Long Anagram by Adrian Hickford

American comedian Steven Wright's trademark is his brilliant dour-faced delivery and remarkably calm, off-the-wall approach to comedy. Here is a small collection of his melancholic humour:

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.

A friend of mine once sent me a postcard; on the front is a photo of the whole planet Earth taken from space. On the back it says, "Wish you were here."

Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them.

I went to a general store. They wouldn't let me buy anything specifically.

I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

My auntie gave me a walkie-talkie for my birthday. She says if I'm good, she'll give me the other one next year.

I saw a sign: "Rest Area 25 Miles". That's pretty big. Some people must be really tired.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

In school, every period ends with a bell. Every sentence ends with a period. Every crime ends with a sentence.

I met this wonderful girl at Macy's. She was buying clothes and I was putting Slinkies on the escalator.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

I went to a fancy French restaurant called "Deja Vu." The head waiter said, "Don't I know you?"

For each action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

I nearly had a cute psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

The other night I came home really late, and I tried to unlock my house with my car keys. Luckily, I started the house up. So, I drove it around for a while. I was speeding, and a policeman pulled me over. He asked where I lived. I said, "Right here, officer". Later, I parked it on the freeway, got out, and yelled at all the cars, "Get out of my driveway!"

I bought a self-learning record to learn Spanish. I turned it on and went to sleep. Maybe the record got stuck - the next day I could only stutter in Spanish.

I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it.

To steal ideas from one person is called plagiarism; to steal from many is called research.

I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep. Mom said, "Steven, time to go to sleep." I said, "But I don't know how." She said, "It's real easy. Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left." So I went down to the end of tired, and just out of curiosity I hung a right. My mother was there, and she said "I thought I told you to go to sleep."

I didn't get a toy train like the other kids. I got a toy subway instead. You couldn't see anything, but every now and then you would hear this really loud rumbling noise go by.

My house is made out of balsa wood, so when I want to scare the neighborhood kids I lift it over my head and tell them to get out of my yard or I'll throw it at them.

I got food poisoning today. I don't know when I'll use it.

Even snakes are afraid of snakes.

I had amnesia once. Or maybe I had amnesia twice.

Borrow money from pessimists - they never expect it back.

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving certainly isn't for you.

A policeman stopped me, accusing me of speeding. He said, "Why were you going so fast?" I said, "See this thing my foot is on? It's called an accelerator. When you push down, it sends more gas to the engine. The whole car takes right off - whoosh! And see this thing here? This steers it."

I have a microwave fireplace in my house... The other night I lay down in front of the fire for the evening in two minutes.

One night I walked home very late and fell asleep in somebody's satellite dish. My dreams were showing up on TV's all over the world.

I installed a skylight in my apartment... The people who live above me are absolutely furious!

Last month, I invented the cordless extension cord.

I like to go to art museums and name the untitled paintings... Boy With Pail... Kitten On Fire...

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

I plugged my phone in where the food blender used to be. I called someone. They went "Aaaaaaahhhh..."

I put hardwood floors on top of wall-to-wall carpet.

I put my air conditioner in backwards. It got real cold outside. The weatherman on TV was confused. He says "It was supposed to be hot today."

Half of the people you know are below average.

The other day I told a chicken to cross the road. "What for?" he clucked.

I stayed up all night playing poker with my tarot cards. I got a full house and now four people are dead.

A beautifully curvaceous woman just moved in a couple of houses away. So I went over and returned a cup of sugar. "You didn't borrow this." I tell her, "Oh, I will."

I took a course in speed waiting. Now I can wait an hour in only eighteen minutes, easy.

Sponges grow in the ocean. That really kills me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen.

The Bermuda Triangle got tired of warm weather. It moved to Alaska. Now Santa Claus is missing.

I was born by Caesarian section... but not so you would notice. It's just that when I leave a house, I have to go out through the nearest window.

I was in a job interview and I opened a book and started reading. I said to the guy, "Let me ask you a question. If you are in a spaceship that is travelling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?" He said, "I don't know." I said, "I don't want your job."

I had to stop driving my car for a while, because the tires got dizzy.

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.

There's a fine line between fly-fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

I went into this bar and sat down next to a pretty girl. She looked at me and said, "Hey, you have two different colored socks on." I said, "Yeah, I know, but to me they're the same because I go by thickness."

There aren't enough days in the weekend.

I saw a bank that said "24 Hour Banking", but I don't have that much time.

How can you tell when you've run out of invisible ink?

The day before yesterday I parked my car in a tow-away zone... when I came back the entire block was completely gone.

I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time". So I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.

I wrote a song, but I can't read music so I don't know what it is. Every once in a while I'll be listening to the radio and I say, "I think I might have written that."

I Xeroxed my watch. Now I have time to spare.

The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.

If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?

You think nobody cares about you? Try missing a couple of payments.

