Funny Books

October 31, 2013

Recently I smooth-read two books for Distributed Proofreaders. Both were funny, and I thought others might enjoy them too.

The first book is titled Bizarre, and was written by Lawton Mackall. It’s a collection of humorous essays and observations on life in general. Among other things, there is a description of pockets that made me laugh out loud! Mr. Mackall wrote about advertisers, and embarrassing advertisements that would pop out at him when he was scanning magazines or papers at public newsstands. I think you’ll agree that not much has changed:

“In short, the race of endorsers, produced by the eugenics of advertising, is not subject to the ills that ordinary flesh is heir to. They are the heroes of the present age, deified, like Greek Orion, in the realms of “space”–long-legged, serene, divinely handsome. We, poor mortals, humbly try to imitate them, and lay our wealth at their shrines, as did the Ancients at the altars of their gods. Our Ceres is Aunt Jemima; our Mercury is Phoebe Snow; our Adonis is the Arrow Collar youth; our Venus is the Physical Culture lady; and our Romulus and Remus are the Gold Dust Twins.”

And another essay that made me laugh was the one about how a new wife should learn to take care of her husband. Makall wrote:

“_Feeding._–This is the most important problem a wife has to face. The husband must be made to feel that he is well fed. Otherwise he will not be contented and docile.

During the first week after marriage, when he is still quite infantile and tender to the point of mushiness, he may be fed from the hand or spoon. This method will be found especially satisfactory in cases where the husband shows symptoms of sickly sentimentality.

Throughout the entire first month he will be so demanding of care, so bewildered by the strange new world in which he finds himself, as to be barely able to maintain sanity; in short, he will be so soso that she will have to prepare all the food herself, or at least make him think she does.

But later a change of diet will be found necessary. He will demand scientifically prepared foods. If the change is managed in the right way, it can be accomplished with only slight upset to his disposition. Simply alter the feeding formula so that the total quantity is lessened and the proportion of sugar and burnt materials is increased. It will soon take effect. In a day or two he will say, with a worried look, “Darling, I’m afraid the cooking is too much for you.” And you know what he really means. After that the transition to avowedly professional cooking will be quite painless.”

If you enjoy chuckling at Life’s little oddities, I think you’ll enjoy Mr. Mackall’s book.

The second amusing book is one titled Funny Epitaphs, Collected by Arthur Wentworth Eaton. I have always enjoyed reading about epitaphs. I don’t know why; there’s just something about them that I find interesting and sometimes enjoyable. And I thoroughly enjoyed the epitaphs recorded there. Here’s one:

John Knott, of Sheffield, England:

Here lies a man that was Knott born,
His father was Knott before him,
He lived Knott, and did Knott die,
Yet underneath this stone doth lie.

I also saw a variation of one of my favorites, which reads:

Here lies the body
Of Jonathan Crowder.
He burst while drinking
A Seidlitz powder.
Called from this world
To his heavenly rest,
He should have waited
Till it effervesced!

There are many other amusing epitaphs recorded in this little book, as well as some that are more poignant than funny. I think it’s worth taking a peek at the book.

I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I did. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine. Or so the proverbial “they” say!

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