Dear flappable reader:
Do you bristle at a handshake that resembles a limp fish? Do oblivious pedestrians bring you to the brink? What about museum gift shops, superfluous courtesy (do we need a gas pump to show us gratitude?), behemoth SUVS, or inexplicable operating manuals? Have you had it with screeching leaf blowers, beseeching telemarketers, escalating movie-ticket prices, or proliferating celebrity magazines? Is it children's choirs or karaoke singers, waiters bearing pepper grinders or dinner guests blathering on about salt, that drives you to distraction?
For anyone who has recognized that this peaceful kingdom of ours has more than a few potholes, 101 Damnations is the perfect companion. It's your ticket to the nine circles of personal hell.
Armed with wit, bewilderment, and words to the wise ass, today's leading humorists conduct a brief tour of the trivial and often universal exasperations we all must endure. Among the damning, Henry Alford reveals our wanton desire to affect Britishisms. Sandra Tsing Loh has it in for people who forward "funny" e-mails. Once and for all, Merrill Markoe sets forth cell phone etiquette. And there are many, many others. Ninety-eight to be exact. Make yourself comfortable. Misery loves company.
Funny Business Mass e-mails. Telemarketers. People who call the Hamptons "the country." Muggers, allergies, teenagers and things that stick to the soles of your shoes. In 101 Damnations: The Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells, edited by Michael J. Rosen (Mirth of a Nation), writers and humorists take quick, hilarious swipes at the things that drive them crazy. From Kurt Andersen's one-paragraph consideration of "the weird remarks between silence and praise," to Andy Borowitz's dismissal of the phrase "and all that good stuff," to Onion writer Tim Harrod's list of things he simply hates ("Reality TV, Tailgaters, Hangnails... Cartoons that Look Distinctive but not Expressive... Cheap Wristwatches), this collection is sure to please curmudgeons, cynics, Luddites and average fed-up Americans everywhere.