The Encyclopedia of Insulting Behaviour  (Anonymous 1981).

Forget the Season of Good Will. Behaving insultingly is much more fun. Over Christmas why not try out some of these stunts.


Insist on paying for everything in sterling.

Ask for local delicacies and leave them on your plate.

Drink Guinness or Scotch everywhere.

Wear your military decorations at all customs checks

Order a cup of tea at 9.00 p.m. in a pavement café on a Saturday night and sit over it for as long as you dare.

Wave back at policemen who whistle at you and wave their truncheons. ( Have your number plates covered in mud first!)

In banks

If there isn’t a queue form one by asking the cashier as many questions as you can think of  until the people get fed up and either go out or move to another window.( Questions about holiday money just before Christmas are always a success.) 

If there is a queue make it longer by writing your cheque incorrectly. Get the date wrong. Write another name by mistake and appear to see the fraud, enter a huge sum, say £10,000, and then change it to £10.00. Drop your pen, or lose it in your handbag while this is going on.

On the Beach.

Play your transistor very loud, but play Radio 3.

Take elaborate picnics with iced wine and proper cutlery, especially if you’ve noticed that everyone else is eating corned beef out of a tin.

At Christmas

Refuse to give any guests a drink on the grounds that it’s for their own good not to drink and drive. Have plenty of soft drinks to offer them though. Then pour yourself a large Scotch on the grounds that you aren’t going anywhere and don’t have to worry.

Send no Christmas cards at all.

Send the television set to be serviced on Christmas Eve.

Fill the children’s stockings with ‘useful presents’—O level revision cards, that sort of thing.

Turn up the television when the carol singers arrive and turn off the lights until they go away.

Read more: The Encyclopedia of Insulting Behaviour  (Anonymous 1981).

In Church.

Pretend to fall asleep in the sermon, if you don’t do so naturally.

Sing out of tune in all the hymns and try singing half a line behind everyone else.

In Garages.

Use the airline to inflate your dinghy and then buy a torch battery or a Mars bar.

When you go to collect your car after the service, take the check-sheet and crawl around underneath to make sure that everything’s been done.

In Hotels

Call room-service last thing at night, when the kitchens have just been locked, and ask for a cheese sandwich and a glass of fresh milk. Make sure that you leave them untouched and conspicuous the next morning.

If you are staying in a hotel for a business conference, sneak out after everyone has gone to bed and place several pairs of men’s shoes outside the doors of the single women staying in the hotel, but leave one of them with no men’s shoes outside it.

On Planes.

When the proverbial airline meal is served, tip the salad concoction into the ‘ little bag’ without being seen, then make violent and disgusting retching sounds into the bag, and finally start happily eating your salad out of the ‘little bag’.

( Editor’s note: this was one of the stunts devised by the late, great Barry Humphries’ many years ago).

If it is a short flight, spend the whole trip in the crash position as if you are expecting disaster at any minute. 

[R. M. Healey]

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