Teddy Wayne is the author of the novels Kapitoil and The Love Song of Jonny Valentine.
BY TEDDY WAYNE
Brevity is the soul of wit, which is another way of saying, of course, that radical condensation is a necessary ingredient—a reagent, if you will—for humor, and that, failing such abbreviation, one risks laboriously overextending and overreaching oneself in a manner tending towards the lethargic and punchless; to take one example, for instance, my aunt’s anecdotes, comic in intent but never in execution, are labyrinthine in delivery and lacking any definitive closure, arduous winding mountain passes of digressive asides and conversational pit stops, as it were, which result in the listener’s gradual waning of attention—but, then, Aunt Nina is a kind person, who somehow makes her own wrapping paper for presents and jars her own gooseberry jam, not that I like gooseberry jam, but it’s the thought (and action, I suppose) that counts, and a 53-year-old widow’s inability to narrate efficiently a potentially amusing story about her cat’s fondness for peanut butter does not and should not besmirch her reputation . . . still, though, if I never have to sit through another interminable Thanksgiving-dinner monologue about her Vermont town’s sluggishly operated post office again it will be too soon, not that I don’t enjoy the occasional oral bucolic slice-of-life, but it reaches a point of diminishing returns, until I can predict, with great certainty, that, once more, the charming if bumbling character of small-town folk shall be revealed; Aunt Nina shall be designated martyr of her small fiefdom; and all of us shall nod and sagely, mutely smile with pinched lips.
Also really funny are dick jokes.
SUGGESTED READSHow to Make Your Own Proverbs
by Russell Bradbury-Carlin (1/8/2004)
List: Rethinking Horse Proverbs
by Joseph O'Brien (5/3/2004)
Obscure Chinese Proverbs
by Dennis Mahoney (11/9/2004)
RECENTLYNew Study Suggests Pregnant Woman Silently Yearns for Your Opinion
by Rachel Bone (5/25/2016)
Listicles For People Exactly Like You: 11 Things 59-Year-Old’s Named Karen Who Live in Newport Beach Have to Deal With
by Rufi Thorpe (5/25/2016)
Monologue: Before We Give This Big Corporate Presentation, I Need You to Smack Me in the Dick
by Jon Plester (5/25/2016)
POPULARI Would Rather Do Anything Else Than Grade Your Final Papers
by Robin Lee Mozer (5/2/2016)
List: Things the World’s Most and Least Privileged People Say
by John-Clark Levin (5/19/2016)
List: Here Are Some Fucking Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Titles
by Micah Osler (9/30/2014)