In my house on the ceilings I have paintings of the rooms above... so I never have to go upstairs.

It only rains straight down. God doesn't do windows.

Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.

Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.

I had all my coathangers spayed.

My friend Molly is a nudist. I went to her house. The closets have no doors. The walls are each covered with see-through wallpaper.

I bought a house, on a one-way dead-end road. I don't know how I got there.

So what's the speed of dark?

I watched the Indy Five-Hundred, and I was thinking that if they left earlier they wouldn't have to go so fast.

It's a good thing we have gravity or else when birds died they'd just stay right up there. Hunters would be all confused.

You know how it is when you pluck up the courage to be the subject of a psychology experiment, and nobody else shows up, and you think maybe that's part of the experiment? I'm like that all the time.

Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark.

One time the power went out in my house and I had to use the flash on my camera to see my way around. I made a sandwich and took fifty pictures of my face. The neighbors thought there was lightning in my house.

Molly plays strip poker. Whenever she loses, she has to put something on.

I spent all of my money on a Fax machine. Now I can only Fax collect.

So I said, "Got any shoes you're not using?"

I have two really rare photos. One is a picture of Harry Houdini locking his keys in his car. The other is a rare photograph of Norman Rockwell beating up a child.

The other day, I was walking the dog around my building... on the ledge. Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, No, I'm afraid of widths.

All the plants in my house are dead - I killed them last night. I was teasing them by watering them with ice cubes.

The severity of the itch is always proportional to the reach.

The sky is falling... no, I'm tipping over backwards.

I was about to cross the border into Canada. They stop me to ask if I have any firearms with me. I say, "What do you need?"

Each time I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets very crowded.

All those here who believe in psychokinesis raise my left hand.

I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.

I worked in a health food store once. A guy came in and asked me, "If I melt dry ice, can I take a bath without getting wet?"

A clear conscience is usually an indication of a really poor memory.

Boycott all shampoo! Ask for REAL poo!

"So, do you live around here often?"

I was in the grocery store. I saw a sign that said "pet supplies". So I did. Then I went outside and saw a sign that said "compact cars".

Bills travel in the mail three times as fast as checks.

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

My neighbor Maurice has a circular driveway... he can't get out.

If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

A fool and his money are soon partying.

I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?" I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar."

Conscience is what hurts when your other parts feel so good.




Droughts: because God didn't pay his water rates.

The people in my building are insane. The girl above me designs synthetic hairballs for ceramic cats. Then the guy across the hall tried to rob a department store... with a pricing gun. He said, "Give me all the money in the vault, or I'm marking down everything in the store."

My grandfather gave me a wristwatch. It has neither hands nor numbers. He says it's very accurate. I asked him what time it was. You can guess what he told me.

If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?

Is "tired old cliché" one?

I did some DIY: I put false brick-type wallpaper over real bricks, just so I'd be the only one who knew. When people come over I'm going to say, "Go ahead, touch it... it feels real."

I bought a million lottery tickets. I won a dollar.

I know the guy who writes all those bumper stickers. He hates New York.

Drugs might lead to nowhere, but at least it's the scenic route.

I saw a small bottle of cologne and asked if it was for sale. She said, "It's free with purchase." I asked her if anyone bought anything today.

I had lessons in bicycle riding. But I could only afford half of them. Now I can ride a unicycle.

Everybody has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

How many people does it take to change a searchlight bulb?

When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child... eventually.

I bought a dog the other day... I named him Stay. It's fun... "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He went mad. Now he just ignores me.

When I was in boy scouts, I slipped on the ice and hurt my ankle. A little old lady had to help me across the street.

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.

I bought my sister some gift-wrap for Christmas. I went to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so she would know when to stop unwrapping.

Tinsel is really snakes' mirrors.

If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?

Every time I eat Swiss cheese, I only nibble on it. It makes the holes bigger.

I got a garage door opener. It can't close. Just open.

I went to San Francisco. I found someone's heart.

This morning I couldn't find my red socks, so I called Information. She said, "Hi, Information?" I said, "I can't find my red socks." She said, "They're behind the refrigerator, sir." And they were!

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

I had fried octopus last night. You have to be quiet when you eat it. Otherwise, it emits clouds of black smoke and dies.

My dental hygienist is cute. Every time I visit, I eat a whole package of Oreo cookies while waiting in the lobby. Sometimes she has to cancel the rest of the afternoon's appointments.

I hooked up my accelerator pedal to my brake lights. I hit the gas, people behind me stop, and I'm gone.

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, "Did you sleep good?" I said, "No, I made a few mistakes."

It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it.

I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They ask if they can help, and I say, "Have you got anything I'd like?" They ask me what size I need, and I say, "Extra medium."

On the other hand, you have 4 different fingers.

