On the other hand, imagine what the notorious storyteller would create as a contemporary joke writer for one of the national TV-network, late-night follies. Considering this premise, the following might be some of the insane, comically dark material ascribed to the onetime Philadelphia resident:
F. Lee Shyster, an attorney for a prestigious, metropolitan, Philadelphia law firm: Pettifogger, Chiseler and Shyster, parked his brand-new Jag XJ sedan with the long wheel base, illegally in front of the Liberty One building on Monday, ready to show it off to all of his colleagues who worked in the huge skyscraper.
As the counselor got out of the vehicle on the busy roadway, a truck came barreling along too closely to the curb and tore the driver’s door completely off its hinges, and caved in the car’s front end.
Shyster immediately called 911 with his voice-actuated, blue-tooth cell phone. Not more than a few minutes transpired when one of Philly’s finest pulled up. Before the cop had a chance to ask any questions, F. Lee started screaming hysterically.
The Jaguar, which the legal eagle just picked up earlier that day from the dealer, was now completely demolished and would never be the same no matter how the body shop contrived to make it appear functionally pristine again.
After the attorney finally wound down from his raucous rant, the police officer shook his head in disgust and disbelief. “I can’t believe how materialistic you lawyers are,” the cop said. “You’re so focused on your possessions that you don’t notice anything else.”
“How can you say such a thing?” Shyster said.
“Don’t you realize your left arm is missing from the elbow down? It must have been ripped off when the truck hit you.”
“My God,” F. Lee replied frantically. “Where’s my Rolex?” (Play the cued-up laugh track.)
Meanwhile, an elderly man was at home, dying in bed. He smelled the sweet aroma of his favorite chocolate-chip cookies being baked. He wanted to savor one more delicious morsel before he met his maker.
Falling out of bed, the chap dragged himself to the landing, rolled down the stairs, and crawled into the kitchen where his wife was busily making his desired treat.
With waning strength the insistent old timer made it to the table and on his knees, barely able to lift his withered arm to the cookie sheet.
As he grasped a warm, moist sampling, the woman whacked her husband’s hand with a spatula.
“Why did you do that?” the debilitated man said with exasperation.
“They’re for the funeral!” (Sound the laugh track again.)
And finally, John Branigan’s son, Jimmy—an anomaly and marvel of modern medicine—was born without a torso, arms or legs. Only his head existed. Having turned twenty-one years old that day, John’s offspring headed into the neighborhood bar with his dad for a celebratory first drink.
The elder Branigan ordered up the strongest array of beverages he could fathom: one bourbon, one Scotch, one beer, and a Long Island Tea as a final chaser.
All the tavern’s patrons looked on curiously as the boy took his premier sips of alcohol when bingo, a torso popped out from beneath the young man’s noggin. The customers fell dead-silent and then burst into whoops of joy.
Old John was shocked, obviously, and begged his son to drink again. The folks in the establishment chanted, “Take another drink.”
Two arms popped out from Jimmy’s torso. The bar went crazy. Branigan, crying and wailing, encouraged his son to drink some more. The patrons began to chant afresh, “Take another drink.”
By now the young man was getting tipsy. With his new hands, Jimmy reached down, grabbed the Long Island Tea and guzzled the last of it. Eureka, two legs appeared henceforth.
The bar was in total chaos. John Branigan fell to his knees and tearfully thanked God.
His son stood up on his new-found legs and stumbled to the left, then to the right, and staggered through the front door into the street, where a speeding vehicle ran over him and killed Jimmy instantly.
The tavern’s customers all remained speechless. Poor John Branigan moaned in grief. That certainly put a damper on the night’s festivities. One could say Branigan’s son should have quit while he was a head! (Play laugh, groan and applause track for the finale.)
Perhaps Poe wouldn’t have become well-known as a joke writer; but nonetheless, he would have made a few people laugh if he could have landed a job. It’s doubtful Jimmy Fallon, Kimmel, Steven Colbert or Seth Meyers would lower themselves with such atrocious, cheap humor, although Conan O’Brien might.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read this weekly installment of nonsense; and as always, thanks for your continued support.