How To Tell Two Things Apart

A transcript of the introduction to a lecture given by an eminent professor on how to tell two things apart.

“Good evening ladies and gentleman. Let me begin by telling you how pleased I am to see such a large turn out for tonight’s lecture, due, no doubt, to the pre-eminence of this evening’s guest speaker. He is a man who, I am sure you are all aware, has dedicated his life to the pursuit of the subject in which we are all so fascinated. I can say, without fear of contradiction, that he is the world’s leading authority and has written some two dozen books on the subject, amongst which is, of course, that seminal work ‘Vive La Divarication’.

“Now, I am sure you are as eager to meet him as I am, so, without further ado, let me introduce the Emiritus Professor of Heteroresology from the University of Effluvium, Albert Croustade!”

“Thank-you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank-you. I must say I find it very heart warming to see so many faces out there, some old, some young, some new and one or two very familiar.

“Now, for those of you out there who may not know, and those who do, let me in indulge myself and let me give you a potted history of myself and how I became involved in the development of this most interesting of sciences. I was born almost seventy-five years ago in a small farming community just to the north of Krzygstwka in Poland, to poor but happy parents. I remember my early childhood as being happy, but due to the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany emigrated with my parents to England in 1936. My parents opened a small corner shop in Tooting selling broken biscuits and other incomplete sundries. I got a low paid job as a dog castrater’s assistant but helped my parents out in the shop at weekends. I applied to several eminent universites and eventually I was accepted as a philosophy undergraduate at Cambridge University.

“It was here that I first developed the theory of heteroresolics, and also published my first paper on the subject, entitled ‘How?’. The idea, which I later realised had been floating around inside me for some years, finally made itself concrete one day as I was watching a dog against a lampost. How, I asked myself, did I know?

“After graduating with a first class honours, I moved onto a postgraduate course, specialising in hypostatic dissimilitude, whilst also developing and refining my theory. I published my first book during this time, although I am the first to admit that it was not well received at the time, possibly due to one or two contentious points that I have since revised, but more probably due to the complete ignorance of the contradistinction establishment at that time. But I digress.

“It was also during my time at Cambridge that I met and fell in love with my then future wife, Jocasta, with whom I am still very much in love with to this day, and who has provided me with three wonderful children, all of whom make me feel very proud due to their success in their chosen careers.

“After my postgraduate studies, I embarked on a doctorate which enabled me to formalise my theories and tentatively put forward the basis of a new science, heteroresology. Fortunately, several forward thinking people from various academic establishments around the world had been reading my papers and books and were starting to take my work seriously. These included Professor Henri Salopard from the Sorbonne in Paris, Professor Shirley Marion Hilary Mandy Quarrender, who himself had been formulating similar ideas, and of course the late, great, highly influential and much sadly missed George Formby, professor of Corporeal Divergence at the University of Barnsley, Massachussetts. With this growing band of devotees behind me and my theories, I was soon to be offered a professorship at my present place of incumbence, the very wonderful University of Effluvium.

“During my career I have had many proud moments, my marriage, the birth of my children and ranking amongst them is the day when it was finally decided to offer to prospective students a degree course based around the theories I had formulated many years ago when I was just a student myself.

“Now then. I am sure you have all heard enough about me, so now let’s get down to the real reason why we’re all here. Tertium quid in medias res or to put it another way ‘how to tell two things apart.'”

First written 1998-03-07

In the late 1990s, me and a friend would challenge each other to write something by simply giving each other a title and nothing else.
This is the result of the second round.