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Old 09-13-2017, 12:21 AM   #1
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Cobb, Irvin S.: Speaking of Operations (illus). v1. 13 Sep 2017

“Speaking of Operations—”
By Irvin S. Cobb (1876–1944)
Illustrated by Tony Sarg (1880–1942)

This book was first published in 1915. Text and illustrations are in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life + 70” or less, and in the USA.

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Mr. Cobb begins this short essay by noting that everyone loves to talk about their operation to friends and strangers alike, and then proceeds to narrate the wryly humorous details of his own experiences when he went under the knife.
* * * *
Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb (June 23, 1876 – March 11, 1944) was an American author, humorist, editor, and columnist from Paducah, Kentucky who relocated to New York in 1904 for the remainder of his life, writing for the New York World, The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, and other newspapers and magazines. Cobb wrote more than 300 short stories and 60 books (most of these being collections of his stories and articles). Some of his works were adapted for film. He was one of America’s most popular humorists during the first third of the twentieth century.

An excerpt:
Spoiler:
For years I have noticed that persons who underwent pruning or remodeling at the hands of a duly qualified surgeon, and survived, like to talk about it afterward. In the event of their not surviving I have no doubt they still liked to talk about it, but in a different locality. Of all the readily available topics for use, whether among friends or among strangers, an operation seems to be the handiest and most dependable. It beats the Tariff, or Roosevelt, or Bryan, or when this war is going to end, if ever, if you are a man talking to other men; and it is more exciting even than the question of how Mrs. Vernon Castle will wear her hair this season, if you are a woman talking to other women.

For mixed companies a whale is one of the best and the easiest things to talk about that I know of. In regard to whales and their peculiarities you can make almost any assertion without fear of successful contradiction. Nobody ever knows any more about them than you do. You are not hampered by facts. If someone mentions the blubber of the whale and you chime in and say it may be noticed for miles on a still day when the large but emotional creature has been moved to tears by some great sorrow coming into its life, everybody is bound to accept the statement. For after all, how few among us really know whether a distressed whale sobs aloud or does so under its breath? Who, with any certainty, can tell whether a mother whale hatches her own egg her own self or leaves it on the sheltered bosom of a fjord to be incubated by the gentle warmth of the midnight sun? The possibilities of the proposition for purposes of informal debate, pro and con, are apparent at a glance.

[ ... ]

But after all, when all is said and done, the king of all topics is operations. Sooner or later, wherever two or more are gathered together, it is reasonably certain that somebody will bring up an operation.


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Text was obtained from gutenberg.org. Transcription errors were corrected; punctuation, diacritics, and italics formatted; images manually cleaned and enhanced. Embedded font used for titling.

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So read all about it, and enjoy. Remember, you too can complain knowledgeably to your friends about your phantom stitch itch.
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Last edited by GrannyGrump; 09-13-2017 at 07:24 AM.
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