Is it OK to joke about COVID?

We live in a free and liberal world – mostly – and so it would seem on the face of it that anything is fair game for a laugh. Religion, politics and relationships are the regular butts of jokes, and by and large they all work. However, there are exceptions. Choose the wrong religion to have some fun with and you could find yourself at the wrong end of a Fatwa and in hiding for the rest of your adult life. Obviously this seemed to work well for Salman Rushdie as he somehow came out of hiding married to a supermodel whilst looking even more like an extra from Harry Potter. Politics is OK as long as you don’t aim it at a dissident group who set their own agenda and come fully armed and ready to pop an IED through your letterbox.

Illness is really tricky ground, and unless you’re a testicular cancer survivor, and now have pickled onions where your privates used to be, it’s pretty hard to get away with. Covid-19 could be different though, mainly because nobody has the slightest idea of what is going on.

What was described as a killer disease and deadly virus, now accounts for less deaths than skipping, and yet people are ploughing their way around supermarkets in slow motion moonwalks complete with sanding masks from Wickes. In the Midlands, the knock effect of old ladies spending several minutes deciding which fish fingers, has caused queues over half a mile…our main government advisor rated the advice he rolled out for the rest of the country so optional that he popped up to the other end of the country to see his parents whenever his kids needed looking after…and Donald Trump was offering to inject the entire American public with disinfectant.

So, there is humour in there, and plenty of it. All you need to work out is if anyone associated with the wedding has carced it, but the thing is, every wedding has sad news attached to it. Short of sending out a survey asking everyone, the really is very little you can do in terms of research. Maybe keep the humour general and don’t allude to any specific like melting lungs…or maybe don’t go there at all.

How To Propose

 

It’s the one thing that the women all over the world have absolutely no control over, and left up to their own devices and using all their skill, expertise and planning, it’s the one thing that men the world over manage to get spectacularly wrong. With the internet fuelling their unlimited imagination and excitement, it’s little wonder that potential grooms like to conjure up proposals so choreographed and intricate that heart failure is by far the most likely outcome.

From the research we’ve pulled together the facts are stark: men are too ambitious and indulgent when it comes to proposing. Why pop the question somewhere quiet, meaningful and subtle when you could do it in the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities, coordinate it with a 21 gun salute and then waterski to lunch?

The problem seems to be that men mistake romance for bling, and think that by throwing money at the situation and giving it as many working parts as possible, they will create the most significant proposal in history. This survey gives you the headlines as to what those plans look like, and we’ve added a few observations as to how to avoid those disasters in the future.

 

The Top Ten Most Popular Places to Pop the Question

  1. The Empire State Building, New York.
  2. Central Park, New York.
  3. Beaches
  4. Sacre Coeur, Paris
  5. The Shard, London.
  6. Restaurants.
  7. Pont Des Arts, Paris.
  8. Primrose Hill, London
  9. Grand Central Station
  10. At home.

Top Ten Most Common Proposal Problems

  1. Locations too crowded – The Shard in ‘no private space’ shocker
  2. Stage Fright – too keyed up
  3. Location had closed – schoolboy error. 
  4. No precise location planned – therefore the day becomes one long recce. 
  5. Partner fatigue – usually in City Break heavy partying scenario.
  6. Weather – fancy sitting on Granddad’s bench in a Force 9?
  7. Third party such as photographer/boatmen doesn’t arrive.
  8. Upstaged by witnessing another proposal
  9. Partner over indulging at lunch and refusing to come out in the evening.
  10. Nowhere to celebrate afterwards.

 

The Top 5 Least Romantic Ways to propose

  1. Via digital media.
  2. Whilst watching television.
  3. Having breakfast
  4. Doing the weekly supermarket shop.
  5. In a car.

The Top 5 Most Popular times to Propose

  1. Christmas Day
  2. Anniversary of First Date
  3. Partner’s birthday
  4. New Year’s Eve
  5. Just before you think your best friend is going to do it.

