the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

You Can’t Spell Happiness without Penis


There’s an old showbiz adage — “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Look how easy it was for me yesterday to write about being miserable. All I had to do was throw some Leonard Cohen or Beck lyrics up on the screen and everyone is crying a river.

But comedy requires work.

Today, I received an email from someone in the PR department of Conde Nast. I don’t know her, but just from her name, I visualize her as extremely attractive, single, ambitious, brunette, Jewish, with knowing eyes — someone like Sophia, but who’s not kicking me out.

Anyway, back to reality. This lovely PR person wrote to me wondering if I was interested in writing a post about an article in their current Details magazine. The article is very creatively titled “Is Being Well Hung the Key to Happiness?” She titled her email “Hung = Happiness.” The Economist this magazine is not.

Here’s the opening of the article:

Is Being Well Hung the Key to Happiness?
Some guys never seem to worry. The reason for that is probably in their pants.

Things were not looking good for Josh (not his real name). He had lost all the money he’d made as a day trader. To make matters worse, his longtime girlfriend walked out on him, taking all the furniture and whatever else she could carry. By any measure, it was rock bottom. But when Josh’s friends mobilized the rescue crew, they were astounded: Josh appeared to be totally unfazed.

“He didn’t care!” says Josh’s best friend, Steve (not his real name), a 35-year-old hedge-fund manager who worked with him on Wall Street. “He shrugged it off. It would have killed a lesser man.” But Steve knew his friend’s nonchalance wasn’t due to some elaborate form of self-hypnosis or handfuls of Wellbutrin. Josh owed his composure to something far simpler: nine inches of the most primal form of self-assurance known to man.

“If it weren’t for his cock, he’d be a hobo riding the trains around the country,” Steve says. “It’s opened doors for him. Rich women put him up at their apartments. We have friends who have more money than him and are more successful than him, but they all say, ‘I want to come back as this guy.’ Secretly, we all want to be him.”

Clearly the PR department of Conde Nast did their research and knew exactly who on the blogosphere who be interested in this new “scientific” research. (I can’t believe the hoity-toity Huffington Post wrote about this important scientific discovery too!) It really didn’t matter that I had never opened a copy of Details magazine in my life.

At first, I had no interest in writing about this post. After all, the PR department sent it to me because they WANT me to write about it, and as Sophia would love to tell you, I’m passive-aggressive. Therapy has changed me, and as proof of that, I’m actually going to go against the grain and agree to help out this lovely and good-willed woman from Conde Nast.

But, here’s my dilemma. I want to say something funny about the article, but I’m stuck between two vastly different comedic “gags.” This is what makes comedy so difficult. Follow along as I mull over my options. Consider this a “Master’s Class” in Comedy.

Gag #1 —

“Happiness = Hung? I think the scientists at Details Magazine better go back into the lab. I think my sleeping in the car last week being miserable clearly refutes their findings!”

Now, I’m the first one to admit that this joke is a dud. However, it serves a vital purpose. Think about the context of the joke. What important piece of real-life information am I subtly adding to the joke? Here’s another hint — soon I may be re-joining the dating pool. Have you figured it out yet? Can you see why I might want to let this less-than-stellar joke remain?

Imagine, mommybloggers across North America, emailing and twittering each other this afternoon, “Did you read Neilochka’s blog today? It wasn’t very funny, but tell me if I’m wrong — in the subtext of the joke, wasn’t he insinuating that he is… well… uh… well… really…well…?

Gag #2 —

“Happiness = Hung? I see! Now I understand why I was miserable sleeping in the car that night!”

That is a much funnier punchline. It is a double whammy. I end up sleeping in the car and blaming it on my own… shortcomings. Of course, it also sends a message out to the world that may end up hurting me in a few months when I make my first appearance at BlogHer.

Imagine, I’m waiting on line to get my BlogHer badge, one of the few men amidst hundreds of horny housewives.

Mommyblogger #1 (not her real name):  “Isn’t that Neilochka? He’s even better looking in person. And so tall!”

Mommyblogger #2:  “Uh, yeah. But did you ever read that post he wrote in February about Details Magazine…”

Mommyblogger #1:  “No, send me the link.”

