Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Cliche Expert Takes the Stand

from Fierce Pajamas: an Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker.

"The Cliche Expert Takes the Stand," by Frank Sullivan.

Q - Mr. Arbuthnot, you are an expert in the use of the cliche, are you not?
A - Yes, sir, I am a certified public cliche expert.
Q - In that case would you be good enough to answer a few questions on the use and application of the cliche in ordinary speech and writing?
A - I should be only too glad to do so.
Q - Thank you. Now, just for the record - you live in New York?
A - I like to visit New York but I wouldn't live here if you gave me the place.
Q - Then where do you live?
A - Any old place I hang my hat is home sweet home to me.
Q - What is your age?
A - I am fat, fair, and forty.
Q - What is your occupation?
A - Well, after burning the midnight oil at an institution of higher learning, I was for a while a tiller of the soil. Then I went down to the sea in ships for a while, and later, at various times, I have been a guardian of the law, a gentleman of the Fourth Estate, a poet at heart, a bon vivant and reconteur, a prominent clubman and man about town, an eminent-
Q - Just what is your occupation at the moment, Mr. Arbuthnot?
A - At the moment I am an unidentified man of about forty, shabbily clad.

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