So Hang Me!
by D. J. Herda
Length: Est. 60,000
Genre: Humor, Satire, Pop Culture, Current Events
Sentence: When the going gets tough, author/columnist D. J. Herda gets going--after some of his favorite targets: from national politicos to international creeps, he tackles them all with aplomb, diplomacy, and the most irreverent sense of humor since Dorothy Parker held court at The Algonquin Hotel.
Blurb: D. J. Herda may not know pornography, but he knows what he likes! And what he likes better than anything else is lambasting those who deserve it most. From George Dub-ya and Newt Gingrich to Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, from the Pope to the Supreme Court, from Britney Spears to pickle spears, no one is too powerful, too glib, too popular to escape the rapier wit of America's most cutting humorist. Cindy Sheehan, watch your butt!
Synopsis: Following an abusive childhood and three failed marriages, author D. J. Herda found something he never expected to find: a good shrink. His psychiatrist helped him find something else he never even knew was missing: himself.
Today, more than 30 years later, Herda has built a name as the best cutting-edge humorist since Dorothy Parker. His latest book, So Hang Me, offers an unparalleled look at the perilous times in which we live. In a world so jaded and misdirected that it literally totters on the brink of destruction, Herda brings a fresh new light to a wide range of subjects, proving once and for all that it's not the man in your life that counts but the life in your man!
And, man, is this guy lively!
Bio: D. J. Herda has published more than 80 books and several hundred thousand columns and short stories. He has been dubbed the best writer living today. He is pleased, considering the alternative.
Film: The book, So Hang Me!, is filled with dozens of tongue-in-cheek, down-and-dirty, laugh-out-loud, warmly reflective stories made to order for television and the silver screen.
I was traveling in a cab from my hotel in Beverly Hills to the airport to return home to Wisconsin one crisp summer morning when it struck me. The I.D. card on the seat in front of me said my driver was from Iran.
Feeling pretty good about the business trip I had just concluded and the complimentary glass of champagne I had wolfed down on my way out of the lobby, I sat back and pretended to be absorbed by the copy of the Wall Street Journal I had picked up on my way out.
"You are successful businessman," Hassim Muhammed said, glancing at me in the rear-view mirror. "I can tell."
I smiled smugly. "Well, I'm a writer," I said, trying to look self-effacing. I loosened my tie and crossed my right leg over my left.
"And a successful one," he added. "I can tell."
I shrugged and turned the page, disappointed that I hadn't yet found the comics. "I do all right. A few books, a syndicated newspaper column…"
"I am from Iran," he said.
"Oh," I told him. "That's an…interesting place to be from."
"Yes, very much so, except when the snakes are mating."
I turned the page again, to more disappointment. Who reads this thing? "What brings you to America?" I asked absently. "I mean, besides the snakes."
He furrowed his brow, as if trying to recall the answer to a fifth-grade spelling quiz. "Oh, America! The work in America!" he cried. "I love the chance for the work and the money to make here in America."
I laughed. "Yeah, pretty hard to beat those old greenbacks."
As we came to a red light, he craned his head around to face me. "I am married."
"Yes. I am married to an Iranian woman."
"Who would have guessed," I said.
"Yes. You are married too?"
"No. No, I'm divorced. But I'm always looking!" I chuckled at just how witty I could be at so ungodly early an hour. I mean, the bums weren't even up yet.
"You like the beautiful blonde women, no? I can tell."
"Yeah," I said. "You've got that right. Something about those beautiful blonde women, I've got to admit." And I should know. I've been married to three of them, the last of whom stole my Steamboat Springs condo out from under my nose in a divorce I didn't know anything about until after it was over.
"You are coming back to Los Angeles soon? My wife has a sister. A beautiful blonde woman. All natural, all beautiful. She lives in Iran, but she is coming to America. Only we need to do is to telephone her to come, and she will be here. You will be coming back to Los Angeles soon? I make plans for my wife's sister for you. She is very beautiful blonde woman from Iran. Her husband is not good to her, and they divorce. She very good cook. Good to make the company."
He winked broadly and, as the light changed to green, he turned his eyes to the road and stepped on the accelerator.
"I thought all Iranian women were brunettes," I said. "You know, dark hair."
"No, no, no. Some dark hair, yes. Some blonde hair. Natural blonde hair. You do not know this for a fact?"
"You learn something every day," I said.
"I will give you my telephone at the airport. You will call me at my house, and I will have her come to Los Angeles for to meet you. You can take her for dinner when you return here. She will like you very much, if you know what I am meaning."
I glanced up at two rows of pearly white teeth and wondered how he had managed not to have gotten them punched out by now…a few of them, at least.
