The Pulitzer Prize
In the Offing as WellA recent, extremely funny book, Gringolandia: A Guide for Puzzled Mexicans, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The book provides immigrants from South of the border an introduction to the ways of the USA.
The co-authors were not surprised to hear of the nomination. "It couldn't be more appropriate," they said. "Joseph Pulitzer was an immigrant himself, and must have been very puzzled all the time."
The authors explain that Pulitzer, who came to the U.S. from Hungary as a teenager, never actually learned the English language. The first newspaper he published, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was written entirely in Hungarian, and still is to this day. People in St. Louis don't notice the difference because the paper has plenty of pictures.
"Pulitzer would have loved Gringolandia, if he could have read it," report the authors. "Unfortunately, it is in English. But we are working on a Hungarian translation for his descendants at The Post-Dispatch to read."
Since there was no specific place for humor in the Pulitzer Prize categories, they hoped at first that Gringolandia would be nominated in the music category as "an original song or dance." "There is a lot of song-and-dance in this book," state the authors, "just as there is for poor Mexicans trying to cross the border."
Finally, however, the nominating organization --- The Reginald A Fessenden Fund of San Diego --- decided to nominate it as Other. "We think 'Other' captures the book's special qualities," said Ms. S. Worth of Mho & Mho Works, speaking off the record.
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The authors are not resting on their laurels with this honor. They have recently petitioned the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo to establish a new category, next door to the Peace Prize, to be called The Funny Prize. They point out that this would be a fitting memorial to the humorous side of Alfred Nobel.
"Alfred Nobel was a famous joker in his time," they report. "He invented the Whoopee Cushion as well as dynamite, and liked to detonate explosives under his executives at Board meetings. Sometimes their expressions were so comical as they were blown up, that Nobel laughed until the tears came to his eyes".
The Funny Prize, they suggest, should be awarded annually to books that give the Swedish royal family an uncontrollable fit of giggles, as Gringolandia surely will. In the absence of such candidates, they suggest that the prize be awarded automatically to Joyce Carol Oates and Norman Mailer, with instructions to fight over it.