The Truth about Proposing

 

Get it wrong, and you’ll have many years together to reflect upon,  just how wrong you got it. Get it really wrong, and you could probably reduce that sentence considerably.

Yes, that statistic of only 13% of proposal plans working out, has been collected from over 500 grooms that I’ve worked with over recent years. It shows, that whatever the guys are plotting, it’s almost certainly doomed to failure – and by that, I don’t mean a refusal, I’m just referring to the world beating scheme you’ve hatched, in order to pop the question.

So, you’ve come to that point in your relationship where after several years, maybe months, and in some cases a few days,  you feel ready to commit the rest of your life to that special someone.

This is a euphoric moment in a young man’s mind, and what usually follows, is planning and preparation so intricate, logistics so convoluted, and subterfuge so involved, that it makes Operation Barbarossa, look like The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

I work with grooms all over the world and have read many, many proposal stories from the balmy climes of Perth, Australia, to the frozen fields of Minnesota, and more than 80% go up in smoke. Some are just a laughable calamity, whilst others test the patience and sense of humour for all involved. Often still, a bone of contention after several years together.

So, based on the stories from hundreds of guys around the globe, here’s is our exclusive survey on how grooms propose, what happens when they do, and what you can learn from their mistakes.[/vc_column_text]

The Two Main Issues when Proposing

1.  You will already be very nervous and super pumped up about the whole thing, so in order to give yourself the best possible chance of heart failure why not stage your proposal slap bang in the middle of one of the world’s busiest locations? It might sound ridiculous but this is precisely how the majority of grooms like to plan their proposals. And it’s precisely because of this fact that most of them fail. 

Unless we’re talking about French towns and villages, public places, at any time of the day or night will always have other people there. Yes, this may seem like an ultra tedious thing to point out, but every week I hear about yet another groom who got to the top of The Shard, and surprise surprise couldn’t find a private spot. This usually triggers a desperate attempt to change tack and find somewhere much more private, unplanned and as yet unknown. Cue: heavy mobile phone use and one stressed partner.

2. The second factor to think about is that if you plan to propose at an Iconic locations such as the Empire State Building you almost certainly will not be the only young man who has had exactly the same brainwave. In other words, there will be other people proposing and that always has a massive effect on any potential plans. Very often I read about a groom who was just about to go down on one knee when a guy form South Korea got in there first. It simply means that unless you want a slightly tarnished experience you’ll then have to find a Plan B.  Cue: heavy mobile phone use and one stressed partner. 

What to think about when proposing in a private place

These are statistically the most effective, simple, fuss free, and genuinely memorable places to stage your proposal. If you’re thinking of going to a beach that means something, a bench where your Grandfather sat, or a viewpoint which you’ve shared together, then this is exactly the type of place to pop the question. There will be no crowds, nobody else queuing up to become engaged, and you won’t have to scurry around looking for another place to make an ad hoc proposal. However, they generally tend to be in less accessible places, that require good old foot power to get there and sometimes quite a lot of endurance. So here’s what you need to think about:

1. You need your partner to be wearing appropriate footwear. You can’t just decide to go to the beach on the way to the restaurant.

2. You need to be realistic about your girlfriend’s willingness to head out to a bench/beach/countryside on a rainy day.

3. Ideally there has to be an easy, fuss free transition to a celebration location. So make sure they’ve done the hard bit first – i.e. walking up a mountain, so that the rest of the day is unadulterated hardship free joy. 

I write for so many grooms who have planned their special remote proposal place and then booked a restaurant afterwards only to discover that understandably their girlfriend doesn’t want to head out to the beach in the pouring rain at 4:30 in the afternoon. Or even worse just pretend to have a spontaneous idea to stop the car and walk to cliff with their girlfriend in ballet pumps. It never makes for a happy customer. Having said that, if you can get the timings right and are lucky with the weather, it’s the perfect way to propose.

