Roger Angell...squirrel guts and a joke on death

Dateline: Sat 15 Feb 2014

The 94-year-old bookish sports writer with a degree from Harvard who worked at the New Yorker for years has an excellent essay in the New Yorker, Feb. 17 & 24 issue.

He writes about intimacy, love, venery, his various physical impairments, his late beloved wife, dogs, music, scotch and the art of writing with so much grace and vigor that I have to share just two small portions.

The first is actually from an interview with him published last May, "Bronx Banter presents The Stacks," in which he talks about (among many subjects) the influence of Ernest Hemingway on writing students at Harvard when he was there.

http://thestacks.deadspin.com/an-interview-with-roger-angell-they-look-easy-but-th-506833869

Needless to say, Henmingway's blunt, direct style was huge.

Every one of us, he says, was writing like Hemingway (or trying to).

"I still remember the first sentence of one of my classmate's stories...'Ernie stank of squirrel guts.'"

Secondly, his joke from the New Yorker..because, he says, "I count on jokes, even jokes about death":

Teacher: Good morning, class. This is the first day of school and we're going to introduce ourselves. I'll call on you, one by one, and you can tell your name and maybe what your dad or your mom does for a living. You, please, over at this end.

Small boy: My name is Irving and my father is a mechanic.

Teacher: A mechanic! Thank you, Irving. Next?

Small girl: My name is Emma and my mom is a lawyer.

Teacher: How nice for you, Emma. Next?

Second small boy: MY name is Luke and my dad is dead.

Teacher: Oh, Luke, how sad for you, We're all very sorry about that, aren't we, class? Luke do you think you could tell us what your dad did before he died?

Luke: (seizes his throat): He went, 'Ngungghhh!'

Very popular with 4th graders, says Angell.

 

 

Comments

Seneca [Member] said:

I've never understood people who want to go out "in harness," "holding the reins," with their boots on," etc.

I want to go out with only one thing on: a contented smile.

No harness, no reins, and certainly no boots.

2014-02-18 09:54:17

Seneca [Member] said:

I've never understood people who want to go out "in harness," "holding the reins," with their boots on," etc.

I want to go out with only one thing on: a contented smile.

No harness, no reins, and certainly no boots.

2014-02-18 09:54:20

Seneca [Member] said:

. . . "holding the reins," "with their boots on," . . .

Well, perhaps one more thing.

2014-02-18 09:56:46

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