The Laundress strikes again.
Ah, somebody gets it right.

A little too McSweeney's.

The other day Mr. CR and I took turns reading the short pieces in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. I don't mean anything sickening like we read aloud to each other or anything. (Outside of novels, does anyone actually ever do that?) I mean Mr. CR would read a chapter, and chuck the book aside, where I'd come across it, read a chapter, and chuck it aside. Lather, rinse, repeat. We've been doing this for several weeks now, as the book slowly makes its way around the different rooms of our house, and we still haven't gotten the whole thing read.

In fact, with the exception of a piece titled "Re: Hardy Boys Manuscript Submission"* by Jay Dyckman, which made me laugh out loud, most of the chapters have been largely forgettable. It is just what it says it is: a collection of short humor pieces and essays featuring decidedly highbrow humor and literature references (James Joyce figures liberally in these pages).

But the Hardy boys chapter was very enjoyable, and I like to give credit where credit is due. This is how it starts:

"Dear Sir:

Thank you for your submission of a Hardy Boys mystery. As explained in our submission guidelines, to appeal to today's readers, the Hardy Boys series seeks to bring a contemporary feel to its newest offerings. While we here at Simon & Schuster fully appreciate your efforts to modernize the characters and their adventures as per our instructions, we have some concerns with your draft. First and foremost, we are unpersuaded that the subject matter of The Case of the Secret Meth Lab is appropriate for our readers." (p. 23.)

That's pretty good stuff. Mr. CR's a tough crowd but that even got a smile.  I also enjoyed the chapter titled "Phrases on the Marquee at the Local Strip Club to Cater to a More Literate Crowd," by Jonathan Shipley. Included in the phrases: "Ahab, Check out Our Great White Tail," "Strippy Longstocking," and my personal favorite, "Our Girls Even Drive Oscar Wilde." (p. 69.)

After we'd both read a bit out of it, I opined to Mr. CR, "it's good, but some of it's a little 'too McSweeney's' for me." (By that I meant the book was just like going to the McSweeney's web site; I get about 20% of the pieces, and of that share, I find 5% hilariously funny. But the other 80%? Eh.) He agreed, the dear,but then pointed out that saying anything as completely nerdy as "it's a little too McSweeney's" marked me as a total geek.

What can I say? When he's right, he's right.

*Okay, "John Updike, Television Writer," by Jared Young, was pretty good too. "Newhart: Dick Loudon, growing increasingly depressed about his middling career as a writer of do-it-yourself books, purchases a Connecticut guesthouse and moves there with his emotionally distant former mistress, Joanna..."