Transporting The Ring

Getting the ring from A to B is one of the biggest headaches for any groom and if you decide to go to another country or any building of cultural or social significance, be prepared for security scanners. Nowadays it’s not just airports that scan metallic objects, places like the Empire State Building to a whole host of museums and even restaurants. For the many guys I’ve written for who take the ring with them in jacket pocket to The Empire State etc. the security guys there know what a ring looks like and will not make a fuss, so don’t make the mistake of trying to surreptitiously talk to them about it whilst you think she’s not looking. Also don’t make the mistake as one client did and Google ‘how to get rings through scanners at airports’ whilst queuing up for his flight with his girlfriend, and then hand the phone to her. However, ring transportation to other non secure public places can also be an issue, particularly if it’s a hot day. So many grooms head out on a lovely spring or summer’s day wearing a jacket because they need to keep the ring in it. By the time they get around to proposing they’re suffering from heat exhaustion and are semi delirious, they rehydrate with champagne to celebrate and manage to get completely plastered in record time. However, I had a client who thought he’d go one better and gaffer tape it to the inside of his leg and simply pretend to have a fractured leg in the run up to the proposal which would explain his awkward walking style. The relief of his fiancé saying yes was nothing compared to the relief of not having a box taped to his loins.

What to Say When Proposing

It doesn’t matter how well prepared you think you are, how confident you might be, and how convinced you are of the outcome. There hasn’t been a single groom in the history of the world that proposed saying the words he planned so carefully to say. Just as with the ingenious plans for proposal, the words are best kept as simple and as straightforward as possible, because after all it is a very important and basic message you’d like to get across. Also you have to bear in mind that your partner will not be listening to a single detail once she has understood what’s going on. She won’t remember a word you said, which is a bit of luck because you’ll almost certainly be speaking some sort of gibberish by the end. A lot of brides really don’t understand anything that the grooms are saying and have to get them to repeat several times, which only confuses the men further and forces them to rehash what they never really had a grip on in the first place. It’s really easy. Tell how much you love her, how much she means to you, and then ask her to marry you. Forget poems, forget anything longer than really a couple of short lines. It’s going to be an intense moment and the message has to be clear and simple. 

Proposal: The Aftermath

Well, if you’re lucky and your partner has said ‘yes’ there’s only on thing she’ll want to do: tell everybody.

Make sure you have a fully charged phone with you because in the next 30 minutes you’re going to be surplus to requirements and she goes through friends and family, letting them know the good news.

You’ll also want to celebrate, so make sure you have the next stage planned, and if it’s a restaurant make sure they know it could be a flexible time scale. It’s also worth bearing in mind where you are and how easy it is to celebrate, especially if you’ve left it until later in the evening to pop the question. I’ve written best man speeches for several guys who proposed later in the evening in Morocco and then suddenly discovered there’s no way they could get hold of any champagne.

If you’ve put your now fiancé through hell, wither coping with your erratic behaviour on the day of the proposal, or asking to trek through the desert in the blazing sun to get to a specific rock, then now she’ll understand. But why put yourself through all the hassle?

The Microphone is prepared for the Best Man Speech

Best Man Quotes

How to Use Quotes in a Best Man Speech

Very often a few well thought out words can say so much more than a best man speech of a 1000 words, but an even better idea is to combine the two. Quotes can work brilliantly in a speech but you should limit yourself to one very powerful one, somewhere towards the end, and avoid the temptation to add in detail such as the book or film it came from. The quotes don’t have to be particularly highbrow but it helps, although the most important factor is relevance. “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning’ and “Charlie don’t surf son!” may sound great but unless the groom was fighting on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, they wouldn’t make much sense. However, THE most important thing is to find yourself a quote that isn’t used one million times every weekend, because it will have zero impact. Here are some quotes that you could use in your speech, remember pick one good one and weave seamlessly into the fabric.

Quotes about Friends

True friends stab you in the front. Oscar Wilde

A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably. William Penn

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it. Hubert Humphrey

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. Henry Ford

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Benjamin Franklin.

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. Thomas Aquinas.

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. Ernest Hemingway

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. Ernest Hemingway.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. AA Milne.

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. Muhammad Ali

There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends. Sylvia Plath.

