The piece below is a copy of a letter we received recently, addressed to our editor and accompanied by a note asking us to publish what the writer has to say. Stand aside, Mrs Malaprop.
I understand that like me, you have passed the age of seventy, so as one septicgeranium to another, I hope you will find it within you to relegate your readers with details of an enterprise undertaken in our village. We have formed an OAP group with the aim of achieving all-round cultural levitation by exchanging knowledge of the various facsimiles in which we have specialised. We call ourselves PILL – an antonym for Personal Improvement by Logical Learning – and I feel that our ideas may be a paradox for other isolated communities.
After a good deal of discussion, I was elected chairperson. There was some carping from several of our ladies, who claimed that I was assuming the role of alphabetic male and was guilty of misprogeny. I stepped around this hazard by invoking the soft answer that turneth away wrath, thus circumcising a potentially dangerous pitfall. The complainants certainly seemed to be largely emulsified.
Our venue for weekly meetings is the village hall. Someone suggested that my house would be the appropriate place, but I replied that this would not be suitable, since I do not receive visitors, as I consider my home in violet. There are usually ten or twelve people at our get-togethers. Conversation is always lively, as we are all fond of company. Indeed, I never encountered a more egregious crowd.
We have had problems, from which others might learn. It is all very well for those who live in large conflagrations, but things are different in rural areas. In our case, matters are exasperated by a shortage of transport. Happily, I managed to alliterate our position by offering all three of my family’s bicycles for the common good.
Our debates include a competitive element, in the form or a word game. As a former statistician, I was able to introduce a sophistical scoring system. Our progress has been most pleasing and has transgressed our highest aspersions. We have overcome obstacles to the extent that others in lower age-groups are getting the point. For example, one of my daughters, now thirty-nine and ten months, intends to form a forty-something society as soon as she becomes a quadrilateral.
The notion can be extended further downwards. We are concerned about the welfare of children here, and are at present in the process of forming a junior group, in which respect we are fortunate to have among us a highly qualified and experienced paedophile.
I would like to pass on two practical lessons we have learned. First, it is necessary to agree about financing. Initially, I paid for the hire of our premises. Happily, I was soon able to extort a promise that all members would pay equal shares, so we are inculcated against monetary problems. Second, it is as well to avoid high ambitions at the outset – disappointment follows lofty expectorations.
Sadly, I must regale upon my intention of inviting you to attend our next meeting. I was to be the main speaker, the proposed subject being my current particular interest, English language, in which field I think I may claim some degree of extinction. I also have not inconsiderate familiarity with French and German, so could be considered something of a polygon. Despite the protruberances of my friends, I have had to regurgitate that my vocal chords are inflamed by an attack of lyncanthropy. Perhaps we shall arrange something later. Now I must rush to catch the last post, as I am applying for a barometric passport.
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