Today, I encountered the funniest fictional scene I’ve ever read. Prior to this, the funniest scene I’d ever encountered is a scene that took place in Stephen King’s 11/22/63, where Jake Epping is in Derry with a “a touch of the bug.” Today, a new scene overtook that as the funniest I’ve ever read.
While my computer was downloading patching and therefore, completely useless, I read more of A Prayer for Owen Meany, waiting for the patches to be installed. Those familiar with the book might guess the scene in question. Yes, it is the VW scene. The premise of the scene was amusing enough. But how rapidly things fell apart in that scene–I could see it playing out as though I was one of the students in the great hall, or near the marble staircase, seeing it unfold.
I laughed so hard that people walking passed my office had to stop to look in. I laughed so hard that it brought streams of tears to my eyes. I laughed so hard that, much like a nuclear chain reaction, it began a self-sustaining thing, a living, breathing thing. I fell off my chair and sat on the floor, laughing, crying, coughing, choking. I don’t know how much time passed before I finally settled down. The patches were still installing on my computer. But when I finally came out of it, I felt completely, and thoroughly revitalized. It was amazing.
And throughout the day, as I’ve played the scene over in mind, more laughter and snickers emerge. Had I seen that scene played out on the big screen, it would not have been as funny as it was in my imagination. It was the Platonic perfection of slapstick comedy barely disguised as literature. If you’ve never read the book, it is a fantastic read, but I would say that it is worth reading just for that scene.
My sides, my abdomen, my cheeks, and my lower back are all sore. That is how hard I was laughing.