 

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Life/Marriage Quotes

Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. Meninger

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching. Satchel Paige

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Sun Tzu

Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you. Walt Whitman.

Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes. Jim Carey.

Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. Kevin Kruse.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow. Helen Keller

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. Henry Ford

Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see. Confucius.

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up. Ogden Nash.

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends. WB Yeats.

 

There are a billion sites out there that can help you with quotes so it’s definitely worth spending some time to find one that’s not too over used and fits your speech perfectly. May the force be with you.

 

 

Writing and planning a best man speech format is a lot m,ore straightforward than you think

Best Man Speech Formats

Usually one of the biggest problems with writing a best man speech is that you’ve got all the information but don’t have a clue how to stitch it all together. Working out how to use all the stories, character traits, funny observations and anything else you’ve compiled, takes a lot of thinking about because you need this to be something that people want to listen to and will entertain them. So it’s either a case of heavily editing what you’ve got or stretching it to fit the allotted time, so the best man speech format you might think, is critical.

The trick to sketching out a best man speech format is to look at it in a completely new way – forget everything you know, or think you know about wedding speeches. A great best man speech is neither an exercise in public humiliation, or a real time waltz through several stories that required being there in order for them to work. This is by far and away where most best men go catastrophically wrong. The usual format is to string together 3 stories which aren’t particularly funny, and sandwich them between a hackneyed introduction and a cliched ending…and nothing could be more boring or difficult to land. Stories require a killer punchline – which most don’t have – and when the first one doesn’t work, getting through the remaining two could prove to be the longest 7 minutes of your life. So the most important thing when planning the format is to forget stories and instead use what they contain in a much more effective and condensed way.

Instead view the whole speech as a story and take the audience from a well thought out beginning to a meaningful and powerful ending. This might seem counterintuitive to begin with but when deciding how to write a speech the only people you need to have in mind are your audience: what will they want to hear? How will they want to be entertained? What is their comedy threshold? etc etc. And the bottom line is the guests just want to laugh. They’ve sat through the emotional and very often completely inexplicable father of the bride speech, they’ve endured a 45 minute groom speech, their new shoes are now really hurting, their ties feel like tourniquets and they just want to start enjoying themselves, and that’s where you step in. Take them on one large comedic look at the groom, having fun with him, not at him, and celebrate his frailties and shortcomings in the most inclusive and entertaining way.

 

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So when I’m drawing up the format I first look at what the groom was like when he was younger, – be it teenager, toddler or just starting work, and then try to map out his journey from that point to the current day groom. This gives you the basis of the one big story approach and from this you can plug all the holes in that story with nuggets from anecdotes, well crafted witty observations, or if you’re really struggling, a little bit of fantasy. Yes, that’s right, fantasy. You’re there to make the guests laugh, sure you’re going to say some lovely things about towards the end of the speech but if putting in some little falsehoods like he wanted to be a spaceman and applied to the Didcot Space Center, only to discover there wasn’t one…tickles guests, then just do it.

So the best format is to decide at which point you’re going to pick up the groom’s life and then trace a pathway to the time when he met his lovely wife. The key to making all this stick together is daft comedy, don’t rely on internet jokes, or grubby one liners, you need t make everyone laugh and so that means coming up with funny things in and around the groom’s character. Explain how he went from being that slightly chubby, ginger kid with a thing about Thomas The Tank Engine to the urbane, metropolitan sophisticate who enjoys pilates. What was in his character as a 5 year old, that catapulted him to where he now finds himself? This should also allow you to bring in all those stories in condensed form, so instead of recounting how he walked around with a traffic cone on his head, simply drop it in to the speech as: ‘he planned to become the first international astronaut who’d been cautioned by police for wearing a traffic cone in the small hours of Saturday evening’. That way you’re stripping out the dull detail of the story but still letting everyone know what he did in a much more succinct and funnier way.

