THERE’S A SCENE in the first Lord of the Rings movie when Bilbo Baggins blows a perfect smoke ring.
“Your grandfather used to do that,” I told the kids.
My daughter’s eyes widened: “He used to steal magic rings from Gollum?”
After a moment’s thought, I nodded. Kids need to learn to respect their ancestors.
Although I’m glad the whole smoking thing is disappearing, I must admit that the most fascinating people in my cuttings files are the smokers.
For example, Japanese fugitive Fusako Shigenogu (above) was a “smokin’ hot babe” in more ways than one: she could blow perfectly round smoke rings which would rise over her head like an ironic halo. The cute criminal vanished in the 1970s.
By 2000, she thought she’d been forgotten, so snuck back into Japan. Then one day she blew a perfect smoke ring and was nabbed by a police officer with a long memory.
See, Fusako? Smoking is bad for you.
But my favorite smoker was a man named Sharmendra Singa from Rajasthan who used to blow smoke out of his ears. His father Amar Singh told reporters: “Initially I felt bad and thought that he was doing something wrong. But after talking to people and reading about him in the newspapers I feel that he has done something good. He smokes through his ears. That’s a big thing.”
Yes, when St Peter at the Pearly Gates asks Sharmendra what he achieved for humanity, he will hold his head up high: “I puffed 300 packets of filter-tips through my left ear.”
In an attempt to interest my kids in the high class journalism practiced by their father, I mentioned Sharmendra’s skill, but they were decidedly unimpressed, saying LOADS of people blew smoke out of their ears. When I asked for examples, they named cartoon characters. That is SO CHEATING.
On a trip to India, I saw a sadhu (wandering holy man) emitting smoke from his EYES. This anecdote ALSO didn’t impress my kids, who said it was “standard bad guy attribute”.
Do animators know how hard they are making life for dads?
The following week, at a swimming pool, my daughter dipped under the surface and blew a stream of bubbles from her eyes.
I raced to the doctor, who told me it was quite possible for humans to blow bubbles from their eyes or smoke out of their ears. There were loads of hidden tubes between the different bits of your face.
The doctor then showed me a trick that really works and was so disgusting that I had to spend hours doing it.
1) You put on some really loud, trebly music.
2) You tell people to block their ears tightly with their fingers so they can’t hear it.
3) You instruct them to point their faces at the speaker and open their mouths and nostrils as widely as they can.
4) They will suddenly be able to hear the music quite well through tubes running from their nostrils.
Most importantly, you take a picture of them looking like idiots and upload it to cloud storage devices so that everyone in the world and probably other inhabited planets in the galaxy can have a laugh.
FINALLY I managed to impress the kids.
YOUR HUMBLE narrator is off to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia next week. If you’re in the district, come and say hello. I will be at the Shangri La Rasa Ria from Monday evening and will buy you a drink right here (pic above).