Local Author Uses Humor to Delight Readers

By Tania Soussan

Albuquerque native Clyde James Aragón’s passion is humor, and he’s used his wit to write everything from greeting cards to plays and even to craft crossword puzzles.

Inspired by the likes of Mark Twain, Richard Amory and Ambrose Bierce, Aragón has turned his pen to the lighter side of stories.

“It just seemed to come to me for some reason,” he said in a recent interview. “I always loved joke books.”

The almost 70-year-old retiree describes his work as general humor. “I want to entertain people. I don’t want to put in too much politics or preach at them. I want to get them to laugh.”

Aragón recently self-published “Spanish for Dogs,” a small volume that cheerfully explains that dogs worldwide prefer Spanish 20-1 over English. In it, Aragon offers several commands and other suggestions to help avert human-canine misunderstandings. For example, instead of telling your dog, “Let the postman deliver his mail,” you should say “No muerdes el cartero.” Or, try “Quítate tu hocico del helado” in place of “I do not need your help with the groceries.”

He borrowed a friend’s dog to test the phrases. “I shouted some of these things, and they work every time,” he said. “That’s about the best language for dogs.”

Aragón said he was inspired by the popular 1991 book “French for Cats” by Henry Beard. “I always thought, ‘Yeah, but what about dogs?’” he said.

“Spanish for Dogs” is available on Amazon and locally at Organic Books in Nob Hill.

“It’s one of the funniest little books ever,” said Organic Books co-owner Kelly Brewer. “If you know any Spanish at all, it’s hilarious.”

She said the store stocks several of Aragón’s titles. “Clyde is one of our most popular local authors,” she said. “His books sell very well.”

Brewer said his crossword puzzle books offer local flavor and added that some are bilingual. She called Aragón a good writer and “a lovely human being.”

Aragón’s prose humor has appeared in national magazines and Southwestern newspapers and magazines. He also has written for greeting cards and dabbled in short film scripts.

He has published humorous stories in the books “Tales of Delight and Shame” and “Abandon All Hope! cheerful humor for impossible days.” Aragón also wrote a detective novel — with a comic twist, of course. In “The PC Affair: A comic mystery of murder, mayhem, and data processing,” private investigator William Sullage searches for the culprit leaving a trail of dead bodies around a California computer dealer.

Aragón also has had success writing plays with many produced or winning awards. “The Translated Works of Stephen Watts Kearny and His Army of the West” premiered at the fourth annual Hispanic Playwrights Festival hosted by Fort Worth Theatre, Inc.; his radio play, “Blackbeard’s Tuna,” was recorded for KUNM-FM; his 10-minute play “Pirate Bitches of the Caribbean” premiered for the Paw Paw (Michigan) Village Players’ Short Play Contest; and his full-length comedy “Hotel De Fools” was the winner of the second annual McKinney (Texas) Repertory Theatre Play Competition.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, he used his time to collect many of his short stories in an Amazon print-on-demand book, “Behind the Electronic Iron Curtain: tales of humor and mystery.” The story titles are enticing: “The Furniture of Dorian Gray,” “The Really Hot Island of Dr. Moreau,” “The Man Who Would Invent Chile,” “Wyatt Earp’s E-Mails” and “Rebel Spaghetti,” for example.

Aragón worked in electronics and other jobs while pursuing his writing on the side. He is retired now, and the author bio on his most recent book says he “resides quietly with his laptop” in Albuquerque.

His family’s New Mexico roots go back generations. Although some of his work reflects his Hispanic and New Mexico heritage, he also has a decidedly different take on history. In one of his early stories called “the Manhattan Project,” for example, the Army decides in World War II that they are going to build a better Manhattan – in this case, a better cocktail.

Aragón also has distilled some of his wit and wisdom into “Clyde-isms” such as “If you become a nudist, you’ll have nothing to hide.”

He started writing in high school but was really hooked when he took a magazine writing class at the University of New Mexico with Lois Duncan, the author of “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

“She was the one that changed my life,” he said.

His advice now for aspiring writers is to read and learn some history. “There’s nothing I haven’t read or learned that I haven’t used,” Aragón said.

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