Patricia Marx and Roz Chast both work at the New Yorker (Marx is a staff writer and Chast is a cartoonist), play in a ukulele band together (Ukulear Meltdown) and have been friends since the 1970s.
Now, the creators of “Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother’s Suggestions,” which paired Marx’s mom’s one-liners with Chast’s drawings and aimed to snare Mother’s Day shoppers, have a new book for another kind of holiday shopper: Mildly crabby, long-paired off Valentine’s Day gift buyers.
“Life is a schlep, and it’s easier to get through it with another ox,” they sum up in the introduction to “You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples,” giving their couplehood bona fides (35 years for Chast, 12 for Marx) before launching into a series of advice, illustrated by Chast’s live-wire cartoons.
Overall, the worthiness of that advice is up for debate (suggestions range from “Queen-sized beds, king-sized blankets” to “It is easier to stay inside and wait for the snow to melt than to fight about who should shovel” and “Sexual favors in exchange for cleaning up the cat vomit is a good and fair trade”), but all of their observations are pretty funny.
Especially if, like me, you believe that “Whoever cares the most that there are crumbs in the toaster gets the de-crumbing job.”
“You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples” by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast; Celadon Books (139 pages, $20)