Monday, August 15, 2005

Who Needs A Flux Capacitor?

I know what you’re thinking… Monday’s are bad enough without the realisation that you still have to wait another 24 hours before you can get your hands on a copy of your favourite, Scottish newspaper, the Daily Record, to see what the scallywag columnists have been up to this week.

Well suffer no more because presented below is a glimpse into the future, a journalistic miracle no less as, in association with Big Boyz Pizzas and some burd called Stella, bring you tomorrow’s “news” today.

The internet really is a wonderful thing. This week alone I’ve managed to pay a credit card bill on-line (using another credit card to do so) and purchased a bunch of nostalgic records from Ebay that I neither need nor can play - my turntable’s in pieces in the loft somewhere. I’ve also found the answers to questions that have troubled me for many a year; questions like “what IS the way to Amarillo?”, “who DID let the dogs out?” and “when will I, will I be famous?”

All of this e-activity doesn’t, of course, include the time spent in my in-box, wading through and deleting the special deals on Viagra and the guarantees of gaining “that extra few vital inches”, in the hope of finding an e-mail from someone I actually know.

Increasingly though, I’ve noticed that the internet now provides all manner of fascinating and practical lifestyle tips. With just a couple of clicks, you can peruse some stellar guidance on subjects such as “50 ways to live longer” or “top 10 signs of work related stress”. Attitude problems can quickly be addressed with “11 ways to lighten up” (one of which, undoubtedly, is to ensure that all such lists are even-numbered) and household disputes can be settled in seconds with “curtains or blinds? – the experts give their verdict!”

This week however, one subject area in particular grabbed my attention. I’d just completed a quick browse of “the reality of breastfeeding” (there were no pictures) and was about to move on to “10 paths to becoming a Jedi”, when I noticed a feature promising “7 ways to woo her by email”. Ignoring the fact I hadn’t “wooed” a woman since a previous life sometime in the 18th century, I dived into the article excited at the prospect of some serious courting from the comfort of my own computer chair.

Step number 1, “Introduce Yourself”, seemed like a sensible starting point and far less dubious than the anonymous stalker approach I’d considered in the past. “Tell her a little about yourself,” continued the article, “but keep this initial message brief.” Too early then, I suppose, to bombard her with vital statistics and Star Wars trivia.

After this straightforward beginning, things became more complicated with step number 2, “Match Her Tone.” Assuming she’d actually sent a reply I was now expected to answer her questions and ask a few of my own, all the while remembering that “it’s important to make her laugh but maintain your mystique.” So be open, inquisitive, funny AND mysterious? Sounds tiring. Next.

“Don’t Flood Her In-Box,”* warned step number 3, presumably because she too has a devil of a job sifting through all those Viagra offers. And just when I thought step number 4 was turning up the heat by proposing “Flirt A Little”, step number 5 brought me back to my senses with a timely reminder to “Punctuate Appropriately.” One can only imagine the emotional carnage and embarrassment caused by a misplaced comma or a premature semi colon.

Step number 6, “Sassy Sign Offs”, suggested discarding the formal “sincerely” and “faithfully” and choosing something altogether more snappy. I decided to resist the urge to use “desperately yours” and plumped instead for the sure-fire winner “may the force be with you.”

Feeling pleased with my progress so far, I moved on to the final step and came to an abrupt halt. “Ask Her Out” urged step number 7. “Plan something fun and take the plunge.”

This seemed like a step too far. How would I cope without the safety net of a spell checker and ten hours to find the right words? From now on I’ll stick to Ebay. Perhaps someone’s auctioning a date there.

*I really, REALLY wanted to “insert” a different joke for step number 3 but I don’t think it would have made it past the censors.


At 15/8/05 11:32 am, Blogger DC said...

Neil " Still Single " Sutherland

Surely hanging about the wine/ meals for one sections in Tescos on a Thursday hasn't worked - or you've been forcibly removed by security too many times.

If your internet adventures are not a success, perhaps it's time to consider a lady of the mail-order variety - check out


At 15/8/05 8:48 pm, Blogger Neil said...

Cheers for that Don - a weekly reinforcement of singledom is exactly what I need. Tescos, on the contrary, has been a big success with lots of free samples and a, now, encyclopedic knowledge of all available pizzas.

I thought you were joking with the whole 'bridesrus' thing but sure enough, I bow to your know-how and experience yet again. Is it expensive?

At 16/8/05 10:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neil,

Best column yet by far. Jokes about lists, even numbers and punctuation will always raise a laugh in our house, where we're only just getting over the trauma of Fraser wrecking our finely ordered CD collection with his anarchic filing system, which involves puling the lot that he can reach (which is Various, Soundtracks and Z up to P) onto the floor every day.

Good work fella,

At 16/8/05 1:19 pm, Blogger DC said...

I think there may be a "3 for 2 " offer on just now - ends Saturday.


At 16/8/05 9:46 pm, Blogger Neil said...

Stuart - I hope by 'finely ordered' you mean strict alphabetical order? Anything else doesn't bear thinking about.

DC - Cheers for the 'heads up' I've always wanted a 3 for 2.

At 16/8/05 10:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprised DC dint ask "Soaps - still single?"
But he came close enough.
I thoroughly enjoyed yir article. It is a scarey thought that there is a code of how to behave by email. Most people I know seem to content themselves with being even more blatant by mail than by male. Har har.
To brush up on pickin´up irish weapons, try

At 18/8/05 5:29 am, Blogger carl said...

Warning Neil! Female is the weapon which is by far more dangerous than Male. And she cannot be tamed even after dating or marriage. All nationality aside...

At 19/8/05 7:00 pm, Blogger DC said...


Confirmation of what I suspected - it's not just you in Sutherland-land who is suffers from an anally retentive compulsive disorder- I'm sure you'll be the worst though..... " I'm sorry Neil, please don't hurt me, I didn't mis-sequence your " Neil S.S. Sutherland 1976 - 1984 Photograph Collection ( Volume 3 )"
,honest it wisnae me ... It was Doug "

Stella seems like a nice girl, and I therefor presume that you will not now be interested in contact details of a lady known to frequent Tescos of a Thursday evening , roaming the wine/meals-for -one sections with a hungry, but all too often unfullfilled, look. I don't believe the story in this week's Falkirk Herald, ( Central Scotland's Biggest Selling Weekly Newspaper),headed " Tesco Stalker looks like Poor-man's Neil S.S. Sutherland. Shocker !!!!"

Don't want to send you into a jealous rage but I've got a date with Stella, vital statitics ( for all you stat lovers ):

- alc 5.2 vol

- 33 cl ( too small ! )

- Serve cold.

Cheers !



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