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What’s Funny and What’s Not

What’s Funny and What’s Not
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Welcome to the March 2014 edition of “Jud’s New England Journal,” the rather curious monthly musings of Judson Hale, editor-in-chief of Yankee Magazine, published since 1935 in Dublin, New Hampshire.

What’s Funny and What’s Not

It’s often difficult to predict. For instance …

Some years ago we published the following short piece by Frank J. Smith in Yankee. I thought it was wonderful humor, not easy to find for publication, but I recall that some readers wrote us saying, among other critical comments, that it was “stupid.”

Anyway, you can decide. The title of the piece was “What to Do When Your Car Steering Wheel Comes Off.”

“With your steering wheel having suddenly fallen off into your lap, surprise is quickly superseded by a feeling of utter helplessness. Endeavor to make this phase as brief as possible, and get on with the question of what to do. Note where the break occurred, and if a sizable stub of wheel spoke remains attached to the column, you may be able to steer to some extent. Or you may seize the nut that held the steering wheel (no pun intended) with the vise grips you should always keep handy, to improvise a tiller. Before trying these maneuvers, however, look over the road and the traffic situation. Is the car holding a reasonably straight course now that it’s free to go whither it listeth, or is it veering to left or right? A reasonably quick thinker can cover these points in seconds.

“Here is where most drivers make their mistake. If you have reason to believe you may get away with a fender bender or a cut lip, you may spend your time bracing yourself, or trying to remember what your insurance covers. But if things appear hopeless, do not waste time on these trivialities, but proceed immediately to review your past life. Drowning persons have more time for this, and generally do an adequate job of it. If you waste too much time, you may not get beyond the time you flunked algebra, and may have to cut it short in order to allow a second or two to wonder whom your wife will marry, and time for a final curse, or commitment to the Almighty, depending on your religious persuasion. Some drivers do not review their lives, but, adhering to a custom common among American Indians, sing a death song.”

Well. I still think it’s hilarious. But you may not. Humor is truly one of life’s many interesting mysteries.

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Updated Saturday, March 1st, 2014

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