Furious Fight Between Humorists

Sometimes a man has to step up and say, “I did this, and I’m proud of it.” Even if he did not actually do “this,” or “it.” This is where we find ourselves today. For The Authorial We is (are?) not a self, but selves.

Many moons ago, The Paris Review allowed Kurt Vonnegut to interview himself, and published it as a Paris Review Interview. Just so, here is my interview with Robert S. Kahn.

RSK: So, you call yourself a writer?

RSK: Get to the point.

RSK: And a scholar?

RSK: I’m warning you …

RSK: You’ve just spent quite a bit of money to move your entire library from Vermont to the outskirts of Denver.

RSK: Get to the point.

RSK: Who, from all the authors of antiquity unto our times, has the most volumes in your collection?

RSK: That would be P.G. Wodehouse.

RSK: And how many Wodehouse volumes do you house in your collection?

RSK: At last count, 41.

RSK: And aside from Pelham Grenville W., who, or whom, would your next most prolific contributor be?

RSK: I have the complete works of Dave Barry.

RSK: The complete works?

RSK: Get on with it.

RSK: Mr. Kahn …

RSK: Call me Bob.

RSK: Bob …

RSK: Call me Mr. Kahn.

RSK: But …

RSK: I like to hear you say it.

RSK: So you have 41 volumes of P.G. Wodehouse …

RSK: Books.

RSK: Excuse me?

RSK: They’re books. They’re not volumes; they’re books.

RSK: But, Mr. Kahn …

RSK: Get over yourself, you twit. Would you say, “I have the complete volumes of David Barry,” or would you say, “I have all of Dave Barry’s books”?

RSK: I see. Umm … What is that you are holding in your hand?

RSK: Nothing.

RSK: Mr. Kahn, it’s surely nothing. It glinted …

RSK: It glinted?

RSK: Yes, sir, it surely did. It glinted …

RSK: But did it glint at you?

RSK: Well, I could not say that, under oath. Were I required to. I mean, a glint is a glint. It glints here, it glints there, and everywhere. It just glints.

RSK: Something to think about, though, isn’t it?

RSK: It certainly … umm … and after Pelham Grenville Wodehouse and David Barry, who is the most prolific contributor in your so-called library? Mister Kahn?

RSK: That would be Mr. Mark Twain.

RSK: So then, Mr. Kahn, your so-called library is not a scholarly library at all. It’s a raggedy collection of so-called “humorists.” Isn’t it, Mr. Kahn?

RSK: Umm …

RSK: Well, isn’t it?

RSK: I don’t have to stand here and listen to this. (Bad word here) you, Bob. I never liked you.

RSK: But, Mr. Kahn, we are talking about the future of our republic.

RSK: You are, maybe, if knew anything about the future of the republic, which you don’t. But if you did, here’s some advice: Listen to the jokes people are telling.

RSK: But …

RSK: Listen to the jokes.

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