Oh, how far we’ve come!

June 12, 1998

Every once in a while I have to send a fax, and there’s one company out there that doesn’t seem yet to have grasped the fax concept. Now I don’t know whether it’s because they’re trying to keep their phone bills down (those 20-second transmissions really add up), whether it’s because they’re French, or whether it’s because they’re technologically illiterate (which pretty much goes along with being French). But every time I send them a fax, I wait for two or three months, and then a letter–a letter sent through regular mail!–shows up with what is probably an answer but looks more like one of the guys in shipping couldn’t find anything else for his two-year old to draw on. Now, this shouldn’t bother me. It is, after all, only work, but my neurotic need to at least look busy begins to take control of me. If I have to hold anything for more than a month, I start having visions of being suffocated in my office by piles of bad French paperbacks that were dragged along behind the boat that brought them over, and now smell like they’ve been sneezed on.

Finally, the day came. The company got e-mail. I got to try it immediately. And waited. And waited. Two months after I’d sent the e-mail, a letter arrived. They’d printed my e-mail, and Georges Jr. stopped inhaling from the marker he was holding long enough to scrawl, "Oui" across the bottom of it. I can’t add anything to that, so here’s a bit of history: on this day, June 11th, in 1929, the United States banned "Lady Chatterly’s Lover." Well, at least there is some progress.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

  1. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

  2. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

  3. I was once in a spelling bee, but I lost because the other contastents cheeted.

  4. Did ancient Roman doctors refer to IV’s as fours?

  5. Now I know why they call them trial lawyers. I tried one and I didn’t like him.

  6. Why get even when you can get odd?

  7. They say if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat down your door. But usually it’s just one neighbor, and he’ll probably quit once you stop throwing dead mice in his yard.

  8. Want to trace your family tree? Run for public office or win the sweepstakes.

  9. A fool and his money are soon partying.

  10. How come you never hear about GRUNTLED employees?

  11. I went to a strip mall the other day. Let me tell you, I was disappointed. Everybody else had on clothes.

  12. Do pediatricians play miniature golf on Wednesdays?

  13. There are two kinds of jokes-the ones people laugh at, and the ones where people say, "That’s funny."

  14. You say "tomato," I say "tomato.com."

  15. The reason that men pay for dates is because women have to pay for the wedding.

  16. I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t even know I’m alive. She thinks she got me with her long-range rifle.

  17. Just because it’s toxic doesn’t mean it’s not tasty.

  18. Why isn’t there an explosion when you pour gasoline on fire ants?

  19. Never let your willpower get the best of you.

  20. I thought learning to play the bagpipes was hard until I realized I was strangling an ostrich.

  21. There are three types of people: those who can count and those who can’t.

This year’s Bulwer-Lytton Prize winner

The Edward Bulwer-Lytton prize is awarded every year to the author of the worst possible opening line of a book. This has been so successful that Penguin now publishes five books-worth of entries.

Some recent winners:

"As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the sound chamber he would never hear the end of it."

"Just beyond the Narrows the river widens."

"With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

"Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the east wall: "Andre creep . . . Andre creep . . .Andre creep."

"Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from seeking out a living at a local pet store."

"Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."

"Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

"Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn’t know the meaning of the word "fear," a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death–in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies.

AND THE WINNER (proof of the progress I was talking about-C.):

"The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog’s deception, screaming madly, "You lied!"

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