Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door)Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life by Lynne Truss

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Got this one in 2010 in Dundee, Scotland for £1.99 from a shop called The Works. Why can’t there be such massive book sales in Greece? For all the uncouthness Talk to the Hand wants to subscribe them to, the Brits seem to know perfectly well the importance of a cheap book.

The following two excerpts are two of the parts I thought were interesting in this otherwise unmemorable book:

…meanwhile the choice impulse is being exploited to the utmost degree. “More choice than ever before!” say the advertisers. “Click and find anything in the world!” says the internet. “What people want is more choice,” say the politicians. “Eight thousand things to do before you die!” offer the magazines. No wonder we are in a permanent state of agitation, thinking of all the unpicked choices and whether we’ve missed something. Every day, you get home from the shops with a bag of catfood and bin-liners and realise that, yet again, you failed to have cosmetic surgery, book a cheap weekend in Paris, change your name to something more galmorous, buy the fifth series of The Sopranos, divorce your spouse, sell up and move to Devon, or adopt a child from Guatemala. Personally, I’m worn down by it. And I am sure that it isn’t good for us. I mean, did you know there is a website for people with internet addiction. I will repeat that. There is a WEBSITE for people with INTERNET ADDICTION. Meanwhile, a friend of mine once told me in all seriousness that having children was definitely “on the shopping list”; another recently defined her religious beliefs as “pick and mix”. The idea of the world’s religions forming a kind of candy display, down which you are free to wander with a paper bag and a plastic shovel, struck me as worryingly accurate about the state of confusion and decadence we’ve reached. Soon they’ll have signs outside the churches. “Forget make-your-own pizza. Come inside for make-your-own Sermon on the Mount!” The mystery of voter apathy is explained at a stroke here, by the way. How can I vote for all the policies of either the government or the opposition? How can I give them a “mandate”? I like some of their policies, but I don’t like others, and in any case I’d like to chuck in some mint creams and pineapple chunks. I insist on my right to mix and match.

Finally, in the Guardian in April 2005, came the story of research conducted by a psychiatrist from King’s College London, which proved that the distractions of constant e-mails, text and phone messages were a greater threat to concentration and IQ than smoking cannabis. “Respondents’ minds were all over the place as they faced new questions and challenges every time an e-mail dropped into their inbox,” wrote Martin Wainwright. “Manners are also going by the board, with one in five of the respondents breaking off from meals or social engagements to receive and deal with messages. Although nine out of ten agreed that answering messages during face-to-face meetings or office conferences was rude, a third nonetheless felt that this had become ‘acceptable and seen as a sign of diligence and efficiency’.”

There was another good one about how everyday courtesy is becoming more and more similar to the kind of interaction you would expect from people behind steering wheels being angry at each other for one reason or another. This part in particular stayed with me because it reminded me of my dad. It was something he would say.

Now that I think about it, this whole book reminds me of my dad. It could have been written by him, in fact, only in that case it would have been a lot funnier.

I should just give him this book and see what happens.

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