"Wonderful," I said. "I can hardly wait."
"You will call?"
I turned the page. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."
He smiled into the mirror and honked before veering sharply to the left.
That evening, as I sat in my Mt. Horeb study, the fireplace across the room crackling gingerly and the stars shining through the skylight overhead, I thought about Hassim Muhammed as I thumbed through the local paper. My eyes stopped on an article about Queen Elizabeth, who had just announced that she was preparing to commit author Salomon Rushdie to knighthood.
"Damn," I said right out loud. I was beside myself. Beside myself, hell. I was weeing in my pants.
"Damn!" I said again. "Isn't that just peachy?"
He deserves it, of course. And probably more. More likely than not, he should have been knighted years ago. After all, when you bestow knighthood on Paul McCartney and Sean Connery, can Salomon Rushdie be far behind?
Not that I was exactly sure what having knighthood bestowed upon you meant, other than it gives the esteemed, uhh, bestowee the right to be called Sir before his name, as in Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Sean Connery and Sir Salomon Rushdie. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
Oh, yeah, and I think it also carries some kind of small stipend with it, maybe. A couple hundred grand or something like that. Maybe less. I'm not sure about the money part. And I don't know whether that's payable in dollars or in that funny stuff they're using over in Europe, now...Europeans, or something like that. I could be wrong.
Better still, I think being knighted means never having to say you're sorry. Unless, of course, you're talking to an Iranian Muslim, in which case it means always having to say you're sorry. Not that fanatic Muslims will accept your apology. The imams or someone over there recently made that abundantly clear:
"Awarding him [Rushdie] means confronting 1.5 billion Muslims around the world," Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said of the be-knighting. "In Islamic Iran, the revolutionary fatwa ... is still alive and cannot be changed."
Khatami was referring to a fatwa placed on Rushdie back in 1989 by then-Supreme nut-cake Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the same cocoa bean who sanctioned taking dozens of American hostages and terrorizing them for more than a year during the Jimmy the Peanut Farmer administration. The current Iranian president, Abner-dim-wit-i-jad or something like that, had been one of the main guards who delighted in getting his picture taken while threatening the hapless hostages with decapitation. And that was just for starters. Small world, isn't it?
In any event, Khomeini issued the fatwa, calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie because his book, The Satanic Verses, was "insulting" to Islam.
Now, this is where things begin to get a little fuzzy for me.
I just don't understand how the same people who backed the vicious attacks on the World Trade Center, who routinely murder thousands of innocent people every year, believe that a book written by a guy who looks as if his high-school yearbook caption read, "Most likely to recede," insults Islam. And for that Muslims get to kill him? Remind me to sit the next dance out.
Not that I'm casting stones, here. It's just that I can't see how Islamic clerics can call these fanatic butchers martyrs and promise them 46,000 vestal virgins if they die in the name of Mohammed. And the guys who pull the trigger on their cummerbund explosives are so dumb they actually believe it!
Are these the people we're talking about here? Are these the ones who have reissued the fatwa against Rushdie?
The whole thing left me in a tizzy. So, to straighten things out once and for all, I called upon--as I often do in cases involving Middle Eastern culture--my good friend and former colleague at the Center for Disadvantaged White Guys Trying To Figure Out Islam, Moogy Kowpatter. If anybody could explain why anyone in the Muslim world could get so upset about Rushdie's pending knighthood, dear old Moogy could.
Unfortunately, Moogy was out when I called. But his wife, Cerebella, was in, so I spoke to her.
Hi, Cerebella? This is D. J. Herda. Is Moogy in?
Cerebella: No, I'm sorry, he's not. But thanks for calling.
Before I could respond, she hung up, but not before I swear I heard Moogy's voice in the background, urging her to hang up.
Oh, well. It didn't really matter. I mean, if a bunch of fanatic Islamicists (I'm not sure that's a word, but I heard it used on Fox News, and I think it's just peachy) can condemn someone for freedom of speech while denying his own fellow human beings freedom of life (in direct opposition to the teachings of Mohammed, by the way), well, all I can say is that there's just no accounting for some tastes.
So far as Salomon Rushdie and his pending knighthood are concerned, I have just two words of advice:
And as for L. A. cabbie Hassim Muhammed and his beautiful and as of yet unmarried blonde sister-in-law still living in Iran and looking for a free ride to America? Well, I'm not normally an impulsive guy. And I'm certainly not the kind of guy who turns to Chatty-Cathy taxi-cab drivers to find a wife.
On the other hand, I thought to myself, she is a good cook.
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