Tuesday, October 07, 2008

But was it soft and absorbent?

I went for a drink with a few friends last night and enjoyed a very nice curry afterwards. And, as often happens at these kinds of events, full bellies led to swapping funny stories. This particular story had me laughing out loud and desperately trying not to choke on my Bombay Aloo. I won't identify the teller but I will write it as it was told to me:

'I was out in Utah at a conference and, rather than stay in a hotel, an American colleague invited me to stay at his house. And it was very nice; his family were lovely and they made me feel very welcome. However, they were pretty devout Mormons and the getting up really early to accompany them to prayers took some getting used to. So did going to their church - the service lasted something like three hours.

'I was fascinated by the whole Mormon story. How did Joseph Smith Jr persuade so many people to follow him? He must have had extraordinary leadership skills and charisma as there are so many contradictions in his story. Anyway, when I left, my host gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon stating that maybe I'd find the answers in there. I thanked him and flew home.

'Unfortunately, US Customs were a little over-zealous and, for some reason, they opened all of my books - maybe to see if they were hollowed out* - and broke the Book of Mormon's spine. By the time I got home, it was in two halves. But I read it anyway. I started on the first half and, as I was reading it in bite-sized chunks, it regularly moved between my bedside table and the toilet cistern. After a while, I moved on to the second half of the broken book.

'Then, my Utah colleague called to say that he was visiting England. Naturally, I insisted he stay with me. But then I realised that I was away that week. However, I still insisted that he use my house. It was only later that I realised, with some horror, that the first time he used my lavatory, he'd have found himself looking at the Book of Mormon, on top of the toilet cistern with, apparently, half of the pages torn out ...

We haven't spoken since.'

* A hollowed out book used to hide things is called a solander. See? You always learn something new on this blog.

16 comments:

Janet said...

You know, Stevyn, real stories are the best. Great one! One of my blogger friends is Morman, so she MUST read this one!

Janet

chris hale said...

I'm sure you're already fully aware of this, but I've lifted the following from the internet:

Daniel Charles Solander (1736-1782), the botanist, was born in Sweden. He was a pupil of Linnaeus, on whose advice he came to England, where he became Assistant Librarian and afterwards Keeper of Printed Books at the British Museum. He travelled on the Endeavour with Captain Cook on his expedition to the Pacific, his situation in the Museum being kept open for him during his absence. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society and acted as Secretary and Librarian to Sir Joseph Banks, the eminent scientist. It is curious that, although unsuccessful attempts were made to commemorate his name, the useful book-form box designed by him, and considered the most satisfactory type of case for prints and manuscripts, is still known as a Solander Box.

So there you are!

Janet said...

Chris, perhaps Stevyn was aware of it - but I wasn't - so thanks for that!

Janet

Stevyn Colgan said...

Janet - I hope thaey have a better sense of humour than the chap in this story!

Chris - I was but splendid of you to tell the story behind the name. A few years ago I went into a 'Head Shop' that sold a lot of drugs paraphernalia (But not drugs. Apparently.) and they had fake Coke cans, holow books and things like that in which to hide money or, more likely, your stash. I said to the hippy behind the counter. 'Ah! Solanders!' He said, 'We don't sell mushrooms, man.' Absolutely true.

chris hale said...

He must have been a real funghi!

Did your friend's book of Mormon Wisdom mention Mr. Grimsdale?

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - Ouch. But I cannot begin to tell you how much I wish I'd thought of the 'Mormon Wisdom' pun first!

Debby said...

Thank goodness the man was Morman and not a Muslim Fundamentalist...

Janet said...

"Mormon Wisdom". HA HA HA! I, too, wish I'd thought of that one first.

That's a pun worthy of someone in MY family!

Janet

Stevyn Colgan said...

Debby - Very true. Or a Christian Fundamentalist. That's the thing about fundamentalism - it doesn't matter what the religions, cause or philosphy is, they all take it far too seriously.

Janet - I know. Clever sod isn't he?

chris hale said...

No, not clever. I just have too much time on my hands. Or, to deliberately misquote Douglas Adams, Reader's Digest has a page for people like me!

Katie said...

haha! love this. I would keep the Book of Mormon in my bathroom from now on!

he hasn't spoke to his friend since??! great sense of humor his friend has. ;)

Stevyn Colgan said...

Sad isn't it? (I'll leave you to decide whether that comment is aimed at Chris or Katie or both!)

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Oh my this gave me a great LOL! Btw I listened to your podcasts last night - excellent and who knew your other career!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Sarah - Tchah! My secret identity as a crime fighter is rumbled!

Jettboy said...

I think the funniest part was reading the Book of Mormon broken in half. That could be even more hilarious by stating what half you started reading. As to "never talked to you again," it was probably coincidental. Mormons don't hold to The Book of Mormon the way others do with The Bible or other holy works. The words are important. The books not so much.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Jettboy - Always happy to listen to another's perspective even if I don't subscribe to it. Welcome.