What I’m Reading Now – Three Men in a Boat

I started reading this book because I read a description of it in The Week that made it sound much like my own book. The joy of messing around and hanging out with your friends.
Written circa 1890 by Jerome K. Jerome, it’s surprisingly modern and very, very funny. I kept saying, this is dumb I should stop reading it, but I can’t stop because I keep laughing. In Hollywood parlance, let’s call it The Pickwick Papers meets The Mezzanine. (Yes, I did mean Pickwick, not Qwikpick. (The similarity is not accidental, though, you know.))

Anywho, they decide to take a boat/camping trip. (They vote on it, just like the Qwikpickers). Then it takes them a long, long time to actually get in the boat. The packing for their trip is high-larious. Here’s an excerpt:

The narrator has just finished packing the toothbrushes & such with extreme difficulty. Now he watches as his friends try to pack the food:

  I didn’t say anything, but I came over and sat on the edge of the table and watched
them.  It irritated them more than anything I could have said.  I felt
that.  It made them nervous and excited, and they stepped on things, and
put things behind them, and then couldn’t find them when they wanted
them; and they packed the pies at the bottom, and put heavy things on
top, and smashed the pies in.

They upset salt over everything, and as for the butter!  I never saw two
men do more with one-and-twopence worth of butter in my whole life than
they did.  After George had got it off his slipper, they tried to put it
in the kettle.  It wouldn’t go in, and what WAS in wouldn’t come out. 
They did scrape it out at last, and put it down on a chair, and Harris
sat on it, and it stuck to him, and they went looking for it all over the
room.

“I’ll take my oath I put it down on that chair,” said George, staring at
the empty seat.

“I saw you do it myself, not a minute ago,” said Harris.

Then they started round the room again looking for it; and then they met
again in the centre, and stared at one another.

“Most extraordinary thing I ever heard of,” said George.

“So mysterious!” said Harris.

Then George got round at the back of Harris and saw it.

“Why, here it is all the time,” he exclaimed, indignantly.

“Where?” cried Harris, spinning round.

“Stand still, can’t you!” roared George, flying after him.

And they got it off, and packed it in the teapot.

 This is exactly the sort of relationship I had with my writing partner and our two other friends back when we all worked at the paper together. Endless hemming and hawing, willful annoyances, etc…

Why I should want to relive all that, I don’t know.

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One Response

  1. A timeless, wonderful read.

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