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[99] Effects of mild absurdity are produced by the simulation of folly and would, indeed, themselves, be foolish were they not fictitious. Take as an example the remark of the man who, when people wondered why he had bought a stumpy candlestick, said, “It will do for lunch.”1 There are also sayings closely resembling absurdities which derive great point from their sheer irrelevance, like the reply of Dolabella's slave, who, on being asked whether his master had advertised a sale of his property, answered, “He has sold his house.”2 [p. 495] Sometimes you may get out of a tight comer by giving a humorous explanation of your embarrassment,

1 Lunch requiring a less elaborate service, but being in broad daylight.

2 i.e. how can he? he has nothing left to sell.

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