Sailing through life unintelligently

Two close personal friends and I flung ourselves into a ferocious shouting fuddle last week on the topic of intelligence.

My friends left school at 14 and 15 and remain to this day two of the most intelligent people I know.

I survived in the education system a little longer, but still have nothing you could affix to my surname on a brass doorplate.

In fact it is clear, compared to my close personal early-leavers, that I am an idiot.

Of course, there are dozens of different types of intelligence.

Those who boom literary quotes at a prestigious dinner party, the lovers of their own voice and memory, are no more intelligent than someone who can fix a car engine with a sock tied over both eyes, or a gypsy who can turn a dove into a parrot.

Gradually, because all three of us are modest folk, we turned to tales exposing a LACK of intelligence.

This is, predictably, where I hit my straps.

After being left far behind by my uneducated close personal friends on pretty much every subject that was brought to the table, I then trumped them indisputably, like a Chinese gong announcing dinner.

It was a Monday at the end of July.

The list of things to do that day was as long as a city council memorandum of mislaid vehicles.

How was I going to get all this done?

The stress was so overpowering I actually left the house without wearing any scent.

Is there a man anywhere in the world who would do this?

No, there isn't; 30 years ago maybe, but the perfume companies now attack men with a vengeance that can really only be called vengeful.

They know any man worth his salt would rather leave the house naked with a large kumara between his teeth than go into the city unscented.

My staple coffee haunts, Diesoline and Nova, have both refused me entry in the past for fronting up unfumed, so I had to repair to a tester-filled department store perfume department to whang on something significant.

Moschino Forever immediately took the eye.

Moschino is a cheeky little Italian perfumerie with some very amusing concoctions for younger folk, but sophisticated, too, when the mood takes them.

Moschino Forever assuredly cut the custard perfectly for the cafe dilettantes and hospital nurses I was scheduled to confront that potentially catastrophic Monday.

So I went home to buy some more online.

Yes, I know, I know, this is helping destroy shops as we know them.

But half-price is half-price.

And in a fitting rap across the knuckles, I accidentally bought not Moschino Forever but Moschino Forever Sailing, exactly the same magnificently gross-lidded bottle, but with Sailing written almost illegibly, to a near-blind man like me, beneath the original's title.

When perfume companies bring out a new version of a successful scent, it is called a flanker.

But Sailing is not a flanker, it bears no resemblance to the original.

It is a scent worn by brainless cravated born-rich muppets who stand on the decks of extremely expensive yachts and shout ''Ahoy!'' to other brainless cravated born-rich muppets on other extremely expensive yachts.

I don't do expensive yachts.

But unfortunately, a process of wholly-defining intelligence was now required, an intelligence that never worked out those IQ test puzzles about transporting provisions, horses and chickens back and forth across a river in a rowboat with an oar that could only row left if there was wheat and an animal in the boat at the same time.

Plus the chicken was a vegan.

Intelligent people will know what I should have done in what order, but instead, I immediately bought Moschino Forever from another source, before asking the Sailing people for a refund, unless they had Forever in stock, which I assumed they wouldn't.

They coldly informed me they did have Forever, so now I have two bottles, spending not half as much but twice as much.

This is what medical people call Not Intelligent.

I so wish I had left school at 14 or 15.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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