The New Yorker published this four part article (one, two, three, and four) about a guy that fell into a vat of brine 100 years ago and has come out alive to meet his great-great-grandson. The article is hilarious, and definitely worth a read. However, when I was a little kid and we used to tell jokes to one another, there was this one kid that would say things like, "And then what happened?" or, "So what did the other guy say?" after the punchline was revealed and everyone else was laughing. I have not been able to enjoy jokes since. In the back of my mind I hear these voices saying "Why?" and "How?" So as I am reading this great piece, a bunch of inconsistencies showed up. And because I am cursed with this dreaded disease of questioning the legitimacy of humorous stories, I will point out some of the things that need some work.
1. The science men come and explain. I have been preserved in brine a hundred years and have not aged one day. Okay, even if the brine manages to preserve his body, he would still starve to death. Even if he managed to find food in the brine for one hundred years, his urine and defecation would have contaminated the solution. This whole premise is flawed.
2. First I hear price of potato. Then I begin to shake. My vision blurs and I hear sound of screaming. After long time, I realize that it is my own voice. I am the one who is screaming. I fall on ground and lose some time. There is no way Herschel would ever faint over a price. He is a man that can haggle. And if necessary do violence upon the cashier. But faint over price, never.
3. "I assume you haven’t declared any of your earnings for tax purposes." Good luck getting a Department of Health employee to cite anyone for health violations, let alone tax code.
4. "Did you just say what I think you said?" Haha. Anyone that has worked in the food service industry can tell you that an inspector would never say this to an offered bribe.
5. "Was their wedding last night?" I ask. Really now, this is the New Yorker.
6. "Do you take AmEx?" And Herschel knows what it is. Um, no.
7. Herschel Rich handcrafts his artisanal pickles locally, using freegan cucumbers, unpasteurized river water, and reclaimed glass jars. There is no way anybody in Williamsburg would eat pickles that bathed in East River water. This would have been far more believable if that information never got out.
8. He refuses to use chemical additives, relying entirely on all-natural, locavore ingredients. Even a Brooklyn blogger knows that there are plenty of chemicals in the East River.
9. At first we pretend not to see each other. But there are no other people around, and it is hard to keep up the ruse. There is no way someone who can barely speak English can say that. A little slip by the author who needs to spend more time with immigrants to get the lingo straight.
10. sarahsstatueoflibertygarlicpickleswithsaltpicklecompany.com No one would ever register a company website with a name that long. Profits before prose? As of this writing, the site does not exist. Get to it people.
Image courtesy of Amy Stephenson.