• Before her death in 2003, mystery writer Joan Lowery Nixon was constantly plotting and writing books. During a meal at a restaurant, she and her daughter discussed the best way to kill someone without causing bleeding. They considered the merits and demerits of poison and strangulation, and a man got up from a table near them and started talking to a waitress. The man did not return to finish his meal, and the waitress thereafter kept a close watch on Ms. Nixon and her daughter.
• As a reporter, H. Allen Smith met many of the rich and famous. Once he went to a dinner with the writer H.G. Wells, and he sat very close to him so he could hear the great man’s every word. However, the only thing Mr. Wells talked about during dinner was that he didn’t like green peas, and he couldn’t ever remember having liked green peas, and when he died he would still not like green peas.
• When they were children, young people’s author William Sleator and Vicky, his sister, sometimes amused themselves during car trips by pretending that they were BMs (bowel movements). Vicky imagined that she was an Oreo cookie that had been eaten by Queen Elizabeth and she described the process of being transformed from an Oreo cookie into a BM and finally being flushed down a toilet in the queen’s marble bathroom. William described two items being eaten at the same time — blueberries and carrots — resulting in a purple-and-orange-striped BM. Vicky used to point out that striped BMs do not exist, but William replied that just because she had never seen one that did not mean that they didn’t exist.
• A game that Alistair Cooke and his friends played was trying to tell a person’s occupation by looking at their photograph. One friend would cut photographs of people who were not famous from newspapers and magazines. Each photograph was pasted on a piece of paper, and the game players were also given a sheet of paper that listed the occupations of the people in the photographs. As it happened, no one was very good at matching face and occupation — high scores were 20 or 25 percent accuracy. Most of the players felt certain that a person in one photograph was a murderer — he turned out to be a judge.
Gays and Lesbians
• Michael Musto is a gay gossip columnist with the Village Voice, and he has many straight fans. Unfortunately, when his straight fans write him an email, they feel compelled to write things like “I love your column, but I’m straight!” This amuses Mr. Musto. He says, “I can’t believe people are so insecure that they feel they have to spell out their supposed sexuality just so I know they’re not ‘one of them’ just for liking me. Relax, people. After all, I enjoyed The Color Purple, but I don’t have to tell people, ‘But I’m white!’”
• Among the dumb beliefs many people have held about gays and lesbians (about as dumb as the belief in the secret handshake) is that gays and lesbians wear green on Thursdays, aka Fairy Day. In the 1960s, this belief amused Nancy Garden, the future author of the lesbian love story Annie on My Mind (it has a happy ending!). She wore green every day she attended school because her school uniform was green.
• The gaydar that gays and lesbians use to find other gays and lesbians sometimes doesn’t work. When gay poet Allen Ginsburg met punk poet Patti Smith, he thought she was a very cute boy, he was attracted to her, and he wanted to sleep with her. However, Patti was aware of Allen’s sexual preferences, so she told him, “Look at the tits, Allen! Look at the tits!”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Books, Volume 2 — Buy