Exclusively Online | Fall 2021 Issue

“A Lighter Look” — Happy New Year

Rick Meyer’s regularly appearing column takes a lighter look at politics and public affairs around the world. This month: Happy New Year!

By Richard E. Meyer

It’s important to start the New Year right.

With a laugh.

Occasionally, The Lighter Look offers gifts of wit from those blessed with a remarkable abundance.

They have included Molly Ivins, who specialized in laughs from Texas when the state still had a sense of humor. She wrote of one politician: “He was so narrow-minded he could see through a keyhole with both eyes.”

And about another: “If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.”

They also have included Jim Cook, a newspaper reporter in Arizona who, bored with writing the truth, founded the Institute for Factual Diversity. He appointed himself the official state liar.

Arizona is dry because it is warm, Cook wrote. One summer the sidewalks got so hot “my shadow got up and walked alongside me.” The heat comes from a wealth of sunshine. There is so much, he said, that sundials run 30 minutes fast.

But up in the hills, it can get cold. “I have seen a cup of coffee freeze so fast that when we thawed it out, it was still hot.”

Most recently, “The Lighter Look” told you about Edwin Edwards, who lived into his 90s. When he ran for a third term as governor of Louisiana, he was accused of corruption. His opponent was David Duke, grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Edwards wives were sexy and less than half his age.

“I’m the wizard under the sheets,” he said. “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”

He won by a landslide.

Now that 2021 has ended, let’s greet 2022 with hope and some more laughs. Hope, because this year is likely to be better than last year. And laughs, in case the new year is worse. The laughs will make this year easier to bear.

To help us, here is Mark Twain, the dean of American humor, with a collection, selected from AZ Quotes, of the chiseled but elegant wit for which he is legendary.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”

“Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.”

“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: This is the ideal life.”

“Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.”

“Nothing spoils a good story like the arrival of an eyewitness.”

“Let us be thankful for fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed. . . . There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule.”

“Laughter is the greatest weapon we have, and we, as humans, use it the least.”

“Now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them, as usual.”

Richard E. Meyer

Richard E. Meyer

Meyer is the senior editor of Blueprint. He has been a White House correspondent and national news features writer for the Associated Press and a roving national correspondent and editor of long-form narratives at the Los Angeles Times.

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