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Globemanship: II

Beating the System

By Michael J. Halberstam and Gene R. Kearney

When up against an obviously superior practitioner of Globemanship, an audacious ploy, one best used by stay-at-homes of an intellectual appearance, is to abandon all pretense about having been to Europe and, indeed, to disclaim all knowledge of and interest in The Continent. The professional Inpatriate will wear a look of complete boredom while Europe is the topic, being careful, of course, not to let his expression be accurately interpreted as one of ignorance. Since, however, even people who have been to Europe are usually bored when others talks about it, the Inpatriate should occasionally interject a question such as, "Has England got rid of that awful Chamberlain yet?' In the ensuing astonishment someone is bound to ask, "What! Haven't you been across?" It is now that you apply the clincher, the beauty of this ploy being the two possible routes of denouement.

The first, and perhaps the simplest method, is to reply, "Why no, I haven't been across, not recently that is. Of course, I lived there until I was eight, but then . . . you know . . . the Nazis . . . had to leave (your voice should break about here) . . . wouldn't go back for the world . . . memories you know. But (brighten up here) don't you think I've done wonders with that beastly German accent?" Since the only accent you posses is a slight Oxford drawl, picked up during occasional inter-House meals at Eliot, your listeners can not but be impressed by the inherent veracity and pathos of your story. If they are true gentlemen, they will drop the subject of Europe immediately out of respect for your tender memories, thus saving much embarrassment.

The second method, while it requires a much braver intellectual front, has the great advantage of making your World Travelers feel as if they had done The Wrong Thing. When asked if you have been abroad you reply, diffidently yet with assurance, "No, never thought of it. Spend all my summers in Los Blancos, New Mexico. D. H. Lawrence country, you know. No, no Europe for me. You know what Orwell said, an old boneheap and all that. After all, it's the Pueblos that have the real past and the mystique. Matter of fact, they've got the future too. Other-directed, you know."

Perhaps the most effective Inpatriate method to squelch the regurgitation of summers abroad is to listen very attentively, occasionally brushing a tear from your cheek. When this has attracted sufficient notice you will be asked the inevitable question. Squaring your shoulders, you reply, "No, never. I'd love to go, just love to, but can't spare the money. The family, of course. Sole support. Work' in the mines all summer." Here you simply but dramatically turn your dirt-grimed and work-beaten palms to the assembled company. Since you have had the foresight to rub your hands in the loam outside the entry and since, as a matter of plain truth, you spent the entire summer rowing stroke for the Buffalo Yacht Club eight, your story will be unhesitatingly accepted. The assembled company will blush for shame for having so heartlessly tantalized you. If some of them happen to owe you money, so much the better.

These, then, are the general outlines of Globemanship, the building blocks for improvisation on your part. We would give you more advice on Europe except that it is so old-hat. Now, for a truly fascinating summer, we recommend Transylvania. Did some intriguing research there the last few months . . . Rhinebeck grant . . . strange tribe of marsupial women. Meet you over the punchbowl tomorrow and tell you all about it.

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