Dealing with the entitled

This lady has mastered an expression much used by temple wardens

There is a rumour circulating that temple wardens are specifically excluded from having to follow those Precepts of Aea about personal behaviour. Normally there is stress laid upon being generous, compassionate and kind. Instead temple wardens are allowed to follow a lesser precept which states that they must be no more rude and brusque than the person they are dealing with. Otherwise their job would be impossible.
Admittedly it is a rumour spread mainly by temple wardens, and frankly the main hope is that it will eventually reach the ears of Aea and she will realise the nature of her oversight and hastily reword the precepts to bring them into line with accepted practice.

Alas in spite of our best efforts, it remains but a rumour. Aea, like her priests, is obviously adverse to anything that smacks of administrative detail and doubtless leaves such minutiae to the deified equivalent of temple wardens. The suspicion lingers that these worthies dwell in snug corner of a dimension which is neither heaven nor hell, but which has comfortable chairs, no maintenance issues, and excellent catering. But they obviously don’t communicate much with their technical superiors.

So we continue in our labours. Each of us faces particular problems. When I am verbally belaboured by the vocally incontinent, a witty reply will leap to my lips. But I force it back with the stern thought, “Tallis, you are not being paid for this.” Still my forethought avails me nothing. If I get bored by a rant which is insulting but even worse, tedious and repetitious, turn on my heel and leave, I am rude! Indeed one person considered that they had been insulted by this. My first response, bitten back, was if they thought that was an insult they really ought to mix with a more diverse selection of people.

Others deal differently with the matter. As the pompous rant, Laxey ostentatiously takes notes, claiming that this ensures he misses nothing. There is an element of ambiguity in this comment which makes even the most self-important thoughtful.

Maljie as always has her own methods. Subtle hand signals mean that the self-important individual is suddenly surrounded by people, all busily doing something useful, but who would be witnesses to any ill-judged explosion of self-entitled wrath.

But among temple wardens there is a discussion. Why do we not just prick the bubble of entitlement? The answer is complex.

Firstly, what if, when all the pomposity and sense of entitlement had leaked out, there was nothing left? Just a sad farting noise as they flew about like a leaking balloon until the last wretched pieces of material came to rest under a wardrobe. There might have been people who loved them, or who at least had expectations.

Others point out that at least all the entitlement is held in one place. If it were to leak out it could contaminate scores of otherwise blameless folk.

I have even heard our theologians discuss the matter. I remember one elderly and saintly hierophant comment, almost sadly, “Entitled? They came into this world naked, and when they die, they will be just as naked. They can’t take anything with them, and all their ‘greatness’ is forgotten.”

At the other extreme are those who seem to think that you can prevent the contamination of leaking pomposity with cleansing fire.   

Fortunately for the pompous and entitled, temple wardens are not theologians. We are decent folk, and did I mention that we are specifically excluded from having to follow those Precepts of Aea about personal behaviour?


Should you want to learn more about the duties of a temple warden

As a reviewer commented, “

I know Tallis Steelyard mainly from the innumerable short stories about the man. He’s a poet and entertainer in Port Nain, and the short stories largely consist of humorous anecdotes, told by the man himself. As I understand, this is his first novel-length work.

Over the last few years, I’ve made a habit of keeping a collection of Tallis Steelyard short stories on my kindle, to read as a palate cleanser between other books. Something to take the edge of a book hangover.

If you’re familiar with Jeeves & Wooster, by P.G. Wodehouse, this is very similar, but in a fantasy setting – although, admittedly, the fantastic aspect takes something of a background role. Tallis Steelyard is mainly about the characters and the antics they get up to. On Amazon, the book is in the Steampunk Fiction category, and perhaps that’s more accurate.

There’s no magic or dragons, but there is a somewhat daring escape from a dungeon. There’s a lot of plotting and intriguing, and there’s the inevitable victory of wit over brawn.

It’s dry, eloquent, and really rather British, if I do say so myself, what with me not actually being British and all – although, the book isn’t set in Britain, or anywhere in the real world at all.

In this way, it’s different to pretty much all other fantasy I’ve read in recent years. It’s funny, but not overbearingly so. It’s interesting, rather than exciting, and most conflicts are resolved through deliberation rather than fisticuffs – most.

What I’ll whine about:
Some of the terminology, especially with respect to the various ranks within the religious organisations, went above my head. Not to the point where I didn’t understand what was going on, but enough to notice.

What I’ll gush about:
Most of all, this is refreshingly different to everything else I’ve read lately. The voice is reminiscent of an older style of storytelling. A little more distant than what’s common these days, and with breaks in the fourth wall that don’t feel out of place.

Final words:
This is a great book to pick up if you need a break from reading too much of anything, but still want to read something.

If you’re curious about the style, but not sure a full novel is for you, pick up one of the many short story collections.”

6 thoughts on “Dealing with the entitled

  1. ‘Just a sad farting noise as they flew about like a leaking balloon until the last wretched pieces of material came to rest under a wardrobe.’
    That would be my preferred fate of ‘The Entitled’, I have to confess.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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