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Stephen Leacock concludes his light personal essay with the following:
As the big door swung behind me I caught the echo of a roar of laughter that went up to the ceiling of the bank. Since then I bank no more. I keep my money in cash in my trousers pockets and my savings in silver dollars in a sock.
Stephen Leacock was one of the most popular humorists during the first half of the twentieth century. The other top humorists at that time were Robert Benchley and James Thurber. All of them wrote about their fears and foibles, their inability to cope with modern times; and all of them were probably exaggerating. But exaggeration was always a part of humorous essays, such as Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." James Thurber's story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is an another example. The three famous humorists--Leacock, Benchley, and Thurber--are undoubtedly indebted to Mark Twain, who wrote a number of funny essays about his problems in coping with the little problems of everyday life, including those occasioned by barbers and lightning-rod salesmen.
Other popular humorists who are still enjoyable reading are E. B. White and Dorothy Parker. E. B. White's, A Subtreasury of American Humor, edited in collaboration with his wife, provides an excellent and entertaining overview of the subject with selections from its oldest practitioners like Artemus Ward up to its heyday just before the sobering years of World War II.
Stephen Leacock could hardly have had so much trouble with opening a bank account as he describes in "My Financial Career." He was a professor who specialized in economics and political science. He was born in England in 1869 but grew up in Canada. He taught at the University of Chicago and eventually became a full professor at MaGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He died in 1944.
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