I saw a friend of mine the other day... He said, "Steven, why haven't you called me?" I said, "I can't call everybody I want. My new phone has no five on it." He said, "How long have you had it?" I said, "I don't know... my calendar has no sevens on it."

For a while I didn't have a car... I had a helicopter... no place to park it, so I just tied it to a lamp post and left it running...

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

I went on a course in speed-reading. Then I got Reader's Digest on microfilm. By the time I got the machine set up, I was done.

The judge asked, "What do you plead?" I said, "Insanity, your honor, who in their right mind would park in the passing lane?"

Last week I forgot how to ride a bicycle.

When I get bored I go to a Seven-Eleven and ask for a two-by-four and a box of three-by-fives.

I worked in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place.

I spilled spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone.

I was going to tape some records onto cassette, but got the wires backwards. I erased all of the records. When I returned them to my friend, he said, "These records are all blank."

I was in the first submarine. Instead of a periscope, they had a kaleidoscope. "We're surrounded."

If Barbie's so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

The sign said "eight items or less". So I changed my name to Les.

I went to the hardware store for some used paint. It was in the shape of a house. I also bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again.

My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.

I wrote a few children's books... not on purpose.

I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day because then it's going to be up all night.

What's another word for Thesaurus?

If you had a million Shakespeares, could they write like a monkey?

I'm moving to Mars next week, so if you have any boxes...

In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Germany. She said, "Cut it out."

It's a fine night to have an evening.

Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?

I have an answering machine in my car. It says, "I'm home right now. Leave a message and I'll call when I'm out."

I had some glasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out.

I moved into an all-electric house. I forgot and left the porch light on all day. When I got home the front door wouldn't open.

You know how it is when you're reading a book and falling asleep, you're reading, reading... and all of a sudden you notice your eyes are closed? I'm like that all the time.

Monday is an awful way to spend a seventh of your life.

I put contact lenses in my dog's eyes. They had little pictures of cats on them. Then I took one out and he ran around in circles.

My friend has one leg. I went to his house. I couldn't go up the stairs.

One time a cop pulled me over for running a stop sign. He said, "Didn't you see the stop sign?" I said, "Yeah, but I don't believe everything I read."

I replaced the headlights in my car with strobe lights, so it looks like I'm the only one moving.

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

Smoking cures bad weight problems... eventually...

The problem with our gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

I went to a garage sale. "How much for the garage?" "It's not for sale."

If you can wave a fan, and you can wave a club, perhaps you can wave a fan club.

My girlfriend Kelly does her nails with white-out. When she's asleep, I run over there and write misspelled words on them.

Last year we drove across the country. We switched on the driving... every half mile... We had one cassette tape to listen to on the entire trip... I don't remember what it was.

I went to this great French restaurant last night that was set up like a big buffet in the shape of an Ouija board. You'd think about what kind of food you want, and the table would move across the floor to it.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

I Xeroxed a mirror. Now I have an extra Xerox machine.

Today I dialed a wrong number... The other person said, "Hello?" and I said, "Hello, could I speak to Joey?"... They said, "Uh... I don't think so... he's just two months old." I said, "I'll wait."

What are imitation rhinestones?

I went to the haunted house, looked under the kitchen table, and found spirit gum.

Winny and I lived in a house that ran on static electricity... If you wanted to run the blender, you had to rub balloons on your head. If you wanted to cook, you had to pull off a sweater real quick.

I went over to the neighbor's and asked to borrow a cup of salt. "What are you making?" "A salt lick."

Cross-country skiing is great if you live in a tiny country.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear my liver on my pant leg.

Today I found out what doughnuts are for. You put them on doughbolts. They hold dough airplanes together. For kids, they make erector sets out of play-dough.

Yesterday I saw a chicken crossing the road. I asked it why. It told me it was none of my business.

Why do psychics have to ask for your name?

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

When I was little, my grandfather used to force me to stand in a closet, not moving, for five minutes. What he said was it's just elevator practice.

Two babies were born on the same day at the same hospital. They lay there and looked at each other. Their families came and took them away. Eighty years later, by a bizarre coincidence, they lay in the same hospital, on their deathbeds, next to each other. One of them looked at the other and said, "So. What did you think?"

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

My roommate, Danny, got a pet elephant. Then suddenly it got lost. It's in the apartment somewhere.

Change is inevitable... except from vending machines.

I planted some bird seed. A dove came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I play the harmonica. The only way I can play is if I get my car going really fast, and hold it out the window. I put a new engine in my car, but forgot to take the old one out. Now my car goes *fast* - 225 miles per hour. The harmonica sounds *amazing*.

You can't have everything. Where would you put it?

I washed a sock. Then I put it in the dryer. When I took it out, it was gone.

I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

There was a power outage at a department store yesterday. Twenty-six people were trapped on the escalators.

[7,572 letters]

This anagram won an Anagrammy in February 2002 (Special Category) and a Grand Anagrammy.

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