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Saturday 11 August, Smarty Pants attended two wedding receptions—one a luncheon and another a dinner. He caught up with several old friends—and that is a literal “old”.

‘Interesting,’ said Smarty Pants. ‘With every passing year we meet more and more at weddings and funerals. Weddings of our children and funerals of our friends.’

In Asian culture, whether Chinese, Indian, or extra-terrestrial—take your pick—one does not mention “funeral” in a wedding reception. But his remark elicited a chorus of empathetic responses, with one old fellah saying that he scanned the obituary section of the newspapers every day and without fail.

‘Let me know if you see my name listed,’ said Smarty Pants, reminding everyone how that name came about.

Talk gravitated to one’s age, and everyone called out their ages. The unwritten rule was, the older the better because in Asian culture old age is often related to dentures, incontinence, and wisdom. It demands a special diet, adult diapers, and respect.

Mr Obituary Man grandstanded and announced he was seventy–six years old. That put everyone, including Smarty Pants who was in his sixties, in their places. But Smarty Pants had a comeback. He was slower now and it was all the fault of his brain cells. But he always had a comeback. He said,

‘You people can be old and wise. I’m quite happy to remain young and good looking.’

Fortunately, in Asian culture one does not drench wise guys with beer. They rather laugh and pee in their pants.

But Smarty spoke only the truth. He started jogging about a year ago. To keep healthy, live long, and drive the rest of his friends nuts. New to jogging, he saw himself as young in the sport. That made him young, he argued. Yes, go figure.

(You’re welcome to use this spin if anyone asks your age.)

As for the “good looking” part, one has to only ask his mother. He already bribed her for such eventualities. And she took the money and went to the happy hunting grounds to harangue her 13th husband. No one told him 13 was an unlucky number. Poor fellow.

Smarty Pants, ever the man who loved having the last word, said,

‘Guess what, today’s my birthday and thank you all for taking the trouble to attend.’

Again, Asian culture saved his day. One does not jeer and boo at wedding receptions. Unless it was your favourite politician taking his seventh wife—another intern, and for good measure this time a guy. No #metoo issues here.

No one believed it was Smarty’s birthday. The Boss—a.k.a. the wife—was summoned from another corner of the reception hall where she and her clackitty friends (they clack like chicken but continued to consider themselves kittens) were deciding the fate of the world. Just so you know, Smarty has forgotten to bribe his boss.

Did Smarty Pants speak the truth? Was 11th August really his birthday? Will the Boss spill the beans? Did Leonid Brezhnev suffer from incontinence?

(Sneaked in that last question to see whether you were paying attention.)

Join Smarty Pants next Monday for the second and concluding episode.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018 ***