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HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER XXXVI
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 For years past during the summer months the Republic had been conducting a summer charity of some kind, a fresh-air fund, in support of which it attempted every summer to invent and foster some quick money-raising scheme. This year it had taken the form of that musty old , a baseball game, to be played between two local fraternities, the fattest men of one called the and the leanest of another known as the . The hope of the Republic was to work up interest in this startling novelty by a humorous handling of it so as to draw a large crowd to the baseball grounds. Before I had even heard of it this task had been assigned to two or three others, a new man each day, in the hope of extracting fresh bits of humor, but so far with but indifferent results.  
One day, then, I was handed a clipping concerning this proposed game that had been written the preceding day by another member of the staff and which was headed “Blood on the Moon.” It to the preliminary mutterings and grumblings of those who were to take part in the contest. It was not so much an amusing picture as a news item, and I did not think very much of it; but since I had been warned by Williams that I was about to be called upon to produce the next day’s burst, and that it must be humorous, I was by no means inclined to judge it too harshly.... The efforts of one’s always appear more forceful as one’s own threaten to prove . A little later Wandell proceeded to outline to me most of the conditions which surrounded this contest. “See if you can’t get some fun into it. You must do it. Some one has to. I depend on you for this. Make us laugh,” and he smiled a dry, almost frosty smile. “Laugh!” I thought. “Good Lord, how am I to make anybody laugh? I never wrote anything funny in my life!”
Nevertheless, being put to it for this afternoon (he had given me no other assignment, fancying no doubt that I might have a hard time with this), and being the soul of duty, I went to my desk to think it over. Not an idea came to me. It seemed to me that nothing could be duller than this, a baseball game between fat and lean men; yet if I didn’t write something it would be a black mark against me and if I did and it proved a piece of trash I should sink equally low in the estimation of my superior. I took my pencil and began a possible introduction, wondering how one achieved humor when one had it not. After writing aimlessly for a half-hour or so I finally re-examined the texts of my of previous days and then sought to take the same . Only, instead of describing the and of the two rival organizations in general terms, I assumed a specific interest and plotting on the part of certain of their chief officers, who even now, as I proceeded to assert and with names and places given in different parts of the city, were spending days and nights devising ways and means of outwitting the enemy. Thoughts of rubber baseball bats, baskets and nets in which flies might be caught, secret electric wiring under the diamond between the bases to put “pep” into the fat runners, seemed to have some faint trace of humor in them, and these I now introduced as being worked out in various secret places in order that the great game might not be lost. As I wrote, building up imaginary characteristics for each one involved (I did not know any of them), I myself began to grow interested and amused. It all seemed so ridiculous, such trash, and yet the worse I made it the better it seemed. At last I finished it, but upon re-reading it I was disturbed by the coarse horse-play of it all. “This will never get by,” I thought. “Wandell will think it’s rotten.” But having by now come to a rather friendly understanding with Williams, I to take it over and ask him so that in case I had failed I might try again.
Wearily he eyed me with his one eye, for already he had been editing this for days, then leaned back in his chair and began to read it over. At first he did not seem to be much interested, but after the first paragraph, which he examined with a blank expression, he smiled and finally chortled: “This is pretty good, yes. You needn’t worry about it; I think it’ll do. Leave it with me.” Then he began to edit it. Later in the afternoon when Wandell had come in to give out the evening assignments I saw Williams gather it up and go in to him. After a time he came out smiling, and in a little While Wandell called me in.
“Not bad, not bad,” he said, tapping the manuscript lightly. “You’ve got the right idea, I think. I’ll let you do that for a while afternoons until we get up on it. You needn’t do anything else—just that, if you do it well enough.”
I was pleased, for judging by the time it had taken to do this (not more than two hours) I should have most of my afternoons to myself. I saw visions of a late breakfast, idling in my room, walks after I had done with my work and before I returned to the office. enough, this trivial thing, undertaken at first in great doubt and with no sense of ability and with no real equipment for it, nevertheless proved for me the most fortunate thing I had thus far done. It was not so much that it was brilliant, or even especially well done, as that what I did fell in with the idle summer mood of the city or with the contesting organizations and the readers of the Republic. Congratulatory letters began to arrive. Pleased individuals whose names had been humorously mentioned began to call up the city editor, or the managing editor, or even the editor-in-chief, and voice their approval. In a trice and almost before I knew it, I was a personage, especially in newspaper circles.
“We’ve got the stuff now, all right,” Wandell cackled most violently one evening, at the same time slapping me on the shoulder. “This’ll do it, I’m sure. A few weeks, and we’ll get a big crowd and a lot of . Just you stick to the way you’re doing this now. Don’t change your style. We’ve got ’em coming now.............
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