“The Stench of Honolulu”

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey was a recurring Saturday Night Live bit.  Here’s what’s confusing: Jack Handey (a fictional character) is written by Jack Handey (an actual person).  Even more confusing is nature of this character: he is ignorant, obnoxious, disrespectful, and thinks himself a contemplative–but he’s not quite an outright, unlikeable jerk.  I’ll allow a few of his “deep thoughts” to speak for him:

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

As we were driving, we saw a sign that said, “Watch for Rocks”. Marta said it should read, “Watch for Pretty Rocks”. I told her she should write in her suggestion to the highway department, but she started saying it was a joke–just to get out of writing a simple letter! And I thought I was lazy!

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: “Mankind”. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words– “mank” and “ind”. What do these words mean? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.

As you can probably tell, Jack-Handey-humor isn’t for everyone–but it’s definitely for me.  This character is like laughing gas to my soul.  I’ve read his Deep Thoughts over and over again, and he always manages to make me laugh.  This is why I was excited to hear that Jack Handey (the real one) had recently written a novel with his fictional blockhead as the main character.  I put it on my Christmas list, and Santa delivered: a fresh, hardcover copy of The Stench of Honolulu, starring & narrated by Jack Handey.

To be truthful, Jack Handey is in his element when he’s thinking, not doing–that is, his thoughts are better than his adventures.  That is the letdown of this book: the adventure is fairly unimaginative and disengaging.  But, thankfully, the book gives plenty of space to Jack Handey’s thought-life, as he is the narrator of his own adventure–and it is as good as gold.

At the end of the book, I found myself wanting to go back and reread my favorite passages.  Although I found the plot to be utterly boring, I found Jack Handey to be a silly enough force to make me not even care.

seas & breeze,


…we sailed on.  Deeper and deeper into the bowels of Hawaii.  Would we ever come out of the bowels, and if so, would we be in one piece?…

That night we heard drums.  They were louder this time, which Don said was because we were closer and not because [as I suggested] they were using bigger drums.

But couldn’t it be that we were closer and they were using bigger drums?  Don admitted it could.

Maybe we weren’t any closer, but the drummers were hitting the drums harder.  Don said that was unlikely.

Maybe our eardrums were getting better.


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