• When John Holmstrom wanted to start a new magazine, his friend and co-conspirator Legs McNeil didn’t see the point. Mr. Holmstrom explained, “If we have a magazine, people will think we’re cool and stuff and want to hang out with us.” Mr. McNeil still didn’t see the point, so Mr. Holmstrom explained further, “If we have a magazine, people will give us drinks for free.” Mr. McNeil saw the point and even named the new magazine: Punk.
• Mark Twain and Bill Nye journeyed to Nevada, where the frontiersmen tried to drink them under the table. However, after a night of hard drinking, the only people still conscious were Mr. Twain and Mr. Nye. Finally, Mark Twain told his friend, “Well, Bill, what do you say we get out of here and go somewhere for a drink?”
• Children’s book author Marion Dane Bauer once used her son’s dog, which was named Nimue, as a character, also named Nimue, in her novel Face to Face. The dog was due to have a litter, and so she had read about what to do when a dog had a litter. One of the things she read was that when a puppy is born with a cleft palate the best thing to do is to kill it because it can’t nurse and will starve to death. In her novel, Ms. Bauer used a situation in which a puppy had to be killed — and Peter, her son, was furious and forbid her to use his dog in the novel. Eventually, he relented and let her use his dog in the novel after she explained to him the need for conflict in a work of fiction.
• Following World War II, when Gary Paulsen, author of Hatchet, was a child, he lived with his parents in the Philippines. There, he and his dog, Snowball, wandered everywhere and saw many things. Together, they discovered a very poor Philippine family living under an overturned Jeep. Despite the family’s poverty, they offered young Gary and even Snowball a bit of food. Thereafter, Gary took food from home and brought it to them, and they shared meals of sardines and rice. Snowball once saved Gary’s life. Walking barefoot along a trail, Gary came across a pretty — but deadly — snake that was about to bite him. Snowball grabbed the snake, shook it, and broke its neck.
• Cat-owning famous authors have the same problems as other cat owners. The young daughter of the niece of the ex-wife of Walter Tevis, author of the novels The Hustler, The Color of Money, and The Man Who Fell to Earth, all of which were made into movies, remembers this about her famous relative: “The cat pooped in his red sheepskin slippers. He put his foot into it and then threw the shoe out the window.”
• Some creative people have unusual pets. The poet Gérard de Nerval kept a lobster as a pet and took it out for walks. According to Mr. de Nerval, the lobster was a good pet because “it does not bark and it knows the secrets of the deep.”
• One day a woman asked Sydney Smith for a motto for her dog. Because he had never liked dogs, he suggested, “Out, damned Spot!”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Books, Volume 2 — Buy