I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating a delicious bagel (a real imported New York bagel, of course, not the mockery of a sham sort of bap that passes for a bagel in many places on this side of the Atlantic) slathered in M&S smoked salmon and cream cheese, reading Arthur Marshall's Giggling in the Shrubbery. This is a very entertaining book edited by Mr Marshall in which real-life women reminisce about their boarding school days, and it's full of highly amusing anecdotes with some typically hilarious commentary by the editor.
So there I was, chomping away merrily and enjoying the book, when I reached the following passage in the chapter in which old girls remembered their headmistresses:
[Our headmistress], unusually in those days, eschewed the wearing of a brassiere. After I had left a few of the senior girls went to tea with her, after which she leant back, stretched and admired the view with a cry of "Oh girls, look at the tits!" Such was the coarsening of the young ladies by then that they did not immediately look at the bird table.
Because I am mentally about ten, this made me laugh madly (I think it was the very idea of a headmistress enthusiastically encouraging her pupils to gaze at her bosom) - but I was punished for my vulgar sniggers, because I inhaled a bit of bagel, and it seemed to get stuck in my throat, and of course I started to choke. And as I coughed away, eyes watering like mad, I thought, "oh God, imagine if this is how I die - laughing at a joke about tits!"
But as you can see, I survived (OR DID I? Perhaps I am writing this from beyond the grave! No, I'm not, I'm writing it in the sitting room), so the late Mr Marshall (or rather, the woman who contributed that story to the book) need not bear responsibility for my untimely demise. But perhaps I should avoid reading funny books while dining in the future.