There always seems something stunted about the intellect of those who have no humour, however earnest and enthusiastic, and however highly cultivated, they often are.
John Stuart Mill, ‘Diary’ (January 16, 1854), in The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Toronto, 1988, vol. 27, p. 643
I do confess I find Sears entertaining. On pages 186 and 187 of The Anti-Aging Zone he lists a number of signs or, if you will, “biomarkers,” to inform you whether you are “in the Zone” or not, i.e., whether you are following the Zone diet properly. These include how you feel generally, whether you are groggy in the morning, are fatigued, have headaches, and ten other markers of similar sophistication. One of these biomarker signs is the following, and I quote Sears exactly, “When the stool is isodense with water (i.e., it floats), that becomes a very good indicator of optimal eicosanoid balance.” In other words, if your shit floats, you are “in the Zone.” To this I have but one question: Where are you when it hits the fan?”
Roy Walford, Beyond the 120-Year Diet: How to Double Your Vital Years, New York, 2000, pp. 20-21
My girlfriend informs me that there’s a black widow nesting in a drainpipe near our garage. I have now been on the GTD program for several days and am a next-action machine. I say out loud to myself in a robot voice, “Processing … dot dot dot …” I head outside, already planning my next action: “Pour water down drain to send spider on river rampage to Jesus.” On the way, however, I discover a dead squirrel. Protocol interrupted. How do you dispose of a dead squirrel?
I return to the house with my bucket of water to ask the Internet. A state of California Web site informs me that I have to call the West Nile Virus Hotline. WTF?! I open a new tab and Google “West Nile deaths human California.” Only one this year. Next action: Let air out of lungs. Back to west nile.ca.gov. From the photos, I identify the decedent as a Fox squirrel. While scrolling through, I notice that its cousin the Douglas squirrel is adorable! I throw it—the words, not the squirrel—at Wikipedia. Pine squirrel located in the Pacific coastal states. Huh. I jot down “pine squirrel” for use in as-yet-unwritten funny sentence. Back to the ‘pedia. Naturalist John Muir described the Douglas squirrel as “by far the most interesting and influential of the California sciuridae.” … Sciuridae? How has that term managed to elude me for more than three decades? I click the link and learn that it’s a family of large rodents—squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, and, uh, spermophiles. I wonder how you pronounce it. sky-yer-EE-dye? SURE-i-day? Goto: Merriam-Webster Online. Damn—it’s a premium-account word. I’ll have to slum it on Dictionary.com. Aha! sigh-YUR-i-day. I say it aloud several times, nodding with a false sense of accomplishment. The black widow is still alive. The Fox squirrel is still dead. And so are 35 minutes of my life.
Chris Hardwick, ‘Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek’, Wired, vol. 17, no. 1 (January, 2009)
[E]l humor es la única salida del artista: si no le daría tal horror la realidad y la vida de los seres humanos actuales, que es la vida de siempre, la vieja historia: los buenos corridos y asesinados por los malos que se convierten en buenos con el poder y son corridos por otros malos que con el poder, ya se sabe, se convierten en buenos y la gran masa mira el espectáculo mientras viven como ratas, en fin.
Enrique Villegas, in Germán Leopoldo García (ed.), Hablan de Macedonio Fernández, Buenos Aires, 1968, p. 53