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A collection of short humor pieces in the brisk, breezy, befuddled Benchley style—a style that inspired everyone from Doug Kenney (National Lampoon) to Dave Barry.
“We are occasionally confronted in the advertisements by the picture of an offensively bright-looking little boy, fairly popping with information, who, it is claimed in the text, knows all the inside dope on why fog forms in beads on a woolen coat, how long it would take to crawl to the moon on your hands and knees, and what makes oysters so quiet.
The taunting catch-line of the advertisement is: “This Child Knows the Answer—Do You?” and the idea is to shame you into buying a set of books containing answers to all the questions in the world except the question “Where is the money coming from to buy the books?”
When a four-year-old boy’s supposed recollections of Heaven burn up the bestseller lists, Mitch and Griselda Creepo become determined to experience their own financial Rapture. The only trouble is, they don’t have a little boy, and their daughter Hayden is, well, slightly Satanic. But they could always “borrow” one of Griselda’s preschoolers…
A side-splitting (and entirely unauthorized) spoof by one of America’s bestselling parodists, Heaven Is A Deal wittily skewers fundamentalist Christians chasing for money and power, all in the name of Jesus.
“We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it. Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that he had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what he was doing. With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liver that was out of order, because I had just been reading a patent liver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by which a man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.
It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.”
Don’t let this book’s age fool you; there’s a reason why it’s been in print for 122 years. A feather-light, bouncy travelogue of a trip down the Thames, Three Men In A Boat is a mellow classic of British comedy.
One of Wodehouse’s classic short story collections, featuring the “personal gentleman’s gentleman” Jeeves and his frequently misguided employer Bertie Wooster. Jeeves appeared in Wodehouse’s books for over fifty years and has become the prototype for nearly every British butler since.
“As an instance of what I mean, I remember meeting Monty Byng in Bond Street one morning, looking the last word in a grey check suit, and I felt I should never be happy till I had one like it. I dug the address of the tailors out of him, and had them working on the thing inside the hour.
‘Jeeves,’ I said that evening. ‘I’m getting a check suit like that one of Mr. Byng’s.’
‘Injudicious, sir,’ he said firmly. ‘It will not become you.’
‘What absolute rot! It’s the soundest thing I’ve struck for years.’
‘Unsuitable for you, sir.’
Well, the long and the short of it was that the confounded thing came home, and I put it on, and when I caught sight of myself in the glass I nearly swooned. Jeeves was perfectly right. I looked a cross between a music-hall comedian and a cheap bookie. Yet Monty had looked fine in absolutely the same stuff. These things are just Life’s mysteries, and that’s all there is to it.”