Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Fuddrucking Around

I stopped at a Fuddrucker’s on the way back from IkeaLand in Paramus N.J. (It’s called simply Ikea, but with three huge floors, play areas, and its own road—Ikea Lane—I assume this was an oversight. Even the parking area has colors and letters.) Like any traveler, it’s nice to come across something that reminds you of home, and Fuddrucker’s came to Tucson only a few years before I left. At the time, I was a fundamentalist Christian and rarely ate there just to protest the discomfort it caused me. Now I could face it with equanimity, and anyway I was hungry for something humongous.

In my furniture-hauling haste, I’d neglected to bring something to read during my meal, but I noticed that Fuddruckers had a little game-filled placemat for the kids, so I took that to my table. However, I noticed that it was a thoroughly uninspired placemat, with “brain teasers” and “riddles” so musty that they’d obviously just downloaded the whole kaboodle from So to help out, I decided to see if I could answer the riddles in a more interesting manner than they expected. Here are the questions. Below are the answers I came up with.


1. What has 18 legs and catches flies?
2. You are always going and leaving me behind.
3. What goes up when the rain comes down?
4. How do you divide five potatoes equally between three people?
5. What has three feet but no legs?
6. I can see it and you cannot.
7. It has ears but cannot hear.
8. In the evening I looked, and there it was. In the morning I looked, and it was gone.
9. As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Each wife had seven sacks
Each sack had seven cats
Each cat had seven kits
How many were going to St. Ives?


10. Who should you call when your feet hurt?
11. What body of water do ghosts like best?
12. What is a sailor’s bellybutton?
13. What is an Inquisitor’s favorite mathematical expression?


1. Two spiders, plus Renfield from Dracula.
2. Dead skin cells, or possibly mites.
3. Humidity.
4. Give each person five-thirds of a potato. Better yet, give each person one potato and donate the others to charity. What are we fighting for?
5. A line of dactylic trimeter.
6. The reasonableness of my opinions.
7. A deaf elephant.
8. Too many options! The moon? The stars? Night-blooming cereus? The daily low? Commercials for phone sex? The short-lived element unnilhexium? I’m stopping now.
9. “At least one,” but the complete answer is impossible to determine without contacting the St. Ives Chamber of Commerce. Note that another possible answer is ‘Nine,’ if you assume that I met them in line for the St. Ives Ferry that we were both going to take, and if you assume that animals don’t count. (After all, they’re in sacks, so they’re probably going to drown them anyway. That’s easier than feeding 343 kittens. What would their house smell like?)

10. The Godfather of “Sole”!
11. The Ghoul-f of Mexico!
12. Unless you rephrase it as “what do you call a sailor’s bellybutton,” it’s a pretty stupid question. I call mine “Dr. Innie.”
13. The Witch of Agnesi, which was named in 1875 and describes a plane cubic curve that has the equation x2y = 4a2(2a-y).

Okay, I made that last question up just to show off. But honestly, with only three riddles, that section of the placemat felt kind of thin. Why do people write placemats without consulting me? Our children's education is at stake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch what you say about Utah! They broadcast ads for their state fair that featured Napoleon Dynamite that are possibly the funniest, least boring, least Utah ads you can imagine. Ooops. Now I just made fun of Utah.

And wouldn’t you know that an intelligent female mathemetician would get her most famous equation branded a “witch”? Thank goodness we’ve left such barbaric opinions behind.

3/12/2006 9:24 AM  

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