Humor shrivels, dries up and blows away like a mushroom in a drought. Few human gifts are so time-and-place-dependent. Much of Mark Twain is heavy going and Rabelais has never made me laugh. The same is true for other renowned jokesters. The first bookish genre I felt enthusiasm for while crossing the border from children’s books into adult fare was humor, the twentieth-century American variety, especially Thurber, Perelman and Benchley, all associated with The New Yorker. The wittiest writer ever to work for that magazine was A.J. Liebling, a mere journalist. In contrast, the putative humorists have aged poorly.
the end of childhood, where remembrance stands.” If only recollection could cohere cold rivers
“A writer should know that only a few of those who look at him will actually see him.”