Saturday, September 13, 2014

Who lit the Cigar before the Toast?

It was only the other day that some of us were killing the night at our good friend Anura Dissanayakes’s beloved wife’s funeral house.
We had taken part in the usual solemn funeral house dinner and was yarning into the night of old schooldays pranks and juicy narratives that befell on many of us at school.
Rieza Sulaiman and Athula Thalagala kept puffing out smoke clouds that helped to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Many of us had quit the habit that some still find difficult to do away with. Srinath remembered his first experiences of smoke choking at Ravi Samaraweera’s in Welimada.
Thale came out with the lame excuses that are common to smokers…. of the genuine urge to quit but had tried shifting to pipe smoking and even changing over to cigar smoking. These are but only alternate ways to smoking… while quitting the habit can only be done by just biting the bullet and giving an abrupt stop.
While on the subject of smoking and discussing schooldays in the good old 60’s….just thought of taking your memories back to the Hayman dormitory once again.

You may remember  it was only the Hayman dormitory that had pictures hung on the walls above the bunk beds. They were all framed cartoon sketches in black & white, most probably a collection belonging to Dr Hayman who may have decided to part with when they left Ceylon

Of all of them I still remember just one with the caption…………”THE MAN WHO LIT THE CIGAR BEFORE THE ROYAL TOAST.”
toast B&W

I’m sure you do remember it now.

I have this habit of following up things that came across in our young ages when we did not understand the depth and wit  due to our age and immaturity.

I just went into details and found that this was a prize picture of a collection of a series that went on as the “The Man Who ……………… developed by Henry Mayo Bateman, [1887-1970] born in Sutton Forest, New South Wales, Australia; a humoristic cartoonist who was famous for featuring exaggerated reactions, just to minor the upper class through social blunders like ‘The Man Who Lit The Cigar Before the Royal Toast.”
Talking of such series……….there were to be many such during our schooldays like the “Do you Know the man from………….”; a song sung at college gatherings and mainly after matches won.
And of course there were others that developed locally…. like when old E L Perera was found peeping through a key hole while at Trinity College Kandy that followed him, where ever he went.


This act replaced the famous American cultural graffiti during the World War II  that came up on walls; “Kilroy was here “………..

It localized to  “Key-hole was here…………”

Going back to  “THE MAN WHO LIT THE CIGAR BEFORE THE ROYAL TOAST”  Bateman tries to express the imperious anger of others at the table. But it was not to be the case when the President of the United States of America made an etiquette blunder as he toasts the Queen in 2011.

Royal Etiquette & Protocol Tips says that :
1. Do not pick up your glass before the Queen.
2. Do not talk over the orchestra.
3. Do not talk over the orchestra when playing “God Save the Queen,” (National Anthem).
4. The person who proposes the toast should drink. The person being toasted should not drink to himself or herself.

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