"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it." - Art Buchwald
According to NPR, today is Art Buchwald's birthday. Happy birthday Art, from your youngest fan.
When I was a kid in elementary school, we naturally had a history course each year. The only problem was we never made it past the Civil War. We'd start with the Revolution and trudge through the 18th and 19th centuries before getting totally bogged down in the Civil War. Right before school was out for the summer, the teachers would be busy trying to explain what a "carpet bagger" was without spitting. I guess it was a southern thing.
That was all well and good, but then you'd hear your parents talking about Watergate and Spiro Agnew and you'd feel a bit left out. For years I thought Gerald Ford and George Washington were one and the same person, due to my mother misunderstanding my question once during the evening news.
By the time I was in 5th and 6th grade, I was out on the streets, hanging out at the used book stores. Yeah. Ugly, but true. When I'd had my fill of kids books, I moved on to the hard stuff. That's when I found Art Buchwald.
I learned everything I know about the Watergate saga, Vietnam, and gas shortages from Art Buchwald. It was years later before I understood that Henry Kissinger was not really a funny man. And although I was old enough to experience the Reagan years, Art Buchwald explained all sorts of things about that era that my junior high social studies teachers didn't deem important.
Perhaps this is not the best way to learn about American history, but it certainly ranks among the most entertaining. So happy birthday, Mr. Buchwald!
"Mom! Mom! Who is Mary Jo Kopechne?"
(Yeah, I bet my mom thanks you too, Mr. Buchwald.)