David Bouchier: A Few Well Chosen Words

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

You can hear David Bouchier on-air Monday mornings or by subscribing to his podcast, A Few Well Chosen Words.

My parents taught me to be polite, and it has always been a handicap. It didn’t take long for me to discover that politeness is a losing strategy, and that the loudest and most boorish voice in the room always wins. A polite person wears an invisible strait jacket, and is inhibited from doing all sorts of effective, self-promoting things, like yelling, bullying, insulting, and boasting. Unfortunately, these are the essential tools of success in the modern world. 

Liz West / Flickr

How many Valentines did you get so far? Statistically, by first delivery on Wednesday morning, you should receive at least three, because over a billion Valentine cards are mailed every year, which means three or four for every man, woman, and child in the nation. But, of course, it doesn’t work out like that. The young and the beautiful get far more than their fair share, and others get none at all. When it comes to Valentines we are definitely not all created equal.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Some people are incapable of being on time. They start by being born late, then go on to being late for school, late for work, late for dinner dates, late for their own wedding, and are only at the very last obliged to be on time for their final rendezvous.

Courtesy of Family Tree Template

Genealogy, the study of family history, has been around forever. Royal and aristocratic families existed only because they had, or pretended to have, a line of distinguished ancestors stretching back into the distant past. The right ancestors were essential, and the role of the genealogist in every age, was to find the right ancestors, whether they existed or not.

I sense a growing nostalgia for the idea of monarchy. It’s everywhere on our television screens with popular series like The Crown, Victoria, The Coronation, and something called Game of Thrones, which I haven’t seen but which I presume to be a documentary about monarchical politics. Journalists can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan, Kate and Andrew. The British royals are fully-fledged celebrities, at least as popular as Justin Bieber or Jennifer Lawrence, and with the added advantage of longevity.

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