Mommyblogger #2:  “You NEED to read it. It says so much about him. I’ll send you the link in tinyURL.”

Mommyblogger #1:  “Huh? Why in tinyURL?”

Mommyblogger #2:  “Read his post. Then you’ll understand.”

Clearly, you can see the dilemma I have here. Go with the joke that has the subliminal message that drives women crazy or go fo the funnier line that doesn’t get me laid at BlogHer. This is exactly why comedy is underappreciated. Funny movies never win the Oscars or any serious awards. I don’t mean artsy-funny movies like Juno. I mean the crap that I’m going to write. But they really should. Men expose their souls through comedy!

My Penis just hit me on the leg.

Neil’s Penis:  “What the f**king kind of post is this, Neilochka?  Are your cracking up over this Sophia thing?  Stop moping around and be happy!  Remember Bobby what’s his face’s song– Don’t worry, be happy!”

Neil:  “And what should I be happy about?  I think soon I’m going to be moving out of the house… again!”

My Penis clears his throat, reminding me about that dumb Happiness = Hung article in Details magazine.

Neil’s Penis:  “You’re happy, right?”

Neil:  “Oh, right… right… I’m happy…. very happy indeed.  Don’t worry about me anymore, Mom.  Everything is great.  I’m happy.”

Neil’s Penis:  “Exactly! Woo-hoo!  Nothing can get us down!”

Neil:  “Thank you, Dad, for your excellent genes!”

Neil’s Penis:  “That’s right.  You can learn something about PR from Conde Nast.  Self-promotion is important.  Party!  Party!  Happy! Happy!  Joy!  Joy!”

Neil and Neil’s Penis: (singing together) “We are Family…!”

Thank you Conde Nast and Details Magazine for reminding me that I have so much to be happy about!


  1. tiff

    how ‘deeply’ happy are you, exactly?

    I know of one clearly depressed well-hung man who would defeat this hypothesis, but heck, in every population there are outliers. Not even having a big schlong could make this guy happy, and that’s saying something very important, I’m sure.

  2. Alice

    and you can’t spell pensive without penis, either.

    which.. uh.. sounds sort of deep?

    (deep. heh. dirty!)

  3. MammaLoves

    Neilochka at BlogHer??!! You better start putting more of us mommybloggers in your Blog Crush of the Day rotation…

  4. SwanShadow

    You know, somebody ought to write a song about this…

    Oh, look — someone already did.

  5. Samuel John Klein

    Your penis has a throat?

    Are you sure that’s a penis you’re talking to?

    Ask for ID. Seriously, dude.

  6. Nat

    I spent all day lookign for an erectyle disfunction expert. Must ahve something to do with moon…

    (For work.. not for The Man.)

  7. Dagny

    What? You’re coming to San Francisco again? I must alert Buzzgirl…

  8. scarlet hip

    So this guy lost his job, his girlfriend, and all his furniture, but he’s happy because he’s got a big dick? I doubt it. I’m thinking his happiness actually stems from the fact that he’s dumber than shit.

  9. blackbird

    I’ve been to Blogher – you aren’t going to get laid there anyway, so you might as well go with whichever story your heart tells you to go with and tell your penis to shut up.

  10. Neil

    Blackbird — OK, you’re probably right — I might be expecting too much for one weekend. But I’m hoping to get to feel someone up. At least then the trip will be worth it. Besides, there’s really not much else to do in San Francisco one you’ve gone on the Cable car.

  11. Kristen

    I haven’t been to BlogHer, but I echo Blackbird – the idea of someone going there to get laid seems kind of ridiculous. But it could work! Good luck.

  12. Neil

    Kristen — I was joking about BlogHer! The last person any guy wants to get involved with is a female blogger. They’re all crazy!

    Ha Ha! Uh, that was another joke. Sort of.

  13. Kristen

    : )

  14. Karlababble

    I can tell you for sure that being well hung has brought me great happiness all my life.

  15. miguelina

    I’m honored to have been a “crush of the day” on a penis post day. I feel special, even if it was short lived.

  16. Dagny

    *sigh* I keep telling you that you have been hanging with the wrong crowd if you think that once you’ve ridden the cable car, you have done it all in San Francisco.

  17. Miss Syl

    So, forgive me for being too lazy and annoyed to read what seems to be an incredibly stupid magazine article–but, are they saying that well-hung guys are happy, and small guys are therefore sad and average-length guys are kind of just…emotionally flatlining? Or is it only big guys are happy, and everyone else is just ready to off themselves?

    I’ve known men with seriously impressive cocks who were on depression medication. So IMO whole theory just…ahem…sucks. One of those articles written just to get people to buy the magazine to find out if they’re doomed to unhappiness.

    I’m with Scarlet Hip. Any guy who loses all his money, his lovelife, and his posessions all at once and has no emotional response at all, because his cock is so big or for any other reason…well, I think there is at least one major organ in his body that isn’t operating properly. The writing in that “example” scenario sounds totally made up.

  18. Kyran

    the best gag is the notion that ANYONE gets laid at blogher. 😉

  19. JoAnne

    Female bloggers are crazy?!

    Actually, that’s probably true.

  20. ElizaF

    “Go with the joke that has the subliminal message that drives women crazy ” – oh yeah? 🙂 The only penis that will impress me is the one attached to the man who comes up with the cure for depression. If a man believes himself to be the sum of his parts as ‘Josh’ does in that article “Because when it comes down to men, I mean, really, what else is there?” then that is all he is – a prick.

  21. better safe than sorry

    i don’t get either joke, you weren’t happy sleeping in your car because you and your huge penis didn’t fit??? is anyone who isn’t reading this blog going to know why you were sleeping in the car with your huge penis??? i had that lucy/snoopy poster in my room when i was a teen, how come it took me until now to realize the word penis is in happiness???
    enjoy your trip, don’t forgot to pack that roll of quarters;)

  22. Miss Britt

    Neil, ignore the haters.

    I’m totally going to BlogHer to get laid.

  23. Neil

    Miss Britt — SF Marriott, Fisherman’s Wharf, Room 915

  24. bookfraud

    thanks for tapping into my greatest fears, neil. now my wife will kick me out, take josh in, and rise to unfathomable levels of sexual ecstasy, all courtesy of josh’s humongous member.

    “If it weren’t for his cock, he’d be a hobo riding the trains around the country… yeah, i had the same thought, too.

    if it’s only his giant schlong that’s keeping him from destitution, there’s something seriously wrong with this country. and i think it’s dudes who are taking him into their apartments.

    go for the subliminal joke that will drive women wild.

  25. Neil

    I thought we stopped calling them hobos in 1930?

    And why couldn’t we learn Josh’s real name?

  26. Marie

    Maybe what you really need is a huge URL?

    You don’t have to worry about me coming after you, I have too many penises clamoring for attention as it is.

  27. V-Grrrl

    So Freud was right? This is why I’m depressed and prone to feeling inadequate. Something’s missing in my life. Something’s missing.

  28. Noel

    Why would Details lie like that? Josh is his real name.

  29. Neil

    Ironically, I found this article from this website that lists Josh as someone who women tend to view as “small.”


    Big news for men named Dave

    By A Year In The Sex Life Staff on Feb 22, 2008 in news, polls

    From The Sun.

    WOMEN think blokes called Dave are the best-endowed, a poll reveals.

    But the name Ray conjures up the most disappointing visions in the trouser department.

    Girls were asked to list the monikers which sounded most — and least — likely to belong to a well-packaged man.

    John Sewell, boss of which questioned 1,000 British women for the survey, said: “It is interesting to see women’s pre-conceptions revealed.”

    BIG NAMES: 1 Dave; 2 Paul; 3 Steve; 4 James; 5 Mark; 6 Robert; 7 Chris; 8 Andy; 9 Richard; 10 Dan.

    SMALL NAMES: 1 Ray; 2 Brian; 3 Nigel; 4 Frank; 5 Keith; 6 Jeremy; 7 Josh; 8 Barry; 9 Dennis; 10 Nick.

    Poor Josh. Better he never travel to the UK.

  30. Nichelle

    Always go for the laugh even at your expense!

    Have you heard Scott Paulson Bryant who wrote a book that came out in 2006 call “Hung”?

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