Just when you thought you’ve got some time dedicated to not learning anything new, then all of these discoveries pop out of nowhere, begging for your attention. Now you may think that some of these are as meaningful as the discovery of the secret to Methuselah’s 969 years of life — that he followed a strict diet of garlic and beetroot — but here are some points to ponder.
1. Don’t ever choose a book by Bill Bryson as toilet reading when you’ve picked up a tummy bug.
2. Don’t ever read a Bill Bryson book during those vacant timeslots between counselling appointments. There is a slight possibility that while the person is telling you about their life’s miseries you will in fact conjure up images of toity jars, the strategic holes in sneakers and the unexplained burn on Uncle Dick’s bald spot. Advanced empathy with a smile on your face, the occasional explosion of what sounds like a laugh-disguised-as-a-sneeze-mixed-with-spittle-and-trying-to-keep-all-else (point 1)-contained, doesn’t quite work.
3. Why buy a piece of fossilised dinosaur faeces from a rock and fossil exhibition at Menlyn? For heaven’s sake! How do you explain the presence of a 120 million year old turd on your desk? You can’t even try and sound intelligent by saying “This is a piece of pedigrius dinopoefus excreted from the primary orifice of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We know that it was a T-Rex, because if you look carefully you can see a half-chewed piece of Brontosaurus’ upper lip – a species only devoured by the ferocious T. Now it’s a paperweight”. Despite being laughed at, you may actually be the beneficiary of a generous smack over the head and called names for the rest of your life.
Ignore these lessons, and by all means do, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you.