Friday, March 28, 2014

Essays of E.B. White

I came across an older link in Atlantic Monthly to an essay by E.B. White, entitled Death of a Pig. I enjoyed reading it so much, that I checked to see what else he had written and then requested some of his essay collections from our library. Three books came in at once, so I have been digging into them and thoroughly enjoying myself, laughing and grinning my way through each paragraph.

Here are two snippets about Hurricane Edna from an essay called The Eye of Edna written in September of 1954.
It became evident to me after a few fast rounds with the radio that the broadcasters had opened up on Edna awfully far in advance, before she had come out of her corner, and were spending themselves at a reckless rate. During the morning hours, they were having a tough time keeping Edna going at the velocity demanded of emergency broadcasting. I heard one fellow from, I think, Riverhead, Long Island interviewing his out-of-doors man, who had been sent abroad in a car to look over conditions on the eastern end of the island. "How would you say the roads were?" asked the tense voice.
"They were wet," replied the reporter, who seemed to be in a sulk.
"Would you say the spray from the puddles was dashing up around the mudguards?" inquired the desperate radioman.
"Yeah," replied the reporter.
It was one of those confused moments, emotionally, when the listener could not be quite sure what position radio was taking--for hurricanes or against them.
A few minutes later, I heard another baffling snatch of dialogue on the air, from another sector--I think it was Martha's Vineyard.
"Is it raining hard there?" asked an eager voice.
"Yes, it is."
"Fine!" exclaimed the first voice, well pleased at having got a correct response.
Not only were the movements of the storm hard to follow but the voices were beginning to show the punchy conditions of the poor, overworked fellows who had been blowing into their microphones at seventy miles per hour for so many hours. "Everything," cried one fellow, "is pretty well battered down in Westerly." I presume he meant "battened down," but there was no real way of knowing.


  1. Oh, Heather! Thank you for the laugh! :) I was literally laughing out loud. I'm off to see if our library has these....

  2. I've been looking for a "Is Sex Necessary" by White and Thurber for a while now. It is a spoof on romance and marriage.... the title alone makes me giggle. k


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