In Dark Times, Read a Funny Book

Many years ago, the first time I moved my child-of-the-warm-and-sunny-South wife Volita to Michigan, she was freely lamenting the decidedly colder conditions (and it didn’t help that the spring when we moved was one of the longest and coldest ever). Our equally Southern friend Trish Lantzy offered her this advice: read P.G. Wodehouse.

Trish was right: there’s nothing like a ridiculously humorous story to lift your spirits. If you’ve never read Wodehouse, you’ll find he’s a very good antidote to misery. British humor, forever dry and sardonic, makes you realize that whatever ills you’re suffering, a good laugh helps immensely. Bertie Wooster and his friends and all their ridiculous situations do indeed mitigate the pain. My wife and I quickly acquired quite a Wodehouse collection. It has served us well indeed.

I also like Douglas Adams. Particularly in times like these, when lots of what we’re doing as a society seems awfully foolish, his unique way of poking fun at the entire human race just fits. Humans, he pointed out, are “so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” Non-humans didn’t fare much better with him (except for the dolphins and the mice.) Not even robots escaped a vigorous lampooning in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy of five books. (Yeah, that’s Adams for you.)

There are plenty of other options if these guys aren’t your thing. Whatever your tastes, it’s a good time to curl up with something funny.

Now Volita and I are living in Michigan again, and we’re having another royally crappy spring, and we have this pandemic thing going on too. I already introduced my younger son to Adams. Tonight I think I’ll drag out the Wodehouse.


Jim Vinoski
Jim Vinoski
Jim Vinoski thinks he’s a pretty regular guy. Jim grew up in Michigan’s glorious Upper Peninsula. He’s married and has two sons, and now resides in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. He’s an avid cyclist, runner, and reader. He and his two boys are heavily involved in Scouting, with Jim serving as their Troop’s Scoutmaster. He’s a big WWII history buff and has never gotten over his 1980s fascination with heavy metal music. He has over 30 years of experience in manufacturing, in products ranging from plastics and paints to food and bourbon. (That last one was a heck of a lot of fun.) His focus has been in engineering (he holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering), operations, and management. He’s a veteran of such companies as Ralston-Purina and General Mills, and he’s currently responsible for all store-brand manufacturing of dairy and beverage products for a major regional US grocery chain. As a Forbes Contributor, Jim covers all facets of manufacturing. He’s explored everything in his column there from the success stories of numerous American manufacturers to the amazing innovations in our advanced technologies, such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence. Jim also blogs about everything under the sun at The Interface.

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  1. Him Jim, and welcome.
    I’ll always go for W.C. Fields and Calvin & Hobbes for my workout, preferably first thing in the morning. My favorite C & H episodes was where Calvin created a time machine to send a double of himself back in time to do the homework that he’d been putting off. Be sure to pee before you read the series!
    I choose blues over heavy metal (as a player too), loved the scouts until girls became interesting, and love history. We’ve been watching “The World on Fire” on PBS, about the start of the war. It’s wonderful.
    Keep on keepin’ on . . .

    • Mac, good stuff! I was tempted to delve into comics too – we’re great Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County fans – but I figured I’d focus just this once. Good stuff all the same!

      I’m a blues fan too – that came later…

      Thanks, and great to make your acquaintance!