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Ring Lardner


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It can be excused if the modern day fan had never heard of Ring Lardner, being that he has been deceased since 1933 and it is my attempt here to introduce this fine writer to our community here at Mvpmods.

I was in my early twenties when I first heard of Lardner myself when I came across a book at a newsstand called Round Up: The Stories of Ring W. Lardner and I never laughed so hard in my life at some of the stories I read and some of them made me actually stop and think. That's the kind of writer Lardner was. He was a brilliant satirist who wrote in slang and his writing came across exactly how people spoke. It was his way of bringing you into the story (at least I thought so) and I have never tired of reading Lardner's works throughout the years.

Around the turn of the previous century Lardner got his start writing for the Chicago Inter-Ocean and then later the Chicago Tribune. Lardner showed he had a keen eye for the news and a huge baseball fan. He was however a huge White Sox fan and was forever stung by the fact that his White Sox threw the 1919 World Series, a fact that was occasionally brought up in his writings after the Black Sox scandal.

Lardner did not just write about baseball. For nine years he was a writer for The Saturday Evening Post and it was during this time that a lot of his great work was produced and it was during these years that he showed he was just as good a writer whether he was writing about baseball or not.

Lardner had a short life as he suffered from effects of insomnia and tuberculosis, the latter claiming his life in 1933 at the young age of 48.

What I am going to do now is type out excerpts of Lardner's writing just to give you an example of his humor so you can hopefully see what I am talking about and maybe if you do run across some of his writings in the future it may make you pick it up and give it a read.

In the story The Big Town Lardner writes this in the preface about the book: (The Big Town is about a man and wife who move to New York from a mid western city with their sister-in-law and it is about the adventures all three of them have there while trying to get the sister-in-law married off. In real life, Lardner was from Niles, Michigan and did move with his wife and family to Great Neck, New York.)

This book deals with the adventures of a man and his wife and his sister-in-law who move to New York from a small Middle Western city. Because the writer and she who jokingly married him moved to New York from the Middle West, and because the writer has almost as many sisters-in-law as Solomon, several Nordic blondes have inquired whether the hero and heroines of the book are not actually us. Fortunately most of the inquirers made the inquiry of me, the possessor of a notoriously sweet disposition. Two of them, however, asked the madam herself and were both shot down.

In the story Gullible's Travels a man's wife pesters him to take her on vacation down to Florida in February because that is where the high society people go to over the winter and she wants to be part of it. They decide to go to Palm Beach,Florida and it proves to be expensive as soon as they got there:

They was about two dozen uniformed Ephs on the job to meet us. And when I seen 'em all grab for our baggage with one hand and hold the other out, face up, I knowed why they called it Palm Beach.

There was a woman named Nina Wilcox Putnam who wrote an article about husbands and her attitude towards them and Lardner was asked to write a rebuttal to this column which he called Men and Women. Lardner starts the column out by giving the Webster's Dictionary meaning of the word "husband" as only he can put it:

We will take for inst. the dictionary, and what does it say about a husband? The 1st. definition is a husbandman, which don't mean nothing. The 2d. definition is a frugal person, and economist. The 3d. definition is a man who has a wife. In other wds. Mr. Webster realized that his book wouldn't have no sale unless it tickled the womenfolks, so before he dast come out and say that a husband is a man with a wife, he had to call him a tightwad.

Lardner goes on:

Back toward the end of the same book you will run across the wd. uxoricide which means the murder of a wife by her husband. But nowheres in the book will you find a wd. that means the murder of a husband by a wife. Unless it's the wd. congratulations.

In the short story The Young Immigrunts Lardner writes the story as seen through the eyes of his four year old son Ring, Jr and as if little Ring, Jr is writing it. The Lardners were moving east and Ring, his wife and one of his sons made the drive. The other three sons took the train with the family caretaker. It was the perfect setting for one of Lardner's best stories.

While taking the boat from Detroit to Buffalo, Lardner's little boy describes the trip:

Instantly the boat gave a blarst on the wistle and I started with suprise.

Did that scare you Bill said my father and seamed to enjoy it and I supose he would have laughed out right had I fell overboard and been drowned in the narsty river water.

Little Ring goes on to explain how excited he was to see a new bride and groom on the boat:

A little latter who should come out on the porch and set themselfs ner us but the bride and glum.

Oh, I said to myself I hope they will talk so as I can hear them as I have always wandered what newlyweds talk about on their way to Niagara Falls and soon my wishs was realized.

Some night said the young glum are you warm enough.

I am perfectly comfertible replid the fare bride tho her looks belid her words what time do we arive in Buffalo.

9 oclock said the lordly glum are you warm enough.

I am perfectly comfertible replid the faare bride what time do we arive in Buffalo.

9 oclock said the lordly glum I am afrade it is too cold for you out here.

Well maybe it is replid the fare bride and without farther adieu they went in the spacius parlers.

I wander will he be arsking her 8 years from now is she warm enough said my mother with a faint grimace.

The weather may change before then replid my father.

Are you warm enough said my father after a slite pause.

No was my mothers catchy reply.

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