Something, something, something off the wall, and madcap (no swear words, because that's not allowed) something, famous name to raise the interest of the reader, something, something - but seriously.
Is the way we should all begin our pieces if people want to read them - well that's what I can gauge from 97.3% of columns about most subjects. Including this one. Which you've now stopped reading - probably because I've used a percentage figure which even I have to admit is really, really boring.
You thought I was going to be talking about comedy and I haven't. I've broken that precious bond of trust between myself and you, the reader. I'm not proud of this, either, so I wouldn't blame you if you'd gone down the newsagents in a huff to purchase a copy of the Christmas issue of the Radio Times, which has Nick Knowles burning his mouth on a mince pie on the cover.
As non-existent flurries of snow drift past my window whish isn't adorned with ornate Christmas decorations, I think to myself "so what can I write about which is amusing and doesn't contain a volley of abuse directed at George Osborne?"
Sadly, just about anything I've written which is even vaguely funny over the last couple of months has included his name and something deeply insulting in the same sentence - and let's face it, old habits die hard. I could've written something along the lines of "I'd like to see George Osborne with a Christmas tree shoved up his plump, faintly freckled bottom". But I won't, because that's simply puerile and unbecoming.
I could write something hilariously observational about Christmases past such as "what's the deal with those Christmas jumpers your aunty buys you?, or "don't you really hate it when something happens at the office party which comes back to haunt you...etc ". But I won't.
Just as I was about to give up I thought to myself "what would Kathy Lette do in such a situation?", she certainly knows what to do when it comes to taking a slightly sideways look at the world. So I gave her a bell and picked her brains. She then proceeded to spend 30 minutes telling me that as a man it's a wonder I could pick the phone up and dial her number without starting a war or forgetting to put some shelving up that I'd promised to do seven weeks ago.
Anyway, after she'd got that out of her system she started to regale me with some pearls of wisdom, "500 seasonal-based words should include the following: 17 allusions to how useless men are when it comes to cooking Christmas dinner, 6 plugs for the book you have coming out which contains examples of how useless men are when it comes to buying Christmas presents, and an amusing parody on the nativity culminating in an attack on Joseph for not booking a hotel in advance and the fact that even the most devout Christian female would find it hard to believe that three wise men ever existed - let alone in the same place, at the same time."
It was at this point during the conversation that I was forced to put the phone down as I'd begun weeping openly into my egg flip.