Cursed with a dismal social life, not uncommon in Seattle, I determined to embark on a virtual social life where I could mingle with the urbane, the scintillating and the erudite.
I decided I would resonate with the Yahoo Answers community. They answer technical problems mixed with cerebral deliberations of politics and atheism. I expected I would be welcomed, indeed celebrated, for my urbanity, scintillation and erudition
Not wanting initially to appear as a know-it-all, I began modestly:
Q. I have 120 voltage only in my travel trailer. Can I hook up a 30-gallon water heater to my trailer?
A. Beats me.
Q. Should Obama have to personally pay for the Damage in Ferguson since him and Holder incited the riots?
A. Sorry. I can help you on that one.
Q. If I am seeing Venus in the night sky then why does it appear to be blinking red blue and green?
A. I have often wondered about this myself. Let me know what you learn.
I knew that modesty alone would gain me entrance to this exclusive group. Yahoo Answers is not the Elks. But I imagined quiet, offline conversation between influential members:
Nigel: I say, that Clifford chap seems a bit of all right.
Ashton: He may have the right stuff. At least he's not one of those pushy ethnic types. Let's keep an eye on him.
Having established my modesty credentials, I decided to reveal my empathetic side:
Q. Atheists say "you cannot USE a book to PROVE that the stuff in it is true. This is called Circular Logic and is invalid".? So doesn't that mean you can't use evolution books to prove its true ? Isn't that also circular logic and invalid ?
A. This must be a trying time for you. I feel your pain.
Q. My husband admitted to me he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. What should I do?
A. What a bounder! This must be a trying time for you. I feel your pain.
Q. When pouring a simple concrete slab on a gravel base should a vapor barrier be used? Also, how deep should the subgrade be?
A. What a difficult job! This must be a trying time for you. I feel your pain.
I had demonstrated my empathy but not to excess. I presumed Ashton would recognize this:
Nigel: Lately, that Clifford lad seems unduly empathetic. Might he be Irish or Catholic or, God forbid, both?
Ashton: No. Surely Church of England. C of E endorsed empathy after the second Palestinian intifada.
I knew it was now time to parade my expertise. Having little expertise, I was forced to fake it.
On automotive questions, I responded:
You need to replace the bushings on the wiring harness belt. It is warping the flange of the Coleman rod. Those who answered that you needed a new camshaft position sensor don't know their alternator from their exhaust manifold gasket.
To health questions, I responded:
This is a symptom of trace element imbalance in your pancreas. You need to increase your intake of selenium and cadmium to balance your high level of boron. Oddly you should decrease your consumption of leafy green vegetables.
I now surmised I would be admitted once I exhibited a British stiff upper lip:
Q. The man just installed a water heater and no water is working now why?
A. Quit gripping. Get a life. Play up! Play up! And play the game!
Q. A friend of mine is dating my husband. Should I confront her?
A. Stop obsessing over minutia. Get a life. Play up! Play up! And play the game!
Q. Does anybody know anything or any tricks that will cure or stop a person's stuttering?
A. Life is not about tricks. Play up! Play up! And play the game!
Q. What does the shutter speed need to be in an Olympus OM-1n?
A. Faced with Ebola, ISIS and the inflationary monetary policies of the Labour party, you worry about shutter speeds? Get a life. Play up! Play up! And play the game!
Nigel emailed Ashton: "That Clifford lad may be one of us: urbane but not mannered, scintillating but not coruscating and erudite but not scholarly. Winchester or Harrow, I'd venture. He's shows that stiff upper lip. Not like those Bloody WOGS who are always whining, Should we invite him into the inner sanctum? I surmise that he will play up and play the game."
"You have be mentioned as a candidate for the inner sanctum" Ashton emailed me. "Are you Irish or Catholic?" Aston emailed me.
"Hardly," I responded. "C of E. And a double blue. While I disprove of neither Catholics nor Irish, I do find the combination to be in poor taste."
Hey, it's my virtual social life.