Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cuppy, Wit in the Footnotes

Like footnotes, do you?

I do. Some fiction authors pull them off well. Think Terry Pratchett, whose footnotes are worth reading, no matter how they might interrupt the flow of the novel.

And I don't. I edit technical documents for a living. Some of them contain footnotes. It is my professional goal to integrate the phrase "hi poopsie" into a document before I die, and I think a footnote might be the place to do so. Although in technical documents, only auditors and the anal retentive look at footnotes. There are plenty of those in the Energy-Indusrial-Military complex in which I work. I'd be found out and ratted out and, well, something like this might well happen:

I'd be in the role of Newman, of course, whimpering like a puppy.

But footnotes bring us to the author William Jacob Cuppy who -- and here's another way he resembles me -- "knows more irrelevant facts than any mane alive," Untermeyer writes. It's these facts that fill the footnotes and otherwise nonsensical body of Cuppy's books and short articles. He's most noted for his book "How to Be A Hermit," of which I'd love a copy.

Untermeyer offers three of Cuppy's smaller works, "The Goldfish," "The Pterodactyl," and "The Pleiosaur." Here's "The Goldfish" (click on the image to embiggen; if I do it here, it makes my margins all off):

My favorite: Queen Victoria had a Goldfish. [Footnote: This statement is offered without documentation. It is based upon the self-evident truth that if Queen Victoria did not have a Goldfish, then history has no meaning and might as well stop.] Few authors use footnotes to the wiseassery extent as this. I applaud him.

Please, read more Cuppy, especially his "Hermit" book. A lot funnier than that stiff Thoreau fellow.

No comments:

Post a Comment