Ralph's Stodgy Humor

To: The Editors, RALPH magazine

From: Raul Ginsberg

Re: "Knee-Slappers," What a Joke!

Not much danger of harming those arthritic joints with this pathetic list. It speaks volumes of the sad, geriatric nature of your editorial board.

Ever hear of Joseph Heller, whose Catch 22 was a classic of comedy writing? And couldn't you have included an actual living author in your list? (Although, I grant you, that Paul Krassner is still living and does have his moments.)

A good place to begin is with those Florida dudes. The state is so weird it is intrinsically hilarious. There's Pete Dexter, whose semi-autobiographical novels are a hoot! Dave Barry is a master satirist. Tim Dorsey's antihero, Serge Storms - - "storm surge"; get it? - - is a dillusional, drug-addled avenger who excoriates the despoilers of the traditional Florida that he loves.

And, of course there is the pioneer of the Florida crime humor genre: Carl Hiaasan whose protagonists go to war with avarice, brutality and polluters.

Here's the opening of his latest novel, Razor Girl:

    On the first day of February, sunny but cold as a frog's balls, a man named Lane Coolman stepped off a flight at Miami International, rented a mainstream Buick and headed south to meet a man in Key West. He nearly made it.

    Twenty-seven miles from Coolman's destination, an old green Firebird bashed his car from behind. The impact failed to trigger the Buick's airbags, but Coolman heard the rear bumper dragging. He steered off the highway and dialed 911. In the mirror he saw the Firebird, its grille crimped and steaming, pull onto the shoulder. Ahead stood a sign that said: "Ramrod Key."

    Coolman went to check on the other driver, a woman in her mid-thirties with red hair.

    "Super-duper sorry," she said.

    "What the hell happened?"

    "Just a nick. Barely bleeding." She held her phone in one hand and a disposable razor in the other.

    "Are you out of your mind?" said Coolman.

    The driver's jeans and panties were bunched around her knees. She’d been shaving herself when she smashed Coolman's rental car.

    "I got a date," she explained.

    "You couldn't take care of that at home?"

    "No way! My husband would get so pissed."

    "Unreal," said Coolman.

    The woman was wearing a maroon fleece jacket and rhinestone flip-flops. On her pale thigh was the razor mark.

    "How about a little privacy?" she said. "I'm not quite done here."