One of the funniest books I have ever read was “The Book of Heroic Failures”, written by the founder of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. The background to this is that Stephen Pile was a fairly ordinary Englishman who believed that the world was becoming obsessed with “success” – bigger, better richer, brighter, faster, and all the rest – when most of us are pretty ordinary, like himself. So, reasonably enough, he formed a club for people who were NOT very good at anything, and especially for those who were very bad at something – who used to meet, and tell each other stories of spectacular failures. These were later collected and published under the title “The Book of Heroic Failures.” I read this nearly thirty years ago, and still snort when I remember some of the anecdotes: of a hard of hearing military quartermaster who incorrectly heard a request for several hundred brass taps, and bought bra straps instead (for an all0male camp), or the nervous amateur actor who had a few drinks to calm his nerves before his first night as the Prince of Denmark, then a few more – then passed out just before the curtain. In the best theatrical tradition, the show duly went on – without Hamlet.
The book itself was a story of staggering failures: