By Steve Martin
I was a kid when this book came out in the '70s. I had a bunch of Steve Martin and George Carlin records, and the absurd humor that these guys presented, especially Martin, was incredibly appealing to me. The title story, "Cruel Shoes," is about an unwearable pair of shoes a woman has to own. Another, called "The Smokers," which is very funny, is about how much people enjoy their smoking. He uses the word smoke probably 50 times in a two-page piece, and the final sentence is: "And then his lips fell off." As a child, I found it funny in a completely different way than I do now. Martin is appealing to kids, in a goofy way—and he's appealing to adults, because he's intellectual in what he's writing about. I'll always buy whatever he's selling.