Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations

Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations

by Simon Rich


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400065882
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2007
Pages: 139
Sales rank: 540,927
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.39(d)

About the Author

Simon Rich has written for The New Yorker, GQ, Mad, The Harvard Lampoon, and other magazines. He was part of the writing staff of Saturday Night Live and Pixar. He is the author of a novel, Elliot Allagash, and two humor collections, Free-Range Chickens and Ant Farm, which was a finalist for the 2008 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He lives in Brooklyn.

Read an Excerpt

Ant Farm

And Other Desperate Situations
By Simon Rich

Random House Trade Paperbacks

Copyright © 2007 Simon Rich
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781400065882

desert island
I was chatting with a girl at a cocktail party last weekend and she asked me, “If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only take three possessions with you, which ones would you pick?”
“That’s pretty tough,” I said. “I guess my first-edition copy of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, James Merrill’s Collected Poems, and my lucky Sonic Youth T-shirt.
Well, it turns out the girl was a government research scientist. It’s a long story, but basically when the drugs in my cocktail wore off, I woke up completely naked on a sandy strip of land in the middle of the ocean. A few hours later a jet plane whizzed by and parachute-dropped the record, book, and shirt onto the shore.
I realize now that I definitely could have chosen better items.
“The last three days have been hell. I have no food, shelter,or medicine. The Sonic Youth T-shirt has an enormoustear through the front. It’s pretty cool-looking, and it shows I’ve had the shirt for a long time, since before Sonic Youth got big. But the tear lets in a lot of cold air,and the larger insects keep getting trapped in it.
Every few hours I flip through the Merrill anthology in the hope that one of his poems will be about fire building orwater purification or how to make medicine, but so far they’re all useless.
I spent yesterday morning tying the Bob Dylan record to a stick with weeds and swinging it over my head to try to receive radio waves. I don’t remember why I thought that would work.
If I had asked for a Bob Dylan CD, I could have at least used the reflective surface to maybe heat up some sand. I’m not sure what that would accomplish, but at least I’d feel like I was doing something.
This morning I ate the poetry book and the shirt. Tonight,I’m going to try to eat the record.
Let me tell you some more about this island. During the daytime, the sand is so hot that I need to constantly hop from foot to foot to prevent my feet from getting burned. At night it’s below freezing. There are no trees. There’s just sand, weeds, and some kind of volcano. Every fish I’ve caught so far has been poisonous.
I just realized that, technically, my house counts as a possession. I could have asked for my entire house.
I don’t even like Bob Dylan. I just wanted to sound cool.


