Thursday, March 19, 2015

Some Of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby

Have you ever read a short story that you still remember decades later? But then you can't remember the title? This happened to me. 

It's incredibly frustrating.

This week, thanks to the power of Google, I randomly ran across the story again. Every few years, since first reading it twenty years ago, I would try to locate this story, only remembering bits and pieces of it. I would ask people if they had ever read it. I would search the internets (before Google.) 

As I'm sure you know, Jeeves is infuriatingly ignorant.

I never asked the right people, apparently, because I know tons of people NOW who would recognize this tale, but I was just telling Tyler last week about this story I read in 1996 about this guy whose friends decided he had gone too far and they decided to hang him and it was super hilarious, but I had never been able to find it again.


Some of us had been threatening our friend Colby for a long time, because of the way he had been behaving. And now he'd gone too far, so we decided to hang him. . ..

This is a well-known short story, written by Donald Barthelme, read in intro-to-lit classes across the country, and the subject of animated discussions in liberal-arts buildings everywhere.

When I first read it, I was struck by the matter-of-fact style, the vague assertion of Colby's guilt, and the dry, dark humor injected throughout. If you've never read this, or you haven't read it in twenty years like me, do yourself a favor, click the link above, and take a few minutes to (re)acquaint yourself with Barthelme's (literally) unforgettable fiction.

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