With friends like these, who needs enemies?
A man of my intelligence really ought to have known better. I should have trusted my instincts when an acquaintance I hadn't heard from in years invited me, out of the blue, to a news conference his company was holding in the Island Shangri-La hotel last week.
Given my personal charm, I was not that surprised to be asked to attend the event. But I was reluctant to have to dress up, only to sit through hours of boring speeches in praise of the company.
But I relented after being assured that the event would be quick, ground-breaking, and lubricated with free-flowing booze afterwards.
Instead, all I got was the biggest bore of my life. For starters, the promised 'amazing news' was revealed to be merely the launch of a tiny rights issue, already largely taken up by existing shareholders.
Then I realised my friend’s concept of time was worse than Tai Tai on a shopping spree as he rambled on for close to two hours, trying to convince the crowd that the money raised would transform his firm into the biggest thing since Alibaba. His talk was so uninspiring, I was certain he had copied it straight from Public Speaking for Dummies.
What really irked me, however, was the promised alcohol-fest, which turned out to be a ticket to the Wine and Dine festival here in Hong Kong. Granted, it was an all-you-can-drink pass but I would rather spend my time in the rarefied surroundings of the American Club than trudging around in the mud with the other freeloaders.
Some friends are definitely best left alone.