You can’t laugh out loud in the Institute of Actuaries‘ global HQ in Staple‘s Inn London. You would undoubtedly be ensnared in a giant spreadsheet and gently subsumed by toxic algorithms.
Actuaries do not enjoy words, they prefer numbers and when they write reports, they regard brevity as their primary virtue. Quite when brevity becomes cryptic was very much on my mind today as I spent a day with a numskull of number crunchers under the tutelage of the crown-prince of acerbity Mr Simon Carne.
I did not approach the day with excitement but I left IFOA Towers a polylinguist. I once referred to an ex-wife as a cunnilinguist so I proceed with caution.
The actuary is an analyst. He or she (the female actuary as hereafter known the Factuary) will consider before they commit and commit advisedly. Prince Carne is not a man who insults you with the slap of a wet fish across the chops. His studied insults are prefaced by some qualifier – debatedly, arguably allegedly and possibly circumscribe the blows and when they arrive they hit you from behind. Typically they disable you rather than knocking you out outright.
The Factuary is likewise a wily bird, ostensibly a charming and mil-mannered type, she will trap you with a subtlety, beguile you with calculated charm and finish you off as you swoon in her general direction.
After a day in their company, a simple man can but retire to the seclusion of his blog and practice silently the black arts of actuarial nuance.
As I left I chatted with a youung actuary who asked me whether I did any writing- I told him
“I write as I speak”
“I can see why you’re not an actuary”
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