bryson's wit.

so i've been reading a lot this summer, and it is continuing so far post-summer. i got hooked on bill bryson a while back after reading A Walk in the Woods...then proceeded to read a bunch more. i just started (and am already almost finished with!) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - a memoir of sorts of bryson's growing up in the 50s. if you haven't read anything of his before, i highly suggest you do so. he's an amazing writer - no matter what he is writing about. hilarious stuff. so i want to share with you a passage that got me laughing to the point that i couldn't stop - i hadn't laughed this hard in a long time. i used to build these plastic models that's he's talking about, so i resonated. even if you didn't, i think you'll enjoy...

"Most things that were supposed to be fun turned out not to be fun at all. Model making, for instance. Making models was reputed to be hugely enjoyable but it was really just a mysterious ordeal that you had to go through from time to time as part of the boyhood process. The model kits LOOKED fun. The illustrations on the boxes portrayed beautifully detailed fighter planes belching red-and-yellow flames from the wing guns and engaged in lively dogfights. In the background there was always a stricken Messerschmitt spiraling to earth with a dismayed German in the cockpit, shouting bitter epithets through the windscreen. You couldn't wait to re-create such lively scenes in three dimensions.

But when you got the kit home and opened the box the contents turned out to be of a uniform leaden gray or olive green, consisting of perhaps sixty thousand tiny parts, some no larger than a proton, all attached in some organic, inseparable way to plastic stalks like swizzle sticks. The tubes of glue by contrast were the size of large pastry tubes. No matter how gently you depressed them they would blurp out a pint or so of a clear viscous goo whose one instinct was to attach itself to some foreign object - a human finger; the living-room drapes, the fur of a passing animal - and become an infinitely long string.

Any attempt to break the string resulted in the creation of more strings. Within moments you would be attached to hundreds of sagging strands, all connected to something that had nothing to do with model airplanes or World War II. The only thing the glue wouldn't stick to, interestingly, was a piece of plastic model; then it just became a slippery lubricant that allowed any two pieces of model to glide endlessly over each other, never drying. The upshot was that after about forty minutes of intensive but troubled endeavor you and your immediate surroundings were covered in a glistening spiderweb of glue at the heart of which was a gray fuselage with one wing on upside down and a pilot accidentally but irremediably attached by his flying cap to the cockpit ceiling. Happily by this point you were so high on the glue that you didn't give a shit about the pilot, the model, or anything else." p.98-99.

No comments: