A Fistful of Fig Newtons
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From the wild and wacky world of a favorite funnyman, a dozen truer-than-life tales of tailgating on the Jersey Tumpike, infuriating infants, and other everyday catastrophes, defeats, and humiliations that are the familiar fate of Americans everywhere.
the board floor. I heard Schwartz mutter, “Look out and see what it is!” There was a pause. Another voice answered, “Oh yeah? Do it yourself. It ain’t gonna get me!” It was the dreaded Thing in the Woods syndrome that afflicts all denizens of every kid camp everywhere. We lay petrified until the sun came up and reveille was blown. Only the fat Chipmunk slept through it all. He was the first person I ever saw who slept with his glasses on. It was a sharp, brisk, sunny day. Camp
heat, the sergeant told us to strip down to our shorts and GI shoes. It was a little relief, but not much. Steam rose in swirling clouds from the boiling hot food; sweat dropped from my dog tags and into the gravy. Who cared? A little sweat never hurt anyone. I toiled on. Gasser wielded his beet ladle with dash and élan. Ernie was switched from peas to string beans. Other KPs from time to time emerged in pairs from the cooking car, struggling on the slippery floor, carrying giant cans of soup or
a goddamn thing.” We sat, and for a moment we both feigned sleep. Lieutenant Cherry loomed over us. “The mess sergeant tells me you guys did a real fine job, and I want you to know I’m proud of you, y’hear?” He patted Gasser’s shoulder and moved on back toward the rear of the car where Ernie had once sat. Seconds later he returned. “Hey, you guys, where’s Ernie?” “Uh …” I beamed up at the lieutenant, wearing my Innocent face, the one that had gotten me out of endless hassles in the past. “Uh
Smith catalog is a magnificent, smudgy thumbprint of a totally lusty, vibrant, alive, crude post-frontier society, a society that was, and in some ways still remains, an exotic mixture of moralistic piety and violent, primitive humor. It is impossible to find a single dull page, primarily because life in America in the early days of the twentieth century was not dull; it was hard, a constant struggle, and almost completely lacking in creature comfort. The simplest activity was, to use a popular
are, I thought as I watched my family trim the tree and scurry about wrapping packages. Before long, they will know. They will loathe me. I will be driven from this warm circle. It was about this time that I began to fear–or perhaps hope–that I would never live to be twenty-one, that I would die of some exotic debilitating disease. Then they’d be sorry. This fantasy alternated with an even better fantasy that if I did reach twenty-one, I would be blind and hobble about with a white cane. Then