This week I should have been at a secret location, watching a bunch of luminaries (or might that be loonies?) give a whole load of presentations about the particular slice of business in which we are all involved. While there is the occasional gem, all too often one can be subjected to death by powerpoint (reminds me of an old joke where a savage chief offers three captives a choice between 'death or bobo'). I wonder what the collective term is for 'presentations' - yawn, perhaps? Or maybe itch, fidget or slumber...
In fact, I should have been giving my own presentation "Knitting Hamsters for Beginners", but the fates have conspired to keep me safe and sound at home instead of sending me off in a metal tube, 30,000 ft in the air, with three hundred other people and, if the UK gutter press is to be believed, a couple of microgrammes of Polonium 210. (Polonium is a type of fermented sausage popular in Eastern Europe, and 210 refers to its length, in millimeters. It is one of the most poisonous substances known. Two microgrammes of this stuff is enough to kill the entire audience at a matinee performance of the Mousetrap, or would be, if they weren't already dead anyway.)
These days, a powerpoint presentation is probably the closest today's busy executive comes to sitting down and watching some good, old fashioned amateur (see last week's post) dramatics. That might be a shame, but for the fact that some of the worst ones are unintentionally funny. The correct way to show 'appreciation' of such a production in times past would have been to pelt the perpetrators (I beg your pardon, I meant, of course, performers) with a selection of rotten fruit and vegetables. That's no easy these days since most produce is genetically engineered, irradiated, vacuum packed or in some other way buggered about with so that it doesn't go rotten, even on a boat journey from Papua, New Guinea, to Guildford. (Watching a container ship try to dock at Guildford is a pleasantly futile way to spend an afternoon, by the way.)
Lets not forget that fruit and vegetables in their natural state are most certainly too 'earthy' for today's executive to soil his hands with, so the projectile of choice will have moved on. I offer, for your consideration, a selection of modern and upmarket projectiles and delivery systems suitable for livening up these very occasions.
- Crystallised citrus fruit slices. Rock hard, and entirely cased in an abrasive sugar coating, these are the ninja stars of the confectionery world. The mental scars will outlast the physical grazing earned by unwary presenters who encounter a deftly flung slice of sugared lime.
- Chocolate Brazil nuts. The shiny plastic-like coating of chocolate on these increasingly scarce nuts reduces their wind resistance to almost zero. It's a little reported fact that NASA is currently engaged in covering one of its space shuttles entirely in a mixture of Hershey's and carnauba wax in what I am sure will be a successful attempt to obsolete those pesky heat resistant tiles. The less well off executive may find that second hand (reload?) brazil nut ammunition may be cheaply obtained from old ladies, since the nuts tend to be too hard for the dentures, and the old dears spit them out after sucking off the chocolate. Fired from a slingshot, one of these babies will prematurely curtail the most tedious of presentations.
- Finally, and most ominously, we have the blowpipe fired, hanabero stuffed olive. This is the hollowpoint bullet of the vegetable world. With sufficient velocity, the olive will, but virtue of its having been 'excavated', flatten on impact. Anyone who has previously consumed pieces of habanero chili will be well aware of the fact that there's a lot more damage done to the hole they come out of, than the one they went in through.
And yes, this is all sour grapes, and I am sore that I'm not there.
 As safe as it is possible to be when blessed with teenage daughters.
 Note for lawyers, this picture does not show a poisonous substance. Go sue someone else.