So, at the beginning introduce yourself, it will settle you down and allow you to build a rapport with the guests. Then set the scene at your starting point and begin. With this method, you’re not restricted to viewing the best man speech as having a rigid format, in fact you’re doing your very best to get away from that. This will allow you to be much more creative and give you huge scope to paper of cracks such as lack of material or dodgy parts of his life you’d rather leave out. The only other thing to remember is forget all the marital advice, bridesmaids and talking about being the best man – that is all very dull and part of the old school format that we’re trying to get away from. Nothing is more pointless or conceited in a best man speech than the best man talking about himself when the subject is the groom. This usually stems form having nothing to say, but with my story format that shouldn’t be an issue.

Towards the end you should talk about the happy couple but don;t budget for going into too much detail about how they met, as the groom will probably have just covered that in his preceding speech – apart from Australia where he’ll follow you – and the last thing you want to do in tread on his toes, or even worse repeat parts of his speech.

So the first rule of best man speech format…is that there is no best man speech format. Treat it as one big story, and an open canvas will present itself and all you have to do is fill in the blanks whilst making them as funny as possible. Stick to around 1300 words and this will give you a talking time of around 7-8 minutes which will help you ensure complete victory on the day.

 

A Best Man Speech Introduction is actually pretty straightforward to get right.

Best Man Speech Introduction

So, How to Write a Best Man Speech Introduction?

This is actually the most straightforward and easy part of the best man speech, but it’s also one where a lot of best men go wrong. All you have to do here is introduce yourself and say what an honour it is to be saying a few words about the groom. That’s it. Unfortunately many guys decide that this is the moment they need to step into their stand up routine and try hitting the guests from the off with a scripted joke or even worse a really blunt introduction to themselves. It never works. You are a close friend or brother of the groom, you are not a seasoned comedian and nobody is expecting you to be, so when you grab the microphone and go down the route of…”my name is Mike, and let me tell you about a funny story that happened to me on the way here…” you are simply wasting time, and taking the spotlight away from the real subject of the speech: the groom. Sure, you’re there to make people laugh but you can do that once they know who you are, and how you know the groom – it just gives both you and the audience some breathing space. After that have something funny to say about the groom not about you, or being the best man, or the bridesmaids. The other thing you must categorically not do is thank anyone, welcome anyone or God forbid declare what a lovely day everyone is having. Everybody has been thanked and welcomed one million times and your job is just to get on with the describing the life and times of the groom. The groom has just toasted the bridesmaids so you can leave them alone – under a strictly traditional format the best man is meant to respond on behalf of the bridesmaids, but nobody ever understands this and it makes about as much sense as eating garlic to keep vampires away. So, forget any bombastic, Saturday Night live intro and instead calmly introduce yourself and allow the guests to warm to you, then crank up the funny.

two brothers who could one day make each other their best man

Best Man Brother Speech

How to Write a Speech for Your Brother

Yes he’s either spent years following you around, borrowing your things being annoying, or he’s been the younger kid that you used to get to do dangerous things to see how much he could hurt himself, and now the ultimate conclusion of that relationship is he’s made you Best Man. Most guys have mixed feelings about being the best man and usually the only thing that can give it a negative spin is the speech. I talk to many guys all over the world each week and I’ve never met one who was looking forward to the speech – the expectation for an entertaining, funny and engaging speech can be understandably daunting. The problem with writing one for your brother is that you may have lived in the same house, but not hung out together, or you’re so close that trying to work out what you’d like to say and make it funny can seem almost impossible. The upshot of these two scenarios is exactly the same: you don’t have anything to write about, but don’t worry there are ways around everything and your best weapon should be creativity.

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Starting Point

The first thing to remember is that this is a celebratory, entertaining speech about your brother. It is not a CV is spoken form, it is not a list of accolades and accomplishments, and it’s not an application for him to join Mensa. The bottom line is that all you have to do for the most part is make people laugh in and around the subject of your brother; some will know him intimately and some will have never met him, so the comedy needs to be really accessible and easily digestible. The biggest hurdle facing all best men is that they simply don’t have anything to write about for a whole variety of reasons, so forget about what you can’t write about and start concentrating on what you can. Make a list of bullet points regarding your brother, these can be anything from his hair colour to his hobbies, include nicknames, his passions, what he doesn’t like and use that as a starting point. once you have that list you know what you’ve got to work with and can then work out how to piece it all together.

