The very stupid face

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Thu Aug 4 14:26:18 EDT 2005

Charlie asked...

> I'm just rereading LOCC and have got to the bit where Goddess/Millie does 
> her Very Stupid Face. It reminded me of something in the Skiver's Guide, 
> but I don't have a copy - so maybe someone who does can tell me. Isn't 
> there a bit in that where she talks about getting out of jobs by making 
> oneself look stupid? And even a series of illustrations, showing someone 
> (with a marked resemblance to DWJ) in various stages of assuming this 
> expression? Or did I dream it?

Yes, the Skiver's Guide does indeed contain instructions for putting on the 
Very Stupid Face (and I have always assumed that this is the face that 
Millie does).  What you do is you open your mouth inside your face - keep 
your lips together but drop your jaw.  Once you get your jaw down to the 
third "notch", you may allow your mouth to hang open slightly.  Unfocus your 
eyes a little.  You will look completely dim and quite possibly go into a 
mild trance.  (This is paraphrased from memory, but I own the book and have 
read it many times, so it's fairly accurate - and "open your mouth inside 
your face" is a direct quote!)

It's recommended not so much for getting out of jobs as for preventing 
teachers from bothering you in class.

And yes, there are illustrations, and now you mention it, they could be 
caricatures of DWJ.
> (The one time I got to read the Skiver's Guide it was on interlibrary loan 
> from Cambridge - wrapped in protective boards tied with ribbons, and 
> strict instructions neither to remove it from the library nor photocopy 
> any portion of it, lest the spine crack. Bizarre, for what looked like a 
> very ordinary 1980s paperback. But at least it didn't come with an 
> injunction to stop me remembering what I'd read...)

I was extremely surprised when I learned that the Skiver's Guide was 
considered rare/hard to find. :I bought a copy when it came out, which I 
still have.  And despite reading and rereading by me and all of my family 
("I can't see it *any*where" is now a family catchphrase), the spine still 
isn't cracked; I think your library was being paranoid.  It's only slim, 
after all.


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