Being myself a grown man, I was having an argument with a child, the particular subject of which was whether a certain artist, who the child had dismissed as merely “amateur,” was in fact a professional.

“Does she make money by way of her art?” I asked the child, who had to think it over for a few moments before acknowledging that she did.

“In that case,” I said, “she is, by definition, a professional artist.”

The child had to think that one over for a few moments, as well. Then she retorted: “By definition, you’re professionally annoying.”

Well, she was right about that much, anyway. You see, several years ago, I was hired by an eccentric billionaire to spend no fewer than forty hours per week annoying people. At first, I went about my work a bit haphazardly, like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck, but with the passage of time I managed to develop several reliable strategies to which I continue to entrust the faithful execution of my duties to this day. A few such strategies include: saying “chicken butt” when people ask me to guess what, tickling the palm of an individual whose hand I am shaking following a first introduction; encouraging people who have already broken and/or damaged something and/or injured themselves to “be careful”; purposely mispronouncing others’ names when referring to them in the third person to their friends or relations; seizing upon the amusing stories or anecdotes people occasionally share with me in social situations as opportunities to offer unsolicited and frankly unhelpful advice; and last but not least, arguing with children.