Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Well Said Graham Norton!

In this Telegraph's Weekend supplement (21/4/07) TV presenter and comedian Graham Norton has been serving as agony aunt for the Wellbeing column. A reader wrote him the following letter:

Dear Graham,

My grandchildren object to my husband (86 and full of vim) smoking his pipe. Brainwashed by their parents, they say that it is a filthy habit and that my poor husband, whose only vice is the occasional puff in his library, is 'killing' himself. The other day, when we were on Marlborough High Street, my five year old grandson tugged at my sleeve, pointed at a complete stranger and said: "Granny, please tell that man to stop smoking." What makes the young these days so self-righteous and intolerant? In my day we believed that what didn't hurt us was none of our business.

Patricia L, Wiltshire

Graham's reply was blunt and succinct and here was what he said:

Dear Patricia,

There is no one quite as priggish and full of self-certainty as a child. I suspect it has always been thus, but what has changed are the attitudes of grandmothers. Don't try to reason with the Nazis in nappies, just tell them to shut up and give them bags of snacks with E-numbers in them to keep their parents awake for several days. Have a bit of backbone. Your husband didn't live to the ripe old age of 86, smoking his pipe, only to spend his twilight years being hectored by objectionable children. Your argument is really with your offspring. They should be instilling in their children respect for their elders. Failure to do this is a far greater danger to society than passive smoking.

Next time your grandson mouths off about someone in the street, remind him that the person he is talking about doesn't still wet the bed, is allowed to stay up late enough to watch South Park and is big enough to go on all the rides at Alton Towers. Remember, there is no law stating that you have to like your grandchildren. It is possible that they are simply not very nice little people.