What I Hope Is Not An Omen


But I fear is: a lengthy dream in which I am trying to finish an anecdote about some very slow women carrying tiny dogs who were extraordinarily slow in getting on the bus. A small bus, the kind you use to get from the airport terminal to the car rental place. And there was something about their slowness in getting on that was leading to some real killer of a punch line, but I couldn’t get to it. My audience was, I suppose fairly enough, thinking this was a boring story and wasn’t willing to trust that I was getting somewhere. If there is a lesson from it, I suppose it’s that I must be ready to issue subpoenas to demand people wait for me to signal the end of an anecdote before judging it.

And, in fairness, I will need a way to signal the end of an anecdote. I’m considering getting a small flag reading “END OF ANECDOTE”, or perhaps a highly portable musical instrument on which I could play a distinct note. Or perhaps something in a dagger, held close to ready — but not actually pointed at anyone on purpose — and set down when my story is done. Maybe I need another opinion. How do you folks signal when you’ve reached the end of an anecdote and that the audience may now have a reaction to it? Bonus points if it’s something that can be created using only things that could be found around the house. Thank you.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose eight points today on early reports that the new computer was working all right and we figured out how to get data out of the Time Capsule backup that was supposed to be running all along and it turns out was.

153

Robert Benchley: The Editor’s Drawer


[ I offer here another piece from Robert Benchley’s Of All Things, as I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t have the time to prepare something wholly my own. Please don’t tell Mr Benchley. But this offers a neat send-up of the sorts of cute little kid anecdotes that I assume still line the pages of magazines I don’t read because I think they carry items like what this parodies. ]

LITTLE Bobby, aged five, saying his prayers, had come to that most critical of diplomatic crises : the naming of relatives to be blessed.

“Why don’t I ask God to bless Aunt Mabel?” he queried, looking up with a roguish twinkle in his blue eyes.

“But you do, Bobby,” answered his mother.

“So I do,” was his prompt reply.


LITTLE Willy, aged seven, was asked by his teacher to define the word “confuse.”

“ ` Confuse’ is what my daddy says when he looks at his watch,” said Willy. The teacher never asked that question again. At least, not of Willy.


LITTLE Gertrude, aged three, was saying her prayers. “Is God everywhere ?” she asked.

“Yes, dear, everywhere,” answered her mother.

“Everywhere?” she persisted.

“Yes, dear, everywhere,” repeated her mother, all unsuspecting.

“Then He must be like Uncle Ned,” said the
little tot.

“Why, Gertrude, what makes you say that?”

“Because I heard Daddy say that Uncle Ned was everywhere,” was the astounding reply.

I Guess It’s A Compliment?


The DishTV representative wondered where I was from, for the good reason that we had been on the phone for ten minutes waiting for a green bar to finish going across the screen. I wonder how long satellite TV people spend on the phone waiting for people to watch green bars move all the way across the screen. Probably after a long day of this they go home and watch blue dots dripping down screens, for the variety.

But I told her I was from New Jersey, which is true, and she said I didn’t have an accent. I thanked her without having the faintest idea why, and we got the green bar all the way across the screen without having to find any more small talk.