A bit like seagulls around a picnic, Christmas day attracts its fair share of hangers-on.

“It’s about this time of year that people who don’t know how to cook, serve drinks or socially interact are forced to do one or all of these things,” said scientist Dr Karen Mainwearing, 33, of Huntly.

Vaguely aware of the requirements of Christmas, thanks to television or past memories, these uncos tend to hover around kitchen areas and ask questions such as ‘What can I do?’ and ‘Do you need a hand?’, all in the hope of being recognised as useful while doing absolutely zilch.

“Guaranteed the answer to ‘Anything I can do?’ is, ‘No’, because, well, there isn’t. I mean, they’d be doing it, and besides you don’t ask an elephant to shell peas do you?” said Dr Mainwearing.

Within this scope of near-helpfulness is the statement ‘Just here if you need’, where the speaker is both highlighting their presence and pointing out that they are taking no action of their own.

“Of course many of these people are men, and they often solve the appearance of uselessness by saying ‘I’ll watch the barbie’ and then they go stand watching meat burn until someone in the kitchen asks if it’s ready,” said Dr Mainwearing.

The other alternative for the uncoordinated to do something is to write for the Bendigo Standard.

Merry Christmas.