Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Favorite Humorous Writings

I remember the first time I read my favorite piece of humorous writing of all time, entitled "I Shit My Pants in the South of France," by Jonathan Ames. The piece is about just what it says it's about -- it's an autobiographical tale Ames wrote about living as an exchange student in France. One night, walking home drunk from the bars, he accepted a tuna-fish sandwich a bum thrust at him with a dirty, outstretched hand, and ate it. Minutes later, as the rotten tuna hit bottom, things kind of exploded. You can read it for yourself in his short story collection called "What's Not to Love?"

The point is, I distinctly remember the day I read it, sitting on my old red couch in my loft apartment in the candy factory, because I ended up laughing so hard I think I actually fell off the couch. Tears were streaming down my face and I don't know why exactly it tickled my funnybone so much then, since in later readings I have found it but mildly amusing. The first thing I did was call my then-boyfriend on the phone and read it to him between sobs of laughter, and HE ended up laughing his ass off too, although I don't know whether it was because of the material or because I was acting like such a hysterical loon.

Anyway, I read something that caused similar convulsions of rapturous laughter a few weeks ago in the New Yorker. The Shouts and Murmurs piece was called "The Ambien Cookbook" by Paul Simms. Now, I have more experience with Ambien than I do with soiling myself among the vineyards of France, so maybe that's why it struck me as so funny. If you've ever taken Ambien and woken up the next morning asking yourself, "What just HAPPENED? Why does my teddy bear have my panties on his head? And how did I get home WITH NO SHOES ON??" then this article is for you. Go read it. And to Paul Simms: I salute you, sir.


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