A Hoffnung Moment

My family moved into what Karina call New House last August (2003). At the time New House was new, but hardly finished. It wasn't until late November or early December that most things were done, as in the there weren't workmen somewhere in the house at least once or twice a week. Of course, as anyone who has moved into a new house knows, that simply means that there are lots of things that are left for you to do yourself. One such little thing I have to do is to put up a shelf in our shower stall; for the moment the various shower accessories are piled in a corner on the floor - and so is set the scene for our little tale...My wife and I usually shower together. Last weekend as I started to straighten up after bending over, she started to bend down - the inevitable happened. I was reminded later of Gerard Hoffnung famous address to the Oxford Union in 1958, where he presented the Bricklayers Story, but in this case, "Halfway up, Martin met Lindy coming down; she received a severe blow to her nose." I felt a rather unpleasant crunch against my skull, but of course no pain. The same cannot be said for Lindy. While I didn't actually break her nose, I certainly came close to doing so. She can still hardly touch it without pain several days later.Hardly funny at the time, but then neither would the events described by Hoffnung have been, and yet it is one of the funniest comedy monologues I've heard. Reading the words alone does not convey Hoffnung's superb comedy timing which really make the piece. He gives enough of each sentence so that you could anticipate what is coming before he actually says it - it engages you in a way that makes you picture the events clearly in your mind while you almost feel like you are telling the story from personal experience. There are audio copies of the talk on the Internet - enjoy if it is your taste. Interestingly the story is not original, versions going back to as early as 1918 have been tracked. But I doubt anyone else has ever told it as well as Hoffnung.

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