Trying again. Pardon me if this is a repeat.
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My thanks to several members who tried to help me track down a
story that I thought MIGHT be Twain's but is not. For the curious, it is
from Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, as George Robinson suggested. It
occurs an unlikely location under the entry for the "Yinglish" word
"Nexdoorekeh/er" and runs like so:
Two shlemiels were discussing the meaning of life and death.
Finally, one sighed: "Considering how many heartaches life holds, death is
really no misfortune. In fact, I think sometimes it's better for a man
not to have been born at all!"
"True," the other nodded. "But how many men are that lucky?
Maybe one in ten thousand!"
Something about the concept combined with that sagacious "maybe" that is
deeply funny. Reminds me of the qualification in the line (quoted on the
wonderful Twain t-shirt): "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little
or no influence in society."