Excerpt from the above-cited article (penned my pater familias some 50 years ago):
I am always embarrassed when people ask me what I do. And people, for the lack of anything better to say, seem to be asking it all the time.
I reply, sotto voce, that I am the Cultural Attaché, hoping that they won't hear and that we can go on to something else. "But what does a Cultural Attaché DO?" they come back brightly, sensing they've got me on the defensive. I try to pass it off with a melancholy quip like "as little mischief as possible," hoping that my unwillingness to supply information will discourage them. Such a happy solution is rare. They persist (more inquisitorial now): "But I mean, what DO you DO?"
I'd really like to explain that my purpose in life, if you want to get down to that, is being, not doing, but even I have come to realize that there's no point trying to go into all that at a cocktail party. ...
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