Saturday, June 30, 2007

S. J. Perelman to Thurber

To James Thurber

14 Washington Square North
New York City
March 4, 1946.

Dear Jim,

Many thanks to yourself and Helen for your very kind note, which arrived as I was sitting beside a rainswept window tugging ineffectually at my beard, like Beerbohm's mournful caricature of Lytton Strachey. I was particularly heartened by the theory you relayed about the reservoir of humor we're all supposed to possess. Candidly, mine seems at the moment to have shrunken to a greenish hog-wallow dotted with kerosene cans and old shoes. Every so often, I appear in the sedge bordering this tarn, cup my hands, and shout, "Halloo--are there any side-splitting ideas in there, mate?" A voice from the opposite shore (there must be a Cockney living in there with me) replies, "Coo--not bloddy 'arf."

I suppose, however, we should all be refreshed and uplifted by the thought that one person, at least, continues to wear the old cap and bells vivaciously, and that's Bennett Cerf. Among his other exploits this winter, America's Sweetheart got out a Modern Library anthology of humor with a dust-jacket representing you and me which is going to take some intensive forgetting. One of these days when we're not too busy worrying, what say we sneak over to Random House and clap a commode snugly down over his ears?

I hope, in any case, that you are both bursting with rude health, and let's all toast each other into insensibility some evening with all kinds of malts and grains. Meanwhile, Laura and I send you our very best.
Yours,

-from Don't Tread On Me: the Selected Letters of S. J. Perelman edited by Prudence Crowther (New York: Viking, 1987) p. 67-68.

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Rodrigo said...
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