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They Call Me Carpenter A Tale of the Second Coming

Humor and Joke

The beginning of this strange adventure was my going to see a motion
picture which had been made in Germany. It was three years after the
end of the war, and you'd have thought that the people of Western
City would have got over their war-phobias. But apparently they
hadn't; anyway, there was a mob to keep anyone from getting into the
theatre, and all the other mobs started from that. Before I tell
about it, I must introduce Dr. Karl Henner, the well-known literary
critic from Berlin, who was travelling in this country, and stopped
off in Western City at that time. Dr. Henner was the cause of my
going to see the picture, and if you will have a moment's patience,
you will see how the ideas which he put into my head served to start
me on my extraordinary adventure.

You may not know much about these cultured foreigners. Their manners
are like softest velvet, so that when you talk to them, you feel as
a Persian cat must feel while being stroked. They have read
everything in the world; they speak with quiet certainty; and they
are so old--old with memories of racial griefs stored up in their
souls. I, who know myself for a member of the best clubs in Western
City, and of the best college fraternity in the country--I found
myself suddenly indisposed to mention that I had helped to win the
battle of the Argonne. This foreign visitor asked me how I felt
about the war, and I told him that it was over, and I bore no hard
feelings, but of course I was glad that Prussian militarism was
finished. He answered: "A painful operation, and we all hope that
the patient may survive it; also we hope that the surgeon has not
contracted the disease." Just as quietly as that.

Of course I asked Dr. Henner what he thought about America. His
answer was that we had succeeded in producing the material means of
civilization by the ton, where other nations had produced them by
the pound. "We intellectuals in Europe have always been poor, by
your standards over here. We have to make a very little food support
a great many ideas. But you have unlimited quantities of food,
and--well, we seek for the ideas, and we judge by analogy they must
exist--"

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 No. 366
 Posted on 9 June, 2006
 
 
 
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