Bicycle Diaries: <i>More <b>WHEEL</b> than <b>WOE</b></i>

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More WHEEL than WOE

neither gentleman
nor velopunk

The Diary of a Nobody first appeared as a weekly serial in Punch written over the course of a year from May 1888 throgh May 1889. Although little known to the world at large, its anti-hero, Mr. Charles Pooter, has entered the English zeitgeist. The word Pooter conjures up a conventional, priggish, strait-laced, lower middle-class, white-collar worker living in a cheap suburban house with lace curtains and gnomes in the garden. But with impossible social aspirations, Putter's humor derives from his unconscious gaffes and self-importance, as well as the snubs he receives from those he considers socially inferior (i.e. tradesmen). Thus spawned Putter has come to describe the tendency of such folks to take themselves excessively seriously.

So gentleman cyclists and velopunks, TAKE HEED! Don't let the anti-lycra thing grab you by the brass ones. Besides, Pooter railed against that great, incredible gift of the Victorian Age: the bike!
July 2. - Cummings called, looked very pale, and said he had been very ill again, and of course not a single friend had been near him. Carrie said she had never heard of it, whereupon he threw down a copy of the BICYCLE NEWS on the table, with the following paragraph: “We regret to hear that that favourite old roadster, Mr. Cummings (’Long’ Cummings), has met with what might have been a serious accident in Rye Lane. A mischievous boy threw a stick between the spokes of one of the back wheels, and the machine overturned, bringing our brother tricyclist heavily to the ground. Fortunately he was more frightened than hurt, but we missed his merry face at the dinner at Chingford, where they turned up in good numbers. ’Long’ Cummings’ health was proposed by our popular Vice, Mr. Westropp, the prince of bicyclists, who in his happiest vein said it was a case of ’CUMMING(s) thro’ the RYE, but fortunately there was more WHEEL than WOE,’ a joke which created roars of laughter.”

Charles Pooter
The Laurels,
Brickfield Terrace,
The British Empire

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Anonymous theboy said...

I really enjoyed this. The introduction set the stage, and the story itself had the charm of an ancient relative's knickknack. Thanks.

8/10/08 17:04  

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