December 30, 2012

I'll Mature When I'm Dead by Dave Barry

This hilarious book deserves at least a passing mention here. I used to read everything I could get my hands on by Dave Barry, then after a while it seemed as though he was recycling the same old kinds of jokes, just with different topics or characters. Sample joke: "What would you say if I told you that, since the year 2000, [Miami's] overall rate of violent crime is down 17.3 percent and crime against tourists is down by 36.8 percent. If you would say, 'You are totally making these numbers up,' you would be correct. But I'm pretty sure things are better." Sample joke #2 (based on his favourite technique, exaggeration): his wife, a typical woman according to him, gives "gifts and/or thoughtful cards for virtually every occasion including the onset of daylight saving time."

We saw Dave Barry live a few years ago in Florida, and we did thoroughly enjoy the evening, but I had that seem feeling - that I'd heard most of it before. Barry has always been heavy on bathroom, sex and nose-picking jokes; these were all featured in the standup routine too, and this apparently hasn't changed, hence the title of this 2010 book.

 But the book has some pretty original stuff in it. It's a series of chapters that don't really hang together, including a hilarious young adult melodrama ("Stewart and Sven moved their heads vertically up and down in nods of agreement"), and the story of how he tried to write a screenplay about mutant chickens with a friend (and notes from that effort: "Mark notices there are chickens in the street, giving him the eye."). To me the funniest chapter was the first one, on the well-worn topic of the differences between men and women. My favourite sentence: "A typical woman's brain is swarming, night and day, with vague feelings of guilt caused by the nagging worry that somebody, somewhere in her vast complex network of family and friends needs more nurturing."

Good for a giggle and a even few guffaws if you're nimble enough to skip the off-colour parts.

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