What to Avoid

At this point you’re probably thinking “I need some stories!”…but you’d be wrong. The biggest misconception about writing a best man speech is that it should just be a string of anecdotes recounting inglorious moments of the groom’s past, which in fact couldn’t be further from the truth. Landing a really good story relies on having a killer punchline and when telling it to a large audience really needs a seasoned raconteur to complete its delivery. In short: it’s bloody hard to land a story in a speech, and it’s where most best men fail. The problem only gets worse as the first story hasn’t worked and so your confidence evaporates and the audience’s confidence in you similarly disappears, and so the subsequent stories you’re about to tell don’t stand a chance.

So forget stories, yes that’s right – forget them. This should come as welcome news to those brothers that don’t have any stories or those awaiting delayed responses from friends promising to come up with the goods. You don’t need them. At the very most you can use some of the story in condensed form and just use it as punchline. So, for instance instead of telling us in real time the story of the groom going to the supermarket wearing underpants on his head, you can just refer to him as ‘the type of delusional young man, whose very public cry for help of wearing underpants on his head was completely at odds with his chess club membership”…or something like that, but you get the picture.

Piecing it Together

All really great best mans speeches should be a creative romp through the life of the groom. It doesn’t matter if you glue it together with fantasy here and there, what you’re really looking to achieve is not a collection of stories, but one big story, which is great for brothers because you’re in the unique position of being there right from the beginning. So the best idea is to take those list of bullet points and then find a way of weaving them all together into one big comedic observation.

What did he look like as a baby? How did he behave when he was little? And how can you compare that to the man he has become? Once you start to pick up threads like that you can work out how to travel from the young boy you grew up with to the present day groom, exploring whether he still has those flaws and passions, and exploiting it all for comic effect. What you have to do here is let your imagination run wild, don’t be constrained by the facts – you’re not looking to paste in Googled jokes but if need to make up a few things in order for a conceit to work, then go for it. People just want you to make them laugh, so it really doesn’t matter if he never wanted to be Prime Minister or a spaceman, if pretending that he did makes it easier to have some fun with the fact he’s ginger or likes Boyzone, then you simply have to do it.

By writing it this way you’re avoiding the worse possible scenario which is trying to get stories from friends of his in order to bolster your arsenal of literary weaponry. By all means use nuggets of what they’ve sent you – it usually takes ages to arrive and is invariably sketchy at best – but by making it one big story you’re not going through the painful and tricky process of recounting other people’s stories which is always a hiding to nothing.

A new sister in law

Another thing to remember is that you’re not simply saying how lovely his brand new wife is, you’ve just gained a new member of the family and a brand new sister in law, so that needs to be fully recognised in your speech. It doesn’t matter if you really don’t know her, or aren’t that keen on her, you need to extend a warm and loving welcome on behalf of your family, and let her know how wonderful she looks and how lucky you all are to have her. However, you don’t need to go into detail about her family and her parents etc – the groom will have just spoken about them and almost certainly toasted them, so avoid repetition.

Parents

I usually only reserve some time in the brother’s best man speech for parents if there has been a bereavement, and only then if the groom has asked you make a reference. The focus of the day is the bride and all spotlights should be fully trained on her, so if the groom’s speech makes reference to a deceased parent and a toast, then best man should avoid, as it will begin to shift the focus away form the happy couple and the celebratory day that it’s meant to be. Apart from that scenario there isn’t any need to talk about your parents in the speech as the groom should have thanked them in his speech, so avoid going over old ground. If you are going to say some words about an absent parent do it towards the start of the speech, keep it light and try to find some humour in the subsequent paragraphs.

Children

If your brother has children from this relationship, a former relationship or is gaining step children, then don’t forget to mention them in the speech and say what a great dad he is as well, and lovely kids they are…even if you don’t mean it!