Patrick F. McManus
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|Patrick F. McManus|
August 25, 1933 |
Patrick Francis McManus (born August 25, 1933) is an American humor writer, who primarily writes about the outdoors. A humor columnist for Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and other magazines, his columns have been collected in several books, beginning with A Fine and Pleasant Misery (1978) up through The Horse in My Garage and Other Stories (2012).
McManus was born and raised in Sandpoint, Idaho. His father, who served in the 42nd ("Rainbow") Division under Douglas MacArthur during World War I, died when he was six (not during the war.) Although his mother later remarried, for the most part he was raised by his mother, grandmother, and older sister Patricia (referred to in his childhood stories as "the Troll"). After high school, McManus worked construction and other such jobs until he had saved enough money to attend Washington State College, now Washington State University. He is married to Darlene "Bun" McManus and has four daughters.
McManus writes mostly about his outdoor adventures from his childhood with semi-fictional characters such as his old woodsman mentor Rancid Crabtree and his childhood friends. The stories' humor is mostly based on elaborate exaggerations of his surreal adventures into the outdoors. McManus's writing is characterized by a dry wit that has drawn comparisons to Mark Twain and Robert Benchley.
As of 2013, his most recent work is The Tamarack Murders, the fifth in a series of mystery novels starring the character Sheriff Bo Tully. Other departures from his column-collections include Kid Camping From Aaaaiii! To Zip (1979, an alphabetized, and partially serious, listing of useful tips and concepts for beginning campers); Whatchagot Stew (1989, both a cookbook and a less-fictionalized memoir of his childhood); and The Deer On A Bicycle (2000, a discussion of the art of humor writing.)
In October 2011, an index of his stories and novels titled "Where's the One About the Bobcat?" was compiled by Lauren Ball, making it easy for readers to find their favorite stories.
Magazine Columns Collections
- A Fine and Pleasant Misery (1978)
- They Shoot Canoes, Don't They? (1981)
- Never Sniff a Gift Fish (1983)
- The Grasshopper Trap (1985)
- Rubber Legs and White Tail-Hairs (1987)
- The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw (1989)
- Real Ponies Don't Go Oink (1991)
- The Good Samaritan Strikes Again (1992)
- How I Got This Way (1994)
- Never Cry "Arp!" and Other Great Adventures (1996)
- Into the Twilight, Endlessly Grousing (1997)
- Kerplunk!: Stories (2007)
- The Horse in My Garage and Other Stories (2012)
Sheriff Bo Tully Mysteries
- The Blight Way: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (2006)
- Avalanche: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (2007)
- The Double-Jack Murders: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (2009)
- The Huckleberry Murders: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (2010)
- The Tamarack Murders: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (2013)
- Kid Camping from Aaaaiii! to Zip (1979)
- Whatchagot Stew (1989), co-written with Patricia McManus Gass
- The Deer on a Bicycle: Excursions into the Writing of Humor (2000)
- The Bear in the Attic (2002)
McManus' shorter works include a recurring cast of fictitious characters and running jokes, both from the stories set in his childhood and as an adult. The foremost among the childhood stories is his "mentor" Rancid Crabtree, a colorful woodsman who lives near Pat's childhood home, who hasn't bathed because of his fear of soap and water. Other recurring characters are his childhood best friend, 'Crazy Eddie' Muldoon, his rough-and-tumble mutt appropriately named Strange, and his adulthood friends, the goofy and dim-witted Retch Sweeney and his straitlaced neighbor, Alphonse 'Al' Finley. Throughout the majority of the stories is a recurring theme of McManus's lifelong love of hunting and fishing—which is mostly an excuse to just enjoy the outdoors, often in good company. Most of his friends likewise enjoy hunting and fishing, even if they aren't particularly good at it. McManus, in his stories, has a certain amount of disgruntlement for people who take great pleasure in the minutiae of various sports (such as encyclopediac knowledge of firearms calibers and ballistics). He refers to firearms enthusiastics as 'gun nuts' and treats their excited sharing of the fine points of ballistic arcs and grain sizes as something to be endured to get on a good hunting trip.
Some of the elements show up in his longer works, and are even worked into the plots. Bo Tully, the protagonist of the Bo Tully Mysteries, shares McManus' views about firearms—in the course of his job as Sheriff and his hobbies, Tully uses guns, knows about guns, but isn't particularly excited by them or even sentimental towards them. He is, however, aware that many people are. This even serves as plot point in one of the Bo Tully mysteries, when Tully is investigating an absent murder suspect and sees that the man has a gorgeously mounted collection of antique, original, or unusual firearms—with a gap in it that would correspond to the type of handgun used in a murder. Tully realized it's likely that an ardent gun collector would be reluctant to destroy or permanently discard such a gun, and operates on the hunch that the murder weapon is hidden nearby and carefully preserved to prevent possible damage.
- Statsio, Marilyn (2008) "Death Among the Gentry", The New York Times, March 23, 2008, retrieved 2011-07-29
- Frazier, Ian (1985) "Fast Mean Cows and Slow Mean Cows", The New York Times, December 15, 1985, retrieved 2011-07-29
- McManus, Patrick (1989). Whatchagot Stew. Henry Holt. p. 1. ISBN 0-8050-0922-1.
- Melich, Nancy (1996) "Coming Up: THEATER", Salt Lake Tribune, February 18, 1993 , p. E8
- Ball, Lauren (2011). Where's the One About the Bobcat?. Bim Toggle Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-9846600-0-2 Check