The first time I met Richard C. Richards (whom I later learned was also known as Mongo) we were at the 2013 LPS conference on the west coast of Florida. He was wearing a T-shirt that said something about having attended his own funeral, so I figured that he, like me, had a penchant for gallows humor. Later, during an author-meets-critics session focusing on his at-the-time-new book (A Philosopher Looks at The Sense of Humor), I was as eager to learn more about his work as I was delighted by the friendly banter between him and the other attendees. Although this was the first time I had been to this conference or met members of the society, it was immediately clear that this was a man who was both loved and respected. So, because I was determined to get a piece of him myself, I bought his book, read it, then reached out to him via email. Thus began one of my most cherished online relationships. Actually, that’s an easy hurdle to clear as I don’t, as a rule, have online relationships and consider the term itself a bit oxymoronic. No, we didn’t become “FaceSpace” friends or start “sexting” one another—in fact, I suspect that he would be as uninterested as I am in such 21st century distractions. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I hope it will suffice to say that I avoid social media as much as I do angry fire ants or artisanal pizza, and not necessarily in that order. [excerpt]
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Atkinson, Camille. "Mongo Give Good E-Mail." Praxis, Poems, and Punchlines: Essays in Honor of Richard C. Richards, edited by Steven Gimbel, 2020, pp. 46-53.