Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Seven Authors Who’ve Kept Me Off Death Row

Winter is not my favorite season. When I tell people I get depressed in the winter, they ask if I get suicidal and are uncertain how to react when I tell them homicidal may be the word they’re looking for. At times like those, the biting satire and sarcastic humor of these seven authors has—more than once—saved lives.

ONE: P.G. Wodehouse

“And she’s got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need.”

“I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.”

TWO: Douglas Adams

“Humans beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

THREE: Terry Pratchett

“The duke had a mind that ticked like a clock and, like a clock, it regularly went cuckoo.”


“…it is very difficult to be racially prejudiced against creatures seven feet tall who can bite through walls, at least for very long.”

FOUR: Nelson DeMille

“The problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished.”

“I continued, “The painting shows this fish with a big eye and a halo, floating in air, and underneath the fish are all these Native Americans having sex.” “What? What does that have to do with Custer’s Last Stand?” “Well, the painting is titled, Holy Mackerel, Look at All Those Fucking Indians.”


FIVE: Donald Westlake

“I sat up and the room was full of a man with a gun.”

“Well, you might not think it to look at me,” Dortmunder told him, “but I got a family crest.” “Have you?” “Yeah. And it’s got a motto on it.” “I am anxious to hear this motto.” “Quid lucrum istic mihi est.” Mr. Hemlow squinted; the red-headed hawk in flight. “I’m afraid my Latin is insufficient for that.” “What’s in it for me,” Dortmunder translated.”

SIX: Janet Evanovich

“When I was six years old I sprinkled sugar on my head, convinced myself it was pixie dust, wished myself invisible, and walked into the boys’ bathroom at school.”

“Grandma was wearing a blond Marilyn Monroe wig, a hot pink tank top, black Pilates pants, and black kitten heels. She looked like the senior version of an inflatable sex toy doll that needed more air.”



SEVEN: Ring Lardner

“Shut up,’ he explained.”

“He looked at me as if I was a side dish he hadn’t ordered.”

“The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong – but that’s the way to bet.”

“They gave each other a smile with a future in it.”

You may have noticed that most of these authors are no longer writing . . .because they are dead. While I can go back and read their books over and over, there isn’t going to be any new material until they come back in their next lives and by then I’ll be sitting on a cot in a 5 by 9 cell on the green mile. Help me out!

List in Comments some modern and still-breathing authors who write hilarious stuff.

And be sure to go HERE to find links to more Saturday Seven posts.

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