Excerpted from Ant Farm by Simon Rich Copyright © 2007 by Simon Rich. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ant Farm is a fabulous collection of short snippets of cyncism and jadedness. Simon Rich spins every day mundane events into sheer comedic desperation narratives. Be warned though that this type of humor is not for everyone. However, for those who appreciate websites like McSweeneys, you will be big belly laughing for the duration of the read. Also be warned that it is an extremely quick read (I read the whole book in well under a hour). Perfect to bring on the bus or for a day at the beach. I recommend this book to anyone who loves books written by Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.
Aaven on LibraryThing 7 months ago
In a series of brief yet highly imaginative sketches, Simon Rich creates clever fantasies based on questions and topics that most of us would never consider. What happens when elementary school children discover the true intent of the Politeness Game? Are those love coupons your girlfriend gave you still valid after you've been apart for years? And just how awkward is it when murderers run into their victims in heaven? These are only a few of many hilarious tales that Rich offers up in this fast-paced read.Ant Farm is the perfect book for those in need of a quick dose of humor to brighten their day; simply open to any page, start reading, and laugh out loud. Each situation has a unique twist that makes you look at ordinary life in an entirely new way. This is the kind of book that you could read all the way through within the hour or dip back into from time to time - either way, it never loses it's spontaneity and intelligent wit.
kristenn on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I was halfway through the book before I actually laughed out loud, but there were three more instances after that. Still a pretty low percentage, but I don't think it's quite my sense of humor. My boyfriend is more the target demographic and he laughed pretty much at everything. It became much more impressive when I read at the end that he wrote all this during his four years of undergrad (not only as a senior). That explains why almost everything is from a kid's perspective and how the few pieces in adult voice didn't ring quite true. Many gags are familiar and he doesn't put a new twist on them. But they're the first time for someone. The piece with the hockey players was the most ambitious and thus almost the most impressive (but definitely sad rather than funny, at least to me), but he made some assumptions that just couldn't hold up. The ones I actually laughed at were Medieval England, Stadium Proposal, Sultan of Brunei, and Life in the U.S. Army.
lmichet on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The college humor magazine I write for kept passing this one around. I can't tell you how jealous it made us all.This guy is hilarious, and his last lines are always fantastic. There are two great images in particular that stuck with me after I had finished: the images called up by the phrase 'muscle arms' and the image of a big fat man rubbing coins all over his belly. You'll have to read it. For serious.But the guy who wrote this graduated from Harvard after editing the Lampoon and is the son of NYTimes movie reviewer, so whatever, he's riding a massive wave of privilege all the way out to sea, I guess. Good for him. Wish I was born rich and famous and with a famous dad. Then I, too, could be selling my humor in Barnes and Noble the very year I graduate from college. That would be pretty sweet, right?
eenerd on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Laugh out loud funny. You can tell this guy is pretty young because his angst is so very fresh. The sacasm is acid and hilarious. This is dark and really wonderful.
gonzobrarian on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I'm not trying to get negative, I'm just...(Sigh)"That pretty much sums up this snarky, cynical and humorous collection of speculations and observations from Simon Rich. It's a collection that presents a more youthful, upbeat resignation echoing the more reposed one found in the writing of David Sedaris. Ant Farm is full of nostalgic recollections and weird possibilities concerning the irrelevancies of those desperate situations that give us awkward moments of reflection.Moments that involve realizing the agony spent before receiving one's first calculator, the ironic closed-mindedness when experimenting with a ouija board, making candy with a forgetful someone named Peanut Al, keeping close tabs on your daily karma tally, God's overwhelming support for Orel Hershiser, and the three things you really don't need if stranded on a desert island.Ant Farm is an incredibly fast and funny read. The selections are brief and varied, maybe a little too much so, as each consists no more than a couple of pages and is unbounded by coherent theme other than pure whimsy. But it does create that weird momentary pause, raising the question whether there is anything more absurd than us humans and our behavior.
getupkid10 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A funny, short book of vignettes. Think a short version of Jon Stewart's "Naked Pictures of Famous People". Not nearly as funny as "Naked Pictures", but consistently funny, and had enough belly laughs to make it a nice first book. "Ant Farm", "My Mom's all time top five greatest boyfriends" and "i can only thing of two scenarios where high school math would come in handy" certainly showed the amazing amount of potential this young writer has.
alanna1122 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A slim book - full of one-two page humorous vignettes. While I didn't laugh out loud too many times - I had a smirk plastered on my face during most of my time reading. Very quick but entertaining.
hdusty on LibraryThing 7 months ago
by the harvard lampoon son of nyt columnist frank rich. very funny, mostly.
delzey on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This collection of shorter humorous pieces ¿ I hesitate to use the word "stories" as so many are written only to hit a punchline ¿ are either the first inklings of a major force in humor or the short, brilliant sparks of beer-infused talent at the cusp of spiraling into oblivion.Personally, I¿m hoping for the latter.Simon Rich, with his Harvard degree and his being all Mr. President of The Harvard Lampoon, who does he think he is having his oh-so-clever little observations published just in time for graduation? Who the hell is this kid with testimonial from Jon Stewart on the front and back cover ¿ what, you couldn¿t find more than one person to say nice things about you? I noticed, Simon, that half of these little stories of yours (if you can call them stories, most are just little fragments of dialog) were previously published in that paragon of literary lights The Harvard Lampoon; were you unable to get anyone outside of your alma mater to give you a few inches of space in their journals and magazines? I bet you didn¿t even try, I bet the whole thing is just a bunch of back-slapping good-ol'-boys insider club wheeling-dealing. And as for the other half of the book, what was that, contractual filler that the publisher requested after you handed in a twenty-five page manuscript? Your success is a farce, my friend, your talent¿Actually, your stuff is pretty damn funny, I have to admit. I¿m not going to say you hit it out of the park because there are a few items that do feel a bit like filler, where the humor is stretched a bit thin. Where you do hit, you hit well, strong and solid. The pieces are like finely crafted commercials, dialog and description succinct and powerful, and just like that on to the next.¿A conversation at the grown-ups¿ table as imagined at the kids table¿ is nothing short of brilliant. It¿s the kind of thing that The National Lampoon Radio Hour wished they¿d written, the kind of thing the early Saturday Night Live might have tried, and exactly the sort of thing Hollywood would use to build a movie franchise out of¿ a bad movie franchise. Think Look Whose Talking meets Charles Bukowski. No, don¿t think it, don¿t even reread that sentence! Hollywood can hear our thoughts and that¿s why they make the crap they do. That¿s how they get away with saying ¿We¿re giving the people what they want!¿ No! We don¿t want it, we¿re just joking! It¿s a joke! Please, don¿t make any more crappy movies! I beg you! Get out of my head!This isn¿t much of a review. Sorry about that. Let me rectify the situation here and now. Most of what Rich writes about concerns the life of children, kids of all ages, and those childhood perceptions that sometimes get in the way of our world view. There¿s a short drama about what a third grader imagines the UNICEF headquarters are like (UNICEF is a tyrannical despot using kids to collect money to make himself rich), a seventh grade fantasy where all the jocks become slaves to the nerds, the best friend who has a sex-addicted fashion model girlfriend that clearly is a figment of his friend¿s imagination, and a variety of other (57 in all) situations where things don¿t go as planned. Simon writes what he knows, and at the age of 22 he still remembers vividly and painfully how unfair middle school was, taking the even-handed lack of justice from the principal¿s office and applies it to the adult courtroom.How was that, did that sound more like a book review? I tried to keep that paragraph factual without letting my bitter jealousy and rancor seep through.What? No, I¿m not jealous. Did I say that? I don¿t think I did. No, no. Not at all jealous.(Jerkwad.)
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Deb6 More than 1 year ago
one of the best books I have ever read. It is hysterical and a fun beach read.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is one of the funniest and most random things I have ever read. Some stuff wasn't as funny as the rest of the book but it didn't matter because the rest was so funny. I was looking for a book to do a speech with and I think I found the perfect book for it. Anyone that needs a good laugh just pick up this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up in the humor section at B&N and saw that Jon Stewart said it was hilarious. I opened it up and read a few pages and it was hilarious, so I bought it. I read the whole book in about an hour and realized that the only funny parts of the book were the ones that I read in B&N. Not worth the money, just pick it up and read the few funny parts in the store and save your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
many of the stories in this book are hilarious! on the back cover, jon stewart says to open up to any page and you will start laughing... so thats what I did. and sure enough, i started laughing right in the middle of B&N. so i bought the book. quick read. witty and fun
Avery Kulak More than 1 year ago
Ant farm is soon a show on Disney Channel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is perfect for a Humorous Interp!