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A READER'S JOURNAL, Volume 1
One Fell Soup
Roy Blount, Jr.
I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life
Published by Little Brown, Boston in 1982
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002
I was nearly through the book when I listened to the June 13, 1987 broadcast of Prairie Home Companion, which was supposed to be its last show. I heard Roy recite the following line: "It's better to be good and over, than rotten and hanging on." He'd been a regular on PHC and his brand of humor is aptly described as "one fell soup."
From "Is the Pope Capitalized?" he quotes the UPI stylebook: "burro, burrow: A burro is an ass. A burrow is a hole in the ground. A journalist is expected to know the difference." From "The Times: no SH*T": "And Sports Illustrated once turned my 'crap' to 'baloney' and Esquire my 'F*ck' to 'Forget.' And he closes with: "Since then, there has been a 'sh*t' or two in the New Yorker and other publications have eased their dung restrictions."
In "The Family Jewels," a column devoted to testicles (from Latin root 'testify'), he points out that "pubescent teenage boys appearing at their girl-friends's doors with orchids for their ball gowns" takes on a new meaning when you realize 'orchids' means 'testicles' in Greek.
And so the book goes — a delight to pick up and read anywhere — maybe a three-page article or two just to experience the mental whiplash of entering Blount's brain for a couple of minutes. "Be sure to fasten your seatbelts before reading" should be place in fluorescent orange at the beginning of each story, article, or column. Reading Blount's writing is like watching Jimmy Piersall play baseball: you can never tell when he might hit a home run and then run the bases backwards.
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