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"...a black bandage sewed around my left funny bone..."

Here's a great example of Ring Lardner's humor, from his 1921 novella The Big Town. The narrator is describing his father-in-law, a government contractor and war profiteer.

Well, the war wound up in the fall of 1918. The only member of my family that was killed in it was my wife's stepfather. He died of grief when it ended with him two hundred thousand dollars ahead. I immediately had a black bandage sewed round my left funny bone, but when they read us the will I felt all right again and tore it off. Our share was seventy-five thousand dollars. This was after we had paid for the inheritance tax and the amusement stamps on a horseless funeral.

...

"Just think," said my wife, "after all his financial troubles, papa died a rich man!"

"Yes," I said to myself, "and a patriot. His only regret was that he just had one year to sell leather to his country."

November 4, 2010 in Books | Permalink

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