Mark Novak, a reader of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, was seen laughing so hard he cried tears of joy after reading the humor piece “Bartleby The Scrivener Prefers Not To Social Distance.”
“I am a rather elderly man. The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. But now my ordinary contact is at least 6 feet apart!” begins the piece which caused Novak to laugh so hard he fell into a dangerous asthma attack and nearly die. “While of other law-copyists I might write the complete life, of Bartleby nothing of that sort can be done. Because that guy just won’t wear his mask!”
Upon reading the article typical of McSweeney’s topical literary humor, Novak’s eyes bulged out of his head in sheer disbelief as to the level of pure hilarity on his computer screen. Seeing the 1853 Melville short story updated to reference the pandemic, Novak, in unmitigated elation, lost all control of his bladder and spent the next three hours sitting in his own wet.
“Bartleby, Ginger Nut is away; just step round to the Post Office, won’t you? (it was but a three minutes walk), and see if there is any thing for me. But remember to use Purell!” continued the piece which caused Novak to foam at the mouth and writhe on the floor until his downstairs neighbors called the police. “I would prefer not to, Bartleby respectfully and slowly said.”
At press time, Novak laughed so hard he caught on fire and then exploded after reading the New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs piece “If Trump Were Your GPS.”