I’m worried my workmates are going to start thinking I’m a bit weird. Well, I AM a bit weird, but … As I endlessly trawl for travel leads on-line, I often come across stuff that makes me cackle uncontrollably at my desk.
Occasionally it’s something I can craft into a story for escape.com.au, like the one about a New Year’s Eve knitting cruise hosted by one of the 10 most influential men in knitting, Barry Klein.
When I shared it on my Facebook page, I wrote: “Officially my favourite story I’ve written since I started in my new job at escape.com.au. Laughed so much I cried … not sure what it says about my sense of humour >> http://bit.ly/1xneFEW”
Yesterday I was in stitches over a story called Pets Allowed in The New Yorker. Writer Patricia Marx “decided to go undercover as a person with an anxiety disorder (not a stretch) and run around town with five un-cuddly, non-nurturing animals” pretending they were her “emotional support” animals. What exactly is an “emotional support” animal? Well, apparently they perform specific tasks, such as pulling a wheelchair and responding to seizures. Ivana Trump reckons her miniature Yorkie is one. A Google review of Altesi Ristorante in New York wrote: “Lunch was ruined because Ivana Trump sat next to us with her dog which she even let climb to the table. I told her no dogs allowed but she lied that hers was a service dog.”
Even less high-brow on my cackle list was a recent round-up called “38 Parents Who Have Mastered The Art of Texting”
One of my favourites was this one:
I am not very ritzy in my movie taste, I just want a rollicking good time. The Ruprecht scene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, for example, is AWESOME.
As for TV, it doesn’t get any better than The Conchords.
This was the song that got me hooked on them …
And, as I pointed out yesterday, this Best of Seinfeld round-up is a hoot …
Husband and I also got quite a few laughs from Peep Show as we huddled miserably on the sofa together, trying to ignore our marriage crumbling around us.
Books … well, Bill Bryson is the funniest travel writer EVER. A Walk In The Woods was a blast. I especially liked the bit where his travelling companion Katz threw all their stuff away …
The first day of hiking the Appalachian Trail
I waited for Katz for three-quarters of an hour, then went looking for him. The light was fading and the air was taking on an evening chill. I walked and walked, down the hill and through the endless grove of trees, back over ground that I had gratefully put behind me forever, or so I had thought. Several times I called his name and listened, but there was nothing. I walked on and on, over fallen trees I had struggled over hours before, down slopes I could now only dimly recall. My grandmother could have got this far, I kept thinking. Finally, I rounded a bend and there he was stumbling towards me, wild-haired and one-gloved and nearer hysteria than I have ever see a grown person.
It was hard to get the full story out of him in a coherent flow, because he was so furious, but I gathered he had thrown many items from his pack over a cliff in a temper. None of the things that had been dangling from the outside where there any longer.
“What did you get rid of?” I asked, trying not to betray too much alarm.
“Heavy f*cking sh!t, that’s what. The pepperoni, the rice, the brown sugar, the Spam, I don’t know what all. Lots. F*ck.” Katz was almost cataleptic with displeasure. He acted as if he had been betrayed by the trail. It wasn’t, I guess, what he had expected.
I unzipped myself from my nylon womb and emerged on creaking joints. It seemed very strange–very novel–to be standing outdoors in long johns. Katz was crouched over the campstove, boiling a pan of water. We seemed to be the only campers awake. It was cold, but perhaps just a trifle warmer than the day before, a low dawn sun burning through the trees looked cautiously promising.
“How do you feel?” he said.
I flexed my legs experimentally. “Not too bad, actually.”
He poured water into the filter code. “I’m going to be good today,” he promised.
“Good.” I watched over his shoulder. “Is there a reason,” I asked, “why you are filtering the coffee with toilet paper?”
“I, oh … I threw out the filter papers.”
I gave a sound that wasn’t quite a laugh. “They couldn’t have weighed two ounces.”
“I know, but they were great for throwing. Fluttered all over.” He dribbled on more water. “The toilet paper seems to be working OK, though.”
We watched it drip through and were strangely proud. Our first refreshment in the wilderness. He handed me a cup of coffee. It was swimming in grounds and little flecks of pink tissue, but it was piping hot, which was the main thing.
He gave me an apologetic look. “I threw out the brown sugar, too, so there won’t be any sugar for the oatmeal.”
Ah. “Actually, there won’t be any oatmeal for the oatmeal. I left it in New Hampshire.”
He looked at me. “Really?” then added, as if for the record: “I love oatmeal.”
“What about some of that cheese?”
He shook his head. “Flung.”
This was beginning to sound a trifle grave….
OK, you kinda need to read the whole thing to get it. I also liked this Katz anecdote:
“On the morning of our second day, we were strolling down the Champs-Elysées when a bird shit on his head. ‘Did you know a bird’s shit on your head?’ I asked a block or two later.
Instinctively Katz put a hand to his head, looked at it in horror – he was always something of a sissy where excrement was concerned; I once saw him running through Greenwood Park in Des Moines like the figure in Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ just because he had inadvertently probed some dog shit with the tip of his finger – and with only a mumbled ‘Wait here’ walked with ramrod stiffness in the direction of our hotel. When he reappeared twenty minutes later he smelled overpoweringly of Brut aftershave and his hair was plastered down like a third-rate Spanish gigolo’s, but he appeared to have regained his composure. ‘I’m ready now,’ he announced.
Almost immediately another bird shit on his head. Only this time it really shit. I don’t want to get too graphic, in case you’re snacking or anything, but if you can imagine a pot of yoghurt upended onto his scalp, I think you’ll get the picture. ‘Gosh, Steve, that was one sick bird,’ I observed helpfully.
Katz was literally speechless. Without a word he turned and walked stiffly back to the hotel, ignoring the turning heads of passers-by. He was gone for nearly an hour. When at last he returned, he was wearing a windcheater with the hood up. ‘Just don’t say a word,’ he warned me and strode past. He never really warmed to Paris after that.”
― Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
And my kids, my kids are hilarious. The eldest sent me a poem last night:
“The great cake eater, his name was Peter
He ate cake raw, he ate cake baked
He ate round cakes (called pancakes)
But now poor Peter is no more
Because he exploded (big guffaw)
No, it’s true I tell you, do not laugh
I still have his icky scarf.”
Bless her. She’s divine.
How about you – what do you find funny?
Song of the day: Weird Al Yankovic “Fat”