Anecdotes: A Civic Saga


Courtesy of the British Library

“When I met Elizabeth in Penang, I invited her to a party hosted by a young raja. The youth was an impetuously bad Muslim, and he was known to drink himself foolish and then become hostile to his guests. Elizabeth had heard his reputation but wanted to go anyway. Toward midnight, the raja was slurring and stumbling, just as everyone expected. He started to pick a fight with one of his cousins. Soon they were shouting at each other. Everyone else was quiet. Suddenly, Elizabeth insinuated herself into the conversation. She said, ‘Say, your grace, did I ever tell you my civic saga? About the rotator on the kayak that denned near the deleveled racecar?’ I thought Elizabeth had lost her mind, but the raja’s temper vanished, and he beamed with pleasure. He replied, ‘Do you have stats on that rotor?’ ‘Tut-tut,’ Elizabeth answered, ‘Every dud sees your gag.’ Soon they were speaking absolute gibberish and laughing like old friends. By the end of the night, he had given her an expensive bottle of wine and invited her to stay at his mansion any time she wished. When I finally escorted Elizabeth back to her hotel, it was nearly dawn. I asked her what on earth they had been talking about. ‘Someone told me the raja loves palindromes,’ said Elizabeth. ‘He’s crazy about word games. So I memorized a list of them before I came out tonight.’ ‘How clever of you!’ I exclaimed. ‘It wasn’t easy. I have terrible aibohphobia.’ When I asked her what that was, she cracked a smile and said, ‘Fear of palindromes.’”

Buckminster “Bucky” McDane, Accountant

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