From the moment I first read James Thurber's stories, essays, fables and fairy-tales, I fell in love with a writer who possessed a rapier wit capable of unerringly striking its mark despite - or, perhaps, because of - his wildly lopsided view of life, men, women and dogs...
From the moment I saw my first cartoon by James Thurber - drawn with the visual equivalent of his literary mental squint - I have been slavishly devoted to his deliciously dotty doodles. And of all his many zany jokes, this remains my all-time favourite:
In the days when I used to lecture on 'creative writing' (which was in the days when I probably thought creativity could be taught!), I would show this cartoon to my class and invite students to extemporise a back-story that might have led to this moment of confrontation in what is, presumably, a kangaroo court!
Today, I recognise that it needs no explanation to make it funny and that, in fact, it is the very absence of any explanation - indeed, of all logic and sense - that elevates this joke to a work of pure, uninhibited genius!