Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink, by Patrick F. McManus
After I made some kind of humorous story involving a poorly done concrete job, a friend of mine found this book, which features a similar story. For the most part, the author and I have diametrically opposed approaches to humor. My own sense of humor tends to be rather dry, often understated and highly sardonic, full of wit and subtlety, and the author is more about over the top humor that is wildly improbable and not particularly witty or subtle at all. Even if it’s not my sense of humor, though, this book, like others of its kind, is enjoyable to read . The author is suitably self-effacing, seemingly the sort of person who does not care if people are laughing at him as long as they are laughing. It’s not a sense of humor I think is comfortable to know in person, but in reading a book, it certainly can make for a pleasant book to read as long as you do the appropriate discounting for the obvious exaggeration that the author engages in on a regular basis. Unsurprisingly, this book was a bestseller, because many people enjoy laughing and don’t like to think too hard about it.
This book of about 200 pages long is full of a host of interesting stories that show the appeal of rural life to its audience. We have stories about families and stepfamilies, stories about trips gone wrong and relationships that struggle, and the author generally presents himself as somewhat clueless but well-meaning. There are stories about do-it-yourself disasters, encounters with wild and domesticated animals and aliens and ghosts, stories about hunting and fishing, and the like. The author is at his funniest when he talks about things that at least have a high degree of plausibility, like his odd sense of humor and his school hijinks. Many of the stories take place with the author as a child, and some of them have a bit of underlying issues where he and some guy named Rancid as well as some of his friends find themselves involved in adventures alone. There is a distinct absence of womenfolk here apart from an old girlfriend that throws up in a carnival ride, a woman engaged in belly dancing when they run out of money to watch, and teachers of one kind or another, as well as the author’s wife Bun.
The author has published a wide variety of books and there are probably many similarities between them. The odds are high that these books bring a smile and a laugh to many people who enjoy laughing at the author for being such an incompetent person in so many areas of life. I have always found it a bit of a shabby trick for people who are obviously very intelligent to play dumb because that is the expectation that people have of those from rural areas of the country, or for people to play up their foibles and incompetence so that people laugh at them. Perhaps those who are class clowns or mascots find a great deal of comfort in the goodwill they gain by making a fool out of themselves, but that is not a way of behavior that I personally understand or like to practice to a great degree. Life is full of humor, and at the base of these stories there are surely at least some real life nuggets of information, but the absurdity of life is something that I do not think needs to be exaggerated for comic effect, as is obviously done here.
 See, for example: