Friday, May 23, 2014

Gilbert Sorrentino, Irish and Italian

Gilbert Sorrentino, in an essay about his Irish and Italian inheritance:

I end with two stories . . . . The first concerns the man who goes into an Italian cobbler’s shop with a pair of shoes to be heeled. He makes it clear that he must have the shoes that same evening, and that if the cobbler can’t do the job, he won’t leave the shoes. The cobbler swears that the shoes will be ready. That evening, the man returns to find that the shoes are not ready, and, exasperated, he asks the cobbler why he swore to him that they would be. The cobbler replies: “Telling you that they’d be ready, even when I knew they wouldn’t, made you happy all day.”

The second is the joke about the Irishman who comes home to his wife drunk every night. A priest tells her that she should throw a good scare into her husband to cure him, and that night, when he arrives at the door, his wife appears in a sheet, and screams at him: “I am the Devil, come to take you to hell!” The drunk looks at this figure, and after a moment, says, “I’m pleased to meet you. . . . I married your sister!” That this latter touches on the strange Irish affinity for the heresy of Manichaeism is another story.

“Genetic Coding,” in Something Said: Essays (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984).
Other Sorrentino posts
From Gilbert Sorrentino’s final work
Gilbert Sorrentino (1929-2006)

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