- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

A colleague of mine said I should do a column about running out of humorous things to write about.

So this it.

… Um, did you ever. …

No, that won’t work.

… How about? … Nah. …

Sigh.

… I got nothing.

I swear that guy is dead to me.

•••


A British survey has found that two-thirds of its respondents fibbed about having read high-brow books like “War and Peace” and “1984” in order to appear more intelligent and sexier than they really are.

Besides Leo Tolstoy’s epic “War and Peace” and George Orwell’s political nightmare “1984,” other books people fib about include the Bible, Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time,” Gustave Flaubert’s novel “Madame Bovary” and Marcel Proust’s memory exercise “Remembrance of Things Past.”

People also tend to bluff about having read Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters.

I’ve tried reading “War and Peace” on three separate occasions. It’s way over 1,000 pages — and that’s just the Cliff Notes. I gave up and decided to wait for the movie. Then I found out the movie version is eight hours long! Who was this Tolstoy guy? I’ll tell you — a guy with way too much time on his hands.

You know why “War and Peace” is so long? It’s because Tolstoy didn’t have an editor. Any good editor would have told him to do just “War” first and then write “Peace” as the second-day follow-up.

I haven’t read “Remembrance of Things Past,” but I hear it’s a six-volume novel that starts with some French guy’s memory of a cookie. That must have been one good cookie.

Now, I like to eat, as my waistline can attest. But I haven’t had a meal that was worth seven volumes of books — and I have been to Benihana. I suspect Proust was on a no-carb diet.

I’ve actually read “A Brief History of Time.” Didn’t understand it. But I read it.

I’ve also read “1984,” but I think I missed the point. I kept rooting for Big Brother. He always seemed to know what was going on. I’m looking forward to the sequel, “2004.” I’ve heard good things about it.

•••


“Antediluvian” is a good five-dollar word: It’s multisyllabic, has more than eight letters, starts with a vowel and you can’t use it in a sentence without somebody saying, “What?”

•••


There was some good news out last week. A South Florida woman who had called 911 because a McDonald’s had run out of Chicken McNuggets received a refund and a free meal. She also received a notice to appear in court.

Latreasa Goodman, 27, of Fort Pierce, called 911 three times because a restaurant had run out of McNuggets she had ordered and paid for, but wouldn’t give her a refund. Police charged her with improper use of the 911 emergency line.

A regional McDonald’s official said Goodman will get her refund and an “Arch card for a complimentary meal” because “we never want to disappoint a McNuggets fan or any McDonald’s customer.”

According to a transcript of Goodman’s 911 call, she said: “This is an emergency! If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one. This is an emergency.” You know, sometimes you just gotta have your McNuggets.

I’m waiting for Burger King to cite this incident in its commercials. Burger King takes special orders — even emergency orders.

This refund and a free meal might backfire on McDonald’s. It might encourage copycat complainers — and don’t the cops have better things to do?

I just wonder if taxpayers can get a refund on her 911 calls.

•••


So, back to writing a humor column without any juice.

OK … sigh.

… I still got nothing.

I’m gonna kill that guy.

•••


I read a BBC report about a male chimp at a Swedish zoo that sets aside rocks that he later throws at visitors. A researcher says this proves that animals can plan future events.

The chimp, named Santino, chips away at weakened concrete to produce his stones, which he stores and later hurls at bystanders. The researcher said this behavior shows that apes “consider the future in a very complex way.”

So chimps can plan for the future, huh? Well, how does Santino’s 401k look? Because mine looks horrible, and I could use some help.

I always thought the “Planet of the Apes” movies were science-fiction flicks, but now it looks like they were futuristic documentaries.

I wonder what the other animals are planning. Probably global domination. All this time I’ve been worried about machines becoming sentient and taking over the world, when I really should have been worried about my neighbor’s dog. Well played, Rex. Well played.

Animals can make plans? I doubt it. There’s too much roadkill for that to be true.

You can reach Carleton Bryant at 202/636-3218 and cbryant@washingtontimes.com.

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