To be amused by what you read—that is the great spring of happy quotations.
In modern America, anyone who attempts to write satirically about the events of the day finds it difficult to concoct a situation so bizarre that it may not actually come to pass while the article is still on the presses.
Death was standing behind a lectern, poring over a map. He looked at Mort as if he wasn’t entirely there. Yᴏᴜ ʜᴀᴠᴇɴ'ᴛ ʜᴇᴀʀᴅ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ Bᴀʏ Oғ Mᴀɴᴛᴇ, ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʏᴏᴜ? he said. “No, sir,” said Mort. Fᴀᴍᴏᴜs sʜɪᴘᴡʀᴇᴄᴋ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ. “Was there?” Tʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ, said Death, ɪғ I ᴄᴀɴ ғɪɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴀᴍɴ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇ.
The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens ('wise man'). In any case it's an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.