Tour Guide

You know you're elite in plaid skirt and loafers with riding crop in hand.

When it comes to fibbing, there’s really no profession in which you can get away with so much as being a tour guide.  As long as you have your authoritarian riding crop in hand (or badminton racket), folks are prepared to believe anything  you say.  It is similar to putting on a policeman’s uniform in the morning– people will believe that you have the authority to pull them over and solicit bribes.  Or pushing an ice cream cart, which I learned the hard way.  All I wanted was to eat an ice cream sandwich whenever the mood struck, but I quickly found myself accosted.

What I’m trying to say is that the most important thing is your outfit.  As long as you have a basic understanding of what tour guides look like, you can hijack any high-paying tourist group and take them where you want to go.  As long as you are prepared to spew a litany of “facts” for an hour or two, you can get pretty much anywhere.  This is how I made my way across India (I think it was India, but it might have been Florida…) and around the Cape of Good Hope (which also might have been Florida).

Where doesn’t matter.  Where is incidental.  The point is practicing your abilities to think on your feet, to cadge sweet lemons off sweet couples looking for memorable Polaroids, and to convince British aunts and their wards to give you piano lessons and bottles of wine in Venice.  If you plan to marry, working as a tour guide is your best bet.  My first three marriages were a direct result of leading tours.  I don’t remember much about the marriages themselves, but I do remember this one fact, and also that I vowed never to marry again not long after, but to make do with just an assistant and bodyguard, which has worked out splendidly.

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