Happiness Through Philosophy and Other Nonsense collects more than two dozen short short stories, vignettes, and flash-fiction pieces. From Hemingway’s last poem to the science of Worcestershire sauce to Jean-Paul Sartre’s ghost, Happiness Through Philosophy is profane, bawdy, satirical, and nonsensical.

About half of these pieces were previously published in various out-of-print places, mostly in the parody anthology Rubber Chickens for the Soul and a couple in The Silly Club Rag, a humor newsletter. Others have interesting backstories: the first draft of “The Unfathomable and Undeserved Success of Percy K. Smith” won a fiction-writing contest in the English department at my university, “Happiness Through Philosophy” got me a job interview with Garrison Keillor (but not the job), and “A Cup of Dirty Tea” won the bawdy category of a tea limerick contest. Some were written expressly for this collection, while the rest have been revised, sometimes quite substantially. I plan on publishing this in both print and e-book form in summer 2020. The excerpt below is the opening of “Honest Tex’s Used Gods.”




Howdy. I’m Honest Tex, and I’d like to ask you a few honest question. Has life got you down? Things not going quite your way? Are you tired of getting up every Sunday and worshipping the same old god as always? Now I know you’re out there saying, “Tex, that’s a big Y-E-S, yes answer. But what can you do about it?”
       Well, come on down to Honest Tex’s Used Gods, and I’ll show you what I can do. We got your classic Greek and Roman gods, we got your tree and river spirits—hell, we got gods coming in faster than you can work your prayer beads!
       So come on down to our newly expanded lot for the grand opening of our contemporary cult showcase—these gods tend to lose all their followers overnight, and we get them in at close-out prices. And remember, we don’t call them used . . . we like to call them previously worshipped. That’s too many letters for a sign, though, so we settled for used up on the big board there, but down here on the lot you’ll call them previously worshipped and beautifully reconditioned. . . .



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