the 502nd time when you feel the low coming on. Or, maybe just keeping a jar of Nutella stashed away at home/work in case of acute emergencies.

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    How to… be politically correct

    1.  The simple rule of thumb is this – when in doubt and dealing with anything sensitive, tack on the word ‘challenged’ to your sentence. You can’t go wrong. A guy who can’t see is ‘visually challenged’, a guy who is wheelchair-bound is ‘physically challenged’. But those are the easy ones. The truly politically correct go further. A short person is ‘vertically challenged’, a liar is ‘truth challenged’, you might think this column is ‘humour challenged’… You get the drift.

    2.  The essence of political correctness is the assumption that the world is populated with people who have very thin skins and might object to anything at anytime. So, you don’t want to point out any blatantly obvious facts about them — their sex (thus actresses became actors), their race (you really want to tiptoe around this one and become colour bl… er… visually-challenged), or their physical appearance (basically, unlearn everything you learned in your Kindergarten playground).

    3.  The often-overlooked ingredient of being PC is zealous self-righteousness. You marshal your forces against the -isms (classism, racism, sexism, et al) and you go out and fight ‘em like this is the Crusades of cultural sensitisation. You do painstaking training modules for bored corporate flunkies. You protest vehemently against the boorish and the profane in popular culture. And at all times remember to piously point the poor, unenlightened un-PC heathen around you in the right direction.

    4. Political correctness can also be applied retroactively. As in, you know, little Noddy isn’t having a ‘gay old time’ anymore. And, Golliwogs have been eradicated from the toy chests of little fictional children (poor ol’ Enid Blyton’s books suffered particularly).

    5.  In other words, political correctness is the cultural equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. Because, clearly if you change all those mean, nasty words, discrimination itself will no longer exist, and we’ll all live in that Utopian society free of bigotry you know is just a changed noun/adjective away (at the end of the rainbow. By the pot of gold).

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    How to… do girl talk

    1. The first lesson in girl talk is multi-tasking. Girls came up with the idea of walk-and-talk long before the cellular company did. Also watch-TV-and-talk, cook-and-talk, dress-and-talk, shop-and-talk… you get the drift.

    2. You also need to be able to follow multiple conversation threads at once. Any topic introduced before a girl-gang can — and will — branch into at least five related / random conversations within 10.9 seconds. And, good luck attempting to trace the conversation back to its root even a minute later (A Bulgarian professor of discrete mathematics reportedly spent his entire career unsuccessfully trying to find an algorithm for the madness.)

    3. No girl talk, of course, is complete without The Giggle. Bursting into loud, high-pitched giggles in any milieu (classroom, corridor, mall, restaurant…) is unique to feminine group behaviour (much like going to the restroom in twos and threes). In other social situations, these same women might be heard laughing delicately, as mummy taught. Not when with the girl gang, though.

    4. That brings us to the next big G in girl talk — Gossip. Everyone gossips, of course, men and women, the old, the young and the middle-aged. But girl gangs have it down to an art form. This is the only time you’ll hear silence fall over the group (depending on the degree on exclusivity, salaciousness, etc.) as voices drop to decibel levels a bat would strain to hear, and code language employed that would make an ex-KGB agent jealous.

    5. And finally, the one that confounds men completely — confidences. Girls share secrets and personal feelings to a degree that most men can’t fathom. You don’t just discuss what happened; you thoroughly dissect how you felt, how you think the other person felt, how you think the other person thinks you think they felt, and so on. If you just read that last sentence and knew exactly what was meant, you are clearly a veteran of girl talk.

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