Sunday, 15 July 2007

"On Being Interesting" published July 15

The long cold days of winter are threatening to turn us all into tiresome, jumper wearing people with nothing better to do than read books in front of the fire, slow cook pieces of meat which should have been fed to the dog but masquerade as comfort food, and start doing the Herald crossword. By July it always becomes essential to find ways to make yourself more interesting when you are forced out into the cold and exposed to others. Here are some ideas:
If you’re a girl shave your head for charity and post a picture of yourself on the net. Guaranteed to generate a few gasps from your friends and colleagues but highly unlikely to get you laid in the very near future. In fact not even the near future, try next winter when you’re hair has grown an inch or two.
Tell everyone you’re on the Global Poverty diet. You’ve just read the No Nonsense guide to World Poverty and were so moved by the story of Farida Bibi from a village on the Bay of Bengal whose family chews rags to ease the hunger pains that you can no longer put anything in your mouth without tasting rags. You’ve already lost two kgs and you’re having talks with a publisher about a possible book deal. It could go global.
Consider the vest. A bullet proof vest sends a really intriguing message that you’ve just popped in from a hostage siege or perhaps you’re a duck hunter who is worried his mates might mistake you for a duck. Either way it makes for fairly interesting conversation and you can even buy one on Trade Me at the moment – closes tonight 6.31pm, $1 reserve. Or how about a visibility vest? Available at all good $2 shops this says you have an important job on the roads, you’re an ambulance driver or you lead the walking bus to school. All interesting pursuits guaranteed to keep the conversation flowing for a while and always leads to a spirited discussion on fluro choices for winter: yellow, orange or pink.
Email all your friends You Tube clips. Nothing says “interesting” quite like clips of TV shows they’ve never seen, or indeed never wanted to see. But it proves that you are “up with what’s happening” along with the other 100 million people who log on every day.
Email your friends obscure websites like where you have catalogued your entire book collection, complete with the cover art and you just wanted them to know how many books you have. Fascinating and good for insurance purposes if the house burns down. You can also tell them a bit about yourself such as the fact that in the last year you’ve given a voice to the disposed homeless defended the dignity of the old and helped the anger of the young grow into understanding. Not to mention turning dreams of a future into a living experience and assisted others to connect and walk the talk.
Start “accidentally” wearing your work photo ID outside of work. It’s a great conversation starter as everyone in the pub reminds you you’ve got it on, it sends the message that you are employed and that you work for a really big firm and the words “Accounts Dept” or “Call Centre” are too small for anyone to read from a polite distance.
Don’t wear black. Nothing says “positive attitude” and “sunny disposition” quite like a splash of orange and lime on a dull winter’s day. You may be confused for Theresa Gattung “kicking back”, but hey you were noticed.
Get drunk. You’ll be interesting for approximately one hour so do realise that after that you need to get home fast to your comfort food, your fire and a soothing dose of Coro St.
Start a blog. I did ( and the abuse was so overpowering I had to block the comments section for a few days just to get over it. The only person who was a bit nice to me confessed on another blog that he was just sucking up so I’d put his blog address in this column and get him a few more hits. It’s an ugly world but go there and you’ll at least have something to talk about even if your self-esteem has been reduced to the level of the rags starving children suck in India.

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