Is this the funniest writing ever?

This is a brief quote from Bill Bryson’s book “Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe”. This is a very funny book, and I would be interested in hearing any quotes funnier than the one below.

“The sex shops [in Hamburg], too, were nothing compared to those in Amsterdam, though they did a nice line in inflatable dolls which I studied closely, never having seen one outside a Benny Hill sketch. I was particularly taken with an inflatible companion called the Aphrodite which sold for 129 marks. The photograph on the front was of a delectably attractive brunette in a transparent negligee. Either this was cruelly misleading or they have made more progress with vinyl in recent years than I had realized.”

"In large, lurid letters the box listed Aphrodite’s many features. LIFE-SIZED!, SOFT FLESH-LIKE SKIN!, INVITING ANUS! (Beg pardon?), MOVABLE EYES! (Ugh) and LUSCIOUS VAGINA THAT VIBRATES AT YOUR EVERY COMMAND!

“There was another one called Chinese Love Doll 980 ‘for a long-lasting relationship’, it promised sincerely, and then in bolder letters added: EXTRA THICK VINYL RUBBER. Kind of takes the romance out of it, don’t you think? This was clearly a model for the more practical types. On the other hand it also had a VIBRATING VAGINA AND ANUS and TITS THAT GET HOT!! Below this it promised: SMELL LIKE A REAL WOMAN”

“All these claims were in a variety of languages. It was interesting to see that the German versions all sounded coarse and bestial: LEBENGROSSE, VOLLE JUNGE BRUSTE, LIEBENDER MUND. The same words in Spanish sounded delicate and romantic: ANO TENTADOR, DELICIOSA VAGINA QUE VIBRA A TU ORDEN, LABIOS AMOROSOS. YOu could almost imagine ordering these in a restaurant ('I’ll have the Ano Tentador lightly grilled and a bottle of Labios Amorosos ‘88’). The same things in German sounded like a wake-up call at a prison camp.”

“I was fascinated. WHo buys these things? Presumably the manufacturers wouldn’t include a vibrating anus or tits that get hot if the demand wasn’t there.”

"Imagine having friends drop in unexpectedly when you were just about to pop the champagne cork and settle down for a romantic evening with your vinyl companion and having to shove her up the chimney and then worry for the rest of the evening that you’ve left the box on the bed or some other give-away lying around. (‘By the way, who’s the other place setting for, Bill?’)

"Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps these people aren’t the least embarassed about their abnormal infatuations. Perhaps they talk about it with their friends, sit around bars saying ‘Did I tell you I just switched up to an Arabian Nights Model 280? The eyes don’t move, but the anus gives good action.’ Maybe they even bring them along. ‘Helmut, I’d like you to meet my new 440. Mind her tits. They get hot.’

So. Can you do better?
(All of Bill Bryson’s books are well worth reading)

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite travel writers, though I like his old stuff much bettr than his newer stuff. Neither Here Nor There was the first book I read by him, and is still my favorite. I look forward to reading his book on Australia as soon as it makes it to paperback.

You’re in for a treat if you have yet to read “In a Sunburned Country”…I read it on a flight to Australia, making the 18 hour trip from Detroit more bearable. Though I can’t quote it, I do remember that the 3 page or so bit detailing the game of Cricket had me rolling in the aisles.

The Lost Continent was the first Bryson book I ever read, and it had me rolling. I would recomment it to anyone who’s planning on exploring the US.

very funny stuff, dr p. i havent come across mr bryson yet. my fave travel writer is paul theroux. he manages to bring this tart disapproving new england yankee sensibility wherever he goes. it makes me laugh.

ever read ‘happy isles of oceania?’ its the one where he sea kayaks between various indonesian and south pacific islands. in it he posits, with a straight face, that pacific islanders consume vast amounts of spam and corned beef, not because they have become dependent on the army commissary for most of their groceries, not because canned meat is just about the only thing that keeps in the hot climate, but because ‘its porky flavor (im quoting loosely here, i dont own the book) reminds them of their proud warrior cannibal days.’

no shit! sounds like something my grandfather would say, mean old bastard. i think its kinda funny, too, tho. theroux is on record as saying its all a big joke, and maybe it is, but its not easily apparent upon your first reading.

Isn’t it the most curious thing that a lot of Asian packaging still has that kind of hilariously bad English on it? I used to walk to a sandwich shop at lunchtime years ago which had a seedy little sex shop right next to it. Everyday I waited for my sandwich and read the dusty blow up doll box in the window which said the same thing as Bill Bryson’s - smells like a real woman. I was on a training course once when there was a rumour going around that a company had received a shipload of motherboards that were labelled muthaboards. I don’t know about that but I’d like to know if there’s a website somewhere that has a collection of Asianisms on display.

Doctor P!

You are making fun of the woman I love!

meet me in the Pit.

Thank you very much. Japanese Engrish is too funny. I want to talk like that! I will talk like that! Is it my imagination or are there subtle differences between Japanese Engrish and maybe the Taiwanese or Singaporean variety? And do Japanese people have English Japanese sites I wonder?

Heh, that was amusing, but I’m more a fan of Dave Barry, personally. In the travel “genre,” I’d recommend Dave Barry Does Japan which is hilarious. I’d post large sections of text, but I have the feeling that the mods wouldn’t be very appreciative (copyright infringements and all that jazz).

[Edited by Czarcasm on 02-27-2001 at 09:05 PM]

And for my next trick, I’ll actually close my italics…

I’ve been a fan of Bryson since “The Mother Tongue,” a remarkable history of the English language. His “Made in America” is almost as good.

My wife got me “In a Sunburned Country” on CD, and I listened to it while commuting. It was hilarious. I think Bryson’s description of checking out of the Darwin motel was funnier than the above passage, but it’s close.

The above passage is even better knowing that Bryson is a bit prissy, and imagining it being read in his funny english/midwestern accent.

As for sex dolls, check out http://www.realdoll.com. Frightening, yet impressive.

Realdoll. Yeah, but can she cook?

Theroux. Heard about the Spam thing but have never read any. Is any one particularly good?

I find Bryson absolutely hilarious.

But I’m always mystified at how attitudes about humor vary. For example, I like some of Dave Barry’s stuff, but most of the time I think he tries to hard and kills his own material with overdoing it. Yet millions of book purchasers would (obviously) disagree with me, and they’ve made Barry a rich man. I laughed out loud a lot at the first Carl Hiassen book I read, but my husband read it after me and barely cracked a smile.

The book that Bryson wrote about traveling off the main roads in the U.S. (someone named it already, but a quick scan with my overtired eyes hasn’t turned it up) was the first of his I read, and it was such a wonderful view of our wacky country.

theyre all really good, doc. each ones a cant-misser.