displWhen is displeasure better than dat pleasure? When it is fresh, fashionable, and cheap. And there is nothing more likely to meet those three criteria than the sight of other people. We might be unhappy about animals, or architecture, or antiseptic wipes, but for good old downright peevishness there is nothing to surpass our fellow human beings.

They are bound to be either different from us, which makes them alien freaks, or the same…which means we know just how tiresome they can be. Whether the subject is sex, politics, or religion…or possibly storm door maintenance…we can find something about our friends that can make them into our enemies. And once they are converted they can be used to power hours of fun and games. Consider:

You are a disciple of A. Your friend is a disciple of B. If A and B are allies you are duty-bound to be so with your friend. If they are not, you have a perfectly good moral excuse to be beastly to your friend in obedience to A. I’ll bet you can think of a lot more bad things than good things to do in any one day and this means that you need not be bored at all.

Go to a mirror. Look carefully at your face. Do you have the sort of skin tone and muscular control that will enable you to lift the corner of your upper lip and sneer? If you can, well and good – if not, start a series of exercises to develop this. A good beginning is the lift the lip with a coffee stirrer until your muscles get used to the movement. Then you can also practise lifting one eyebrow – note: it is not as easy as it sounds and very few have ever mastered the art of lifting the brow on the side of the face opposite to the corner of the lip. Done well, this is spectacular. Done badly, people just think you have had a stroke.



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