July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I’m going to be honest with you here, because we’ve known each other a long time.

Well, actually, I don’t know you. You know me, because you’ve read my columns in The Link. (I think. I find that people come up to me and just start talking like they’ve known me for years, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never met them before, but not 100 percent sure, or I’d ask them straight out.) I don’t really know you, because I don’t read your columns in The Link. Also, there are some readers out there who might not even have columns in The Link.

Don’t be offended. I don’t have time to read these days. I start reading books from the library, and as soon as I get to the best part, the books are due. Why is the best part always near the end?

For some reason, people just assume that I know them, just because they know everything about my life. It’s a weird relationship. It’s like you guys are stalking me.

But they don’t see it that way. They seem to think I’m stalking them. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me, after reading my columns, if I have a hidden camera in their living room. I can’t tell you because of national security.

People also ask when they first meet me is, “When’s your next book coming out? I got your previous book from the library, and it was hilarious!”

Thanks. The library buying one copy for the entire town totally pays for the expense of writing new books.

What I’m getting at is that I have another book out this month.

“Another book?” you’re asking. “Don’t you already have a book?”

Yes. Four, actually. This is my fifth. That I’ve written. I’ve read almost twice as many.

The book is mostly a collection of articles that have not yet appeared in other books, with additional jokes stuck in to tie the articles together. Basically, it’s a book about 50 different topics, and it’s great for people with little to no attention span, and for people who don’t want to have to return books to the library right before the good part. In my books, there is no good part!

(You know what I mean.)

Which brings me to the title. As it turns out, it’s not that easy to name a book. At least when you’re naming kids, you get ruach hakodesh. You look at them and say, “Yeah, he has no hair and no teeth and he’s wrinkled. He looks like my grandfather, alav hashalom… Hey, I have an idea for the name!”

Books aren’t generally named after other books. That’s just asking for trouble.

I generally ask my readers to send in titles, and whoever sends in the title that we use gets a free book! If they want it. So far, no one’s sent it back.

Here’s the thing: This time, I already have a title. Don’t get me wrong; I still need you to send in book titles, if you think of any. But I’m probably going to save them for next time.

There will be a next time, IY”H. There will always be more books. Because the thing about writing books—and follow me closely here—is that once someone buys your book, he probably won’t buy any more copies of it. It’s not like food, where if he likes the food, he’ll buy it again.

How do I get people to buy more books? Make them edible? We’re already making them out of paper, which, studies show, is one of the shortest-lasting substances on the planet. It’s not waterproof, it’s not fireproof, it’s not kid-proof, we advise people to keep it on the coffee table at shin height right next to their coffee… We’re even advising people to stick all their books onto one electronic device that is easy to drop and has a glass screen. But somehow, people are hanging onto those books, one page at a time.

My point is that if you want people to keep buying books, you have to keep putting out new books, and every single one has to have its own name. Like kids. So I still need titles for future books. But this book, unless something changes (such as my publisher getting back to me on whether the title is okay), is called What Is This—Some Kind of Joke? which is symbolic of what people ask me when they read my material. It doesn’t help that I tell them it’s “humor,” which is probably the least humorous word to use to describe things that are funny. There’s even a disagreement on how to pronounce it, so I have to repeat myself. I generally pronounce it “yoomer.”

Another thing the title symbolizes is that it’s a book about humor. Sure, all my books are humor, but this one is also about humor, in that I make jokes about famous jokes. I ask hard-hitting questions, like why the most famous joke involves our entire society trying to figure out why one single chicken crossed a road that one time. Don’t just stand there trying to figure it out. Your chicken is getting away! I also try to figure out why so many famous jokes involve violence, cannibalism, plane accidents, skeletons, alcoholism and trying to figure out who’s on the other side of the door.

So buy my book, which is available wherever books are sold. The bookstore, I’m guessing.

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].


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