“No other country houses so many gorgeous frauds and imbeciles as the United States, and in consequence no other country is so amusing. Thus my patriotism is impeccable, though perhaps not orthodox. I love my country as a small boy loves the circus.”
H.L. Mencken as Quoted in Writers to Read: Nine Names that Belong on Your Shelf by Douglas Wilson
What do you call a group of aging friends talking about their growing physical infirmities?
HT: Dr. Bill Reeves
HT: Tim Taylor
Two brothers were well known all about town for being as crooked in their business dealings as they could possibly be, that notwithstanding, they continued to progress from wealth to greater wealth until suddenly one of the brothers died. The surviving brother found himself in search of a minister who would be willing to preach the funeral for his crook of a brother. He finally made an offer to a minister that was hard for the pastor to refuse. “I will pay you a great sum,” he said, “if you will just do me one favor. In eulogizing my brother, I want you to call him a ‘saint,’ and if you do, I will give you a handsome reward.”
The minister, a bit of a shrewd pragmatist, agreed to comply. Why not? The money could help put a new roof on the church.
When the funeral service began, the sanctuary was filled by all the important business associates who’d been swindled through the years by these two brothers. Unaware of the deal that had been made for the eulogy they were expecting to be vindicated by the public exposure of the evil man’s character. At last the much-awaited moment arrived, and the minister spoke. “The man you see in the coffin was a vile and debauched individual. He was a liar, a thief, a deceiver, a manipulator, a reprobate, and a hedonist. He destroyed the fortunes, careers, and lives of countless people in this city, some of whom are here today. This man did every dirty, rotten, unconscionable thing you can think of. But compared to his brother here, he was a saint.”
HT: Doreen Moore
A story is told of Carlini, the Italian actor, who, being the subject of heavy depression of spirit, applied to a French physician and it was recommended he attend the Italian theater, and, said the physician, “If Carlini does not dispel your gloomy complaint, your case must be desperate, indeed.”
The physician was not a little surprised when his patient replied, “Alas, Sir, I am Carlini. And while I divert all Paris with mirth and make them almost die with laughter, I myself am dying with melancholy.”
How empty and insufficient are the amusements of the world! Even in their laughter their heart rejoices not. Miserable comforters are all those who would drown seriousness in wine and merriment.