A Fine and Pleasant Misery…

Author: Brad  |  Category: Boardman Views, Humor, Jobs Careers

Some of you may be aware of my love for a true literary great, Patrick F. McManus, author of, among many other McManus classics, A Fine and Pleasant Misery.

I first became aware of this Master of the Understatement back in about 1990.

I had just signed in for my shift at Community Transit, where that day I was to “sit report.” Since the transit industry runs everything by the minute in its attempt at keeping buses on time, they actually pay drivers to come in and wait for other drivers to not show up for work. If a scheduled driver doesn’t show up, the report driver goes out and drives the miscreants piece of work. These paid lallygaggers are called “report drivers” and that day in 1990 I was one of them.

I had just signed in and walked into the Driver’s Lounge, ready to assume my usual position on the couch, when a paperback book with a funny-looking yellow and green cover perched on the table caught my eye. I picked it up, studied the title for a moment and thought, “What the heck is this?” A Fine and Pleasant Misery? “Cautionary Tales of the Outdoor Life” by Patrick F McManus.

I sat down on the softest couch and began to read the following words:

“MODERN TECHNOLOGY has taken most of the misery out of the outdoors. Camping is now aluminum-covered, propane-heated, foam-padded, air-conditioned, bug-proofed, flip-topped, disposable, and transistorized. Hardship on a modern camping trip is blowing a fuse on your electric underwear, or having the battery peter out on your Porta-Shaver. A major catastrophe is spending your last coin on a recorded Nature Talk and then discovering the camp Comfort & Sanitation Center (featuring forest green tile floors and hot showers) has pay toilets.
There are many people around nowadays who seem to appreciate the fact that a family can go on an outing without being out. But I am not one of them. Personally, I miss the old-fashioned misery of old fashioned camping.
Young people just now starting out in camping probably have no idea that it wasn’t but a couple of decades ago that people went camping expecting to be miserable. Half the fun of camping in those days was looking forward to getting back home. When you did get back home you prolonged the enjoyment of your trip by telling all your friends how miserable you had been. The more you talked about the miseries of life in the woods, the more you wanted to get back out there and start suffering again. Camping was a fine and pleasant misery.”

Within five minutes, I was laughing so hard I was crying. The rest is, as they say, history. I’ve been hooked on the McManus way ever since!

Many have been the family get-togethers where Dad and I have taken turns reading from one of McManus’ collections of short stories in which he introduces characters such as his wife Bun, his pal Retch, his mentor Rancid Crabtree and his dog Strange, all of whom are colorful in their own right. Laughed ourselves silly.

If you’re ever able to get your hands on this particular book, be sure to read, in addition to the title story, The Modified Stationary Panic and Shooting the Chick-a-nout Narrows. I hope to be offering it soon here in The Boardman Country Store, but that’s not quite ready to open yet. Stay tuned.

McManus is, in my opinion, the nation’s foremost authority on the great outdoors and the divers and sundry miseries they are wont to dish out. Oh, and did I mention he’s funny?

You’re in Boardman Country!

Make yourself at home,

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8 Responses to “A Fine and Pleasant Misery…”

  1. Linda Says:

    Hi Brad… Ah.. old camping trips. Brings back the memories and the author is really good! enjoyed the read!

    Lindas last blog post..Trivia for the Day!

  2. admin Says:

    Nothing better than a good long laugh!

  3. Camping Says:

    This is good…

    Thank you

    General Camping Tips

  4. 70-290 Says:

    I am add this to my favorite items, its really fantastic to read out. Thanks

  5. 70-649 Says:

    it’s my hobby and I am always trying to manage these kinds of the trips with my friends.

  6. 640-460 Says:

    I have ready many other posts from this awesome blog and all of them were really good to read like this one.Good Luck

  7. flyff gold Says:

    Good post! I plan to move into this stuff after I’m done with school, as most of it is time consuming. It’s a great post to reference back to. My blog needs more time to gain in popularity anyway.

  8. wow gold Says:

    Good article – plenty of food for thought.