Why I'm an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales

Why I'm an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales

Why I'm an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales

Why I'm an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales

Synopsis

One day Roger Welsch ventured to ask his father a delicate personal question: "Why am I an only child?" His father's answer is one of many examples of the delightful and laughter-inducing ribald tales Welsch has compiled from a lifetime of listening to and sharing the folklore of the Plains. More narrative than simple jokes, and the product of multiple retellings, these coarse tales were even delivered by such prudish sources as Welsch's stern and fearsome German great-aunts. Speaking of cucumbers and sausages in a toast to a newly married couple, the prim and proper women of Welsch's memory voice the obscene and unspeakable in stories fit for general company. Why I'm an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales is Welsch's celebration of the gentle and evocative bits of humor reflecting the personality of the people of the Plains.

Excerpt

Dick Cavett

The prolific sage of Dannebrog, Nebraska, has done it again.

What we have here is a work for the ages. It should be called a rescue operation. a heroic rescue of a rich trove of hilarious material from a largely unheralded and neglected and wholly American phenomenon called Plains humor.

For recognizing its unique value and lovingly collecting it, we owe the author, as you will happily discover, a deep thanks. With this book, you will be a pleased benefactor of Roger Welsch’s painstaking and scholarly work. in simpler terms, you are in for a very good time.

Humor. Has anyone ever come up with a wholly satisfying definition of what it is? Isn’t it another case of a thing that can’t ever be fully defined, but as Justice Potter Stewart famously said about pornography, “I know it when I see it?” (Some don’t, of course, but that’s another matter.)

The great comedian, urbane wit, and humor writer Fred Allen (sorry, youngsters) may have, at the typewriter over his radio years, turned out more fine comedy in both quality and quantity than anyone who ever lived. a wit said about him, “Fred is the only man who’s written more comedy material than he can lift.”

“Lift” in its twin senses of “heft,” of course, and also “filch.” See Milton Berle. (Berle? Use Google again, kids. I have limited space.) the great comedy writer Goodman Ace called Berle “The Thief of Bad Gags.”

Perhaps because Fred Allen had played not only Nebraska . . .

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