Friday, March 25, 2005


Since the recent death of John Updike, rumors have continued to persist that the dreaded black dog — combined with the possible influence of an unknown supernatural phenomenon — was the cause of the overrated writer’s demise.
One would-be sleuth has taken on the Updike case at a summer wilderness camp in northern Minnesota. He was originally assigned the task, he pointed out, because the camp directors had deemed that the Updike mystery must be solved before the camp could open for business.
Fortunately, the sleuth discovered, the New Yorker magazine had already cracked the case and was running television ads touting their solution. The sleuth discovered the New Yorker ads — animated by artist Charles Burns — at a laundromat in a town near to the wilderness camp.
According to the commercial, Updike was indeed running from the black dog at the time of his death. However, the magazine added, he was also “really fat” and he may well have died from physical exertion in fleeing the dreaded canine.
The sleuth considered the New Yorker’s solution satisfactory and informed the wilderness camp directors that the crime had been solved. “You can check the Updike case off your list,” he told them.