The fuddy-duddy sits ensconced in his study poking his fire occasionally. His mind turns to that first, and only, attempt he every made a writing a novel, the attempt which proved to him and the rest of the world the truth of the proverb: Those who are unable to write beautifully become critics. He opens the novel at random and reads a passage:
The passage: Billy ran really very hard up the hill, but he was out of shape. His breath came like a train chugs through a tunnel only this tunnel wasn’t dug through a mountain. This tunnel was a tunnel of potato chips, long afternoons watching television, and drinking fizzy beverages a lot. A lot a lot. The tunnel was long and dark and full of bad gas. Half way up the hill, Billy started to pray Oh God please don’t make me be late for class again. Haven’t we all prayed this same prayer at some time in our life?
The fuddy-duddy closes the novel with remarkable calm for having undergone such a trial as was the reading of this passage of text from his first novel attempt. He calmly sets down the book and picks up a silver bell that sits at hand on the table near his armchair. He rings the bell and waits for Beatrix. Soon his wife enters the room and looks at him without speaking.
Fuddy-duddy: Oh, hi, Beatrix; be a good girl and poor me a port, please.
Beatrix: Would his lordship like his grandmother’s crystal or a cheap glass?
Fuddy-duddy: Oh, grandmother’s crystal, and lord is fine, Beatrix.
Beatrix: Does his lordship want the red, white, or rosé port?
Fuddy-duddy: The… rosé.
The fuddy-duddy begins to cry quietly as he says rosé.
Beatrix: Does his lordship want me to push his foot stool closer?
Fuddy-duddy: Oh, you can do that after you pour the rosé.
Now the fuddy-duddy really starts crying.
Beatrix: Does his lordship want me to open and-or close the windows before or after I pour the port?
Fuddy-duddy: Don’t worry yourself about the windows!
Beatrix: Does his lordship want–
Fuddy-duddy: Actually, now that you mention it, the window shade could be drawn just a smidgen.
Beatrix: Has his lordship been reading his novel again?
Beatrix: Nigel, I told you to stop doing that!
Fuddy-duddy: I can’t help it!
Beatrix: I’m going to have to punish you, Nigel, and you know the way I do it you don’t realize until afterward what’s happened.
Fuddy-duddy: I don’t care anymore! Do your worst!