A local man has written a Spoof story about the many Spoof stories recently appearing in The Spoof that are being written with headlines including the word Man.
"I was inspired by all these stories with titles like Local Man Buys New Toaster, Man Forgets to Set his Alarm Clock, or Man Has Sex with Inflatable Sperm Whale", said the Wolverhampton man, 55, whose name, by a strange coincidence, is Vincent van Gogh, yesterday.
"Actually", the man continued, "that is not quite true. I haven't actually seen a story about inflatable sperm whales. Nothing quite so interesting has appeared in this genre. Most of these stories about men have been utterly devoid of any spark of the outre, the bizarre, or the recherche. In fact, they seem to celebrate the vacuous, the drab, and the quotidian.
"These stories about men are also characterised by a kind of self-regarding irony that borders on arrogance or perhaps even, in some cases, a barely disguised narcissism.
"There is, for example, one type - I might perhaps even call it a sub genre - of these stories about men, that attempts to give the tedious subject matter a flavour of the exotic, by setting its tales of a man doing futile and empty things in the Far East.
"It is as if", continued the man, yesterday, warming to his theme as the rain beaded the dirty windows of his rented apartment and the heavy traffic shook the flimsy fabric of the building, "it is as if the exotic setting were intended to give an existential import to the otherwise pointless antics of the story's protagonist.
"It is also as if", continued the man, yesterday, raising his voice above the din of his ancient washing machine and the loud reggae music from the upstairs apartment, "it is also as if the author of these stories were trying to sound like Sartre or Camus.
"The true effect upon the reader, however", continued the man, yesterday, as the air was rent by the sirens of passing police vehicles, "the true effect upon the reader, however, is more like that of reading about the activities of Mr Pooter, in The Diary of a Nobody.
"Not that any of these writers of stories about men are likely to have heard of The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith", said the man, with a forlorn sigh. "It was published in 1892.
"As for whether the fact that The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith was published in 1892 is something to celebrate, in that all these stories about men are at least alluding to a classic work of humorous fiction, or whether that fact should give cause for condemnation, well, I leave that to the reader to judge.
"We are all masters of our own conscience", continued the man, mysteriously.
Thus having spake, the man took up pen and paper, as if to write his own story about a man writing a story about a man writing a story about a man.
Only to cry out in frustration and ennui. "I can't do it!" he cried, in frustration and ennui. "I haven't got the time! How do these people find the time! Have they nothing else to do, in Canada, Oklahoma, or The Philippines, or wherever they are situated?
"I need to get to the shops. I have run out of toilet paper and sandwich bags, and I need some more A4 padded envelopes!"
"This is the stuff of real life", said the man, putting on his waterproof coat and checking that he had not forgotten his wallet or spectacles. "Having to do this, and not having time to write stories about a man not having time to write stories about a man."
And with that he was gone, down the filthy staircase.
Dear Reader, judge for thyslef (sic). If the man did not write his story, then who did?
Or mayhap he did write his story - and it is the very story you are reading now - and the very point of his story is that he did not get around to writing an actual story. Apart from this one, which contains no actual story as such, as you will no doubt have realised by now.