The Life of Samuel Johnson, by James Boswell

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on July 24, 2009


Sounding Smart (without being smart)

Again, there is some (admittedly minuscule) chance that whomever you’re trying to impress may have been forced to read at least the Cliff’s Notes of this biography as part of some useless English Lit class they took. Still, don’t fret. At best, they may have some fuzzy recollection of Johnson kicking a stone and exclaiming, “I refute it thus!” Use this as a jumping-off point to really snow them.

With as an authoritative air as you can muster, note that evidence has led scholars to conclude that Johnson suffered from Tourette’s Syndrome, involuntarily spiking his conversations with profanity. (This has the added benefit of actually being true.) Then use the same method of set-up as a nightclub celebrity impersonator: “Of course, in the eighteenth century, Johnson would have used the profane words of his time, which I think might have sounded something…like….this…”

“Ods bodikins! I Neptune and his horses! refute I’ll be a suckling wolf! it Devil hang you! thus!”

It’s probably best not to expect applause.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mocking Otter September 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I saw this guy in Vegas back in the Seventies. He opened for Joey Heatherton.

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