Of Bongs and Tams

Stephen Fry has a characteristically witty and self-effacing take on people who write regularly for a column of some sort, out of compulsion – monetary or otherwise […] So what of Bongs and Tams, you ask? Completely mindful of the fact that this is going to sound like the dickishness of an absolute pillock, here it is.

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Stephen Fry has a characteristically witty and self-effacing take on people who write regularly for a column of some sort out of compulsion – monetary or otherwise. When you get lazy or simply have nothing else to talk about, or both, there is a tendency to fall into this trap of venting about something that just happened to irk you. Stephen Fry calls it pining for the milkman’s cheery whistle – it’s the sort of article that practically writes itself.

It’s the easiest thing to do, is to angrily rant about something trivial, that seems to trouble nobody but you, and which even you might find silly on a less-worked-up day. I am not being lazy here, but I am trying to get something written and to get on with studying StatMech for, well, for StatMech. I’ve always wanted to read StatMech and I’m finally getting to do it now. Anyway, back to the rant: What of Bongs and Tams, you ask? Completely mindful of the fact that this is going to sound like the dickishness of an absolute pillock, here it is.

I was on the (crowded) bus back to IISc from JNC, and there was this portly Bong fellow who bobbed on into the bus and to the seat right behind me. While this in itself would’ve been no problem but for the five seconds the bus shook a bit when he performed said bobbing-about, something else was. The fellow can’t be shut up. He has a million things to say. And he has absolutely no concept of an indoor voice*.

He’s twenty-five years old, for crying out loud. How old do you think somebody has to be before they learn that 100 dB is not how loud conversations inside a closed tin box have to be? How hard can it be to understand that not everybody on the fucking bus wants to know how much you liked the chicken curry? The moron has all the sense of privacy of a raw potato. Not only does he not care about you listening in on his conversation, he practically makes you listen.

I’ve seen this often enough with Bongs that I am going to make the (patently silly) generalisation that all Bongs are indoor-voice* impaired. The only other people who seem to be this way are Tams. They have no concept of an inside voice either. None. Adult men and women talking about things that nobody but they could possibly be interested in, at the top of their voices.

And to top it all, the traffic was murderous. I endured a full forty-five minutes of nonsense yelled in a voice that can’t charitably be compared with a frog’s croaking.

‘Double damn with an extra side-order of damn!’.

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* This is what happens when you let an article write itself. I meant ‘indoor’ voice, as in speech in a volume appropriate for an enclosed space, not ‘inside’ voice, as in schizophrenia.

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