Nostalgia in today’s market has a lucrative price. We see it in products reminiscent of the “good old days” in television, music and fashion styles.
Among the musings of the past, I came across a collection of short stories that included a story entitled “How to Guess your Age” by Corey Ford. This collection was published in 1954 and edited by Bennett Cerf.
These names meaning nothing to mean, I was born on the tail end of the baby boomers, so I really didn’t have a clue, but I didn’t let that discourage me. In fact, I took it as a small invitation because the collection focused on humorous short stories.
Corey Ford’s story was the first I read. Honestly, I thought it was very witty. It was a comedic tale of how we accept aging. It made me laugh at the issues I see in myself and the reality of the aging process. For example, “food is more fattening and Martinis are weaker than they used to be.” The narrator “noticed the small print they’re using lately” and how “newspapers are getting farther and farther away when I hold them.” He complained “they are building staircases steeper than they used to” and “snow is heavier when I try to shovel it.”
I laughed quite a bit while reading this. It was sweet and clean. As a matter of fact, it was very clean. It didn’t use foul language to make a point. It didn’t exploit private issues to make me laugh. I really appreciated that. It was honest and uncontaminated humor.
Corey Ford was born in New York City in 1902. He was a writer, humorist, outdoorsman as an avid fishing and fowl game hunter, and a screenwriter. He was a part of a group of writers, critics and actors who met regularly for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in Mid-Town Manhattan. This gathering originally began as a practical joke but eventually fostered to stimulate creativity among its members. Some of the most notable members are Dorothy Parker, Harp Marx, Margaret Leech and George S. Kaufman.
Humor is a valuable trait in life and in the literary world. This includes non-fiction and scholarly endeavors, too. Life without laughter is dismal. We learn better when we laugh. Laughter helps the brain to retain information better that the dull and boring. What we read should reflect some of that in a natural manner because sometimes funny things just happen, for funny reasons.
We can be honest and find humor in it, and we can bold face lie and still laugh. Either way, laughter is the music of the soul and for the reader, too.