"According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Machiavellianism is the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct," I murmured over breakfast, reading a Wikipedia extract on my mobile. "The term has a similar use in modern psychology, describing a condition known as a 'dark triad' personality trait, characterised by duplicitous behaviour associated with cynical beliefs and pragmatic morality."
"What's all that got to do with your soft boiled eggs?" queried the breakfast provider, removing the phone from my grip and ordering me to concentrate on eating, rather than spouting from an electronic encyclopedia.
"Well ..." I said hesitantly, having mentioned it before, "... I'm still thinking about becoming a blogger, where I understand serious money can be made.
"I'm just trying to understand what personality traits I need to develop before entering the dark world of political slagging."
"You're too politically shallow to be taken seriously," retorted the caregiver, reminding me that my perceptions of a politician's leadership qualities tend to be based on the contestant's appearance, rather than the policies.
"I recall your comments on David Cunliffe's personal attire on the television leadership debate," she said, "rabbiting on that his necktie was a throwback from the 1960s."
"Tastelessness in sartorial matters suggests a person who probably hasn't acquired the ability to tie his own black bow tie," I stiffly suggested.
"So is your idea of a Machiavellian blog, to undermine a political leader by suggesting that along with 95 per cent of other attendees, he's guilty of wearing a clip-on bow tie at a state banquet?"
"I've got to start somewhere," I weakly retorted.
"I don't think you'll see a public inquiry launched on the strength of that sort of announcement," the caregiver dryly murmured.
"Anyhow," she continued, "if you want to be really Machiavellian, you're going to have to be in the political inner circle and privy to the gossip circulating around the Beehive's village pump."
I had to admit that being located in the wastelands south of the Bombay Hills might present a communication problem.
"I do know the Prime Minister," I protested.
"I don't think an occasional meeting at the local fish and chip shop is going to mark you out as a potential attack dog," said the caregiver. "Anyhow, you're too old and toothless for the role."
"I might be old and gummy," I growled, "but maybe I could still give somebody a nasty suck."