Not long ago I came across a book called "The Quotable A**hole: More than 1,200 Bitter Barbs, Cutting Comments, and Caustic Comebacks for Aspiring and Armchair A**holes Alike," compiled by Eric Gryzymowski.
It's an enjoyable book with a number of quotes I hadn't seen before, including one by a hero of mine, Fred Allen:
"I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me."
But there's one thing about the book that puzzles me.
Page 132, for example, includes a quote by Yogi Berra, who is accurately described as an "American baseball manager and former player."
Also featured on that page is Dorothy Parker, who is quite properly (if incompletely) called an "American poet."
At the bottom of the page is a quote from Bob Hope, who is not given any description at all. This seems reasonable, considering he was the type of guy who in life was apt to be described as "somebody who needs no instruction."
But right above him is a line from another of my favorites, Henny Youngman.
Henny is described as a "British comedian."
I did some checking on the Internet and found that Henny was indeed born in England, and his family moved to the U.S. with his family when he was young. I can't seem to find out exactly how young, though the Internet Movie Database says he was a baby at the time.
But I'd hardly call him a "British comedian." "British-American comedian," maybe.
Meanwhile, below him is a guy who was born Leslie Townes Hope in England and came to the U.S. with his family when he was maybe 4 or 5. So why isn't he described as a "British comedian"?
I suppose that if I had the time and cared that much, I could track down Mr. Gryzymowski’s e-mail address and ask him about this.
But I don't want to be an a**hole.