} True stress is when you have invited the vicar over, and he's supposed
} to arrive in half an hour and the cook has cut the cucumbers too thick
} for cucumber sandwiches, only when she tries to cut them in half they
} come out too thin and look ever so sloppy, and Fifi is sitting on the
} settee in the parlor and scratching as if she has fleas and might just
} very well leave some of them on the settee and give them to the vicar if
} he should chance to sit upon the settee, only the butler is off
} polishing his shoes and the gardner is too grubby to even so much as
} look at the settee, much less touch it.
} And then you discover that your white gown is half an inch too short,
} and your blue gown is half an inch too long, and the only one remaining
} is the red one that looks as if you are some sort of loose woman, but
} you haven't any choice and the vicar is *sure* to inquire about it.
} And then the butler comes in and he must have polished the soles of his
} shoes, as they leave black footprints on the floor and on the oriental
} rug, and it's not to be endured.
} And then the cook announces that there are no currants for the scones,
} and should she make due with sultanas, or could the gardner be sent to
} town to get some currants if you don't mind having the scones a little
} late, and by the way there's only salted butter, no fresh, so maybe the
} gardner had better be sent to town for that even if it will take him
} longer, and by the way Fifi got into the cream cake and sat in it, and
} went hopping around the kitchen leaving little creamy footsteps, and so
} there won't be any cream cake for the vicar even though everyone knows
} that it's his favorite, and there's no helping it at all.
} And then Fifi comes into the parlor, still covered with cream, and sits
} on the blue chaise lounge and starts licking her hinder parts just as if
} she weren't absolutely ruining the rug and the lounge and her dear
} beloved mistress' party all at the same time, and the cook goes to pick
} the poor dear up, and she trips on the rug which you had lifted to see
} the extent of the damage, and she flounders wildly into the Ming vase to
} the right of the fireplace, and it falls over and smashes a crystal
} decanter of port into tiny shards, and a tiny chip breaks off of the
} mouth of the vase, and the cook has a black eye, and Fifi gives a little
} shriek and jumps up and runs across the room leaving more footprints of
} cream, and the cook is too upset to clean up the decanter before she
} goes and puts a slice of beefsteak on her eye, so the room shall smell
} of port when the vicar comes in.
} And the gardner has just changed his clothes, and he comes in to move
} the *settee* rather than the lounge, and when you finally tell him to
} move the *lounge* rather than the settee, and bring one or two of the
} chairs from the library, and he does, and then he sits on the settee and
} you notice that he's forgotten to change his jacket, and now the settee
} will smell faintly of perspiration as well as probably having fleas.
} But there's no helping it, for now the doorbell is ringing and you go to
} answer it and it's not the vicar, but three Denebian slime devils who
} have crash-landed their flying saucer in the back yard, and now they
} want to use the hyperspace radio and if they can't they'll just have to
} eat everyone in the household and then turn them into mindless slaves
} and sell them beyond the Dark Nebula, only it's the nineteenth century
} and you haven't got a hyperspace radio, but the butler comes out and
} engages the slime devils in a bit of an imbroglio.
} And then the vicar arrives, punctual as always, and finds your house in
} total disorder. That's stress.
} The Oracle has stressed out. You owe the Oracle a stress-pill.