The Smith of Smiths

Okay so if you’re tired of reading about the Dictionary (the Fashionable Nonsense one) then just skip this post. Don’t read it. Not any of it, I mean – because that’s all this one is going to be about. So, fine, you’re still reading, so don’t come complaining to me that it’s about the Dictionary, because I did say.

Although I must say you’re very fussy and demanding if you are tired of reading about it. I mean after all. Look around you. Do you see any advertising? Any PayPal? Any donation box? Any subscription? You do not. Is this place all cluttered up and junky and slow to load like Slate because it’s so full of advertising? It is not. Here I am, all rags and darns and patches, wondering where my next meal is coming from, and you’re tired of reading about the Dictionary? That’s gratitude! Never satisfied, some people –

No no, I’m only joking. You know how I am. Anyway, the point is, the prospects for the Dictionary are looking quite good. We heard awhile ago, in the summer sometime, that it would be in all the branches of Waterstones. That seems like a good sign (as well as of course a good way for lots of people to be able to pick it up and open it and read a bit and shriek with laughter and buy it). Seems like a sign that someone at Waterstones thinks more than four people will find it funny. Okay so that was good, and then last week we heard it’s also going to be at Smiths. That’s an even better sign. Someone at Smiths must think more than eight people will find it funny. Actually what we heard, or what we think we heard, is that it’s going to be featured in one of Smith’s Christmas promotions. But that can’t be right. We must have misheard, we must have missed a ‘not’ or something. A ‘never in a million years’ perhaps. ‘The Dictionary is going to be featured in one of Smith’s Christmas promotions when hell freezes over and Madonna converts to secular rationalism’ – that’s what was said but there was a sudden burst of traffic noise along with machine gun fire, low-flying aircraft, and a blast of heavenly trumpets, just as the clause starting with ‘when’ was uttered – so we missed it. We’re a little bit deaf anyway, and then the sound effects came in. Or maybe it’s the Smiths bit we misheard – maybe the Smith in question is not W.H. Smith but one W.A. (Arnie) Smith who has ever such a nice little bookstall in Slough, along with another (a ‘branch’) that his nephew manages in Luton. Quite busy places, both of them; they get as many as fifteen customers a day sometimes. And they do lovely Christmas promotions.

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