Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boogers Are My Beat

To you taxpayers out there, let me say this: Make sure you file your tax return on time! And remember that, even though income taxes can be a “pain in the neck,” the folks at the IRS are regular people just like you, except that they can destroy your life. ~Dave Barry

Drove to Minneapolis yesterday afternoon to spend the night with friends in order to meet my son at the airport in the a.m. It's always good to see old friends. And to see new ones as well. Where would we be without family and friends.

So, as is my custom I stopped at the library to select a book to listen to on the drive down, and in my usual indecisive way (when it comes to these kinds of things) I settled on four. One was a book of baseball stories that I'd already read, but immensely enjoyed. The second was a book about baseball co-authored by Ken Burns, producer of the PBS series that was so rich with trivia and baseball lore. The third was a sci fi collection of stories. Growing up I'd been big into sci-fi, influenced chiefly by my grandmother who had endless volumes of Asimov and the other greats through the past mid-century. Some of her books -- Planet of the Apes, Andromeda Strain, I Robot and others -- I'd read before they were ever even considered for the silver screen.

But the book I ultimately selected, once I'd started the engine and pulled out of the driveway, was Dave Barry's Boogers Are My Beat. A quick Google search shows that I have not written anything about this book yet other than to list it on a page of recommended readings at my original website.

For those who don't know, Dave Barry is a Pulitzer-Prize winning humor writer and columnist for the Miami Herald. I've lost track of how many books he's written as well as how many of his books I've read, in part because I sometimes read the same books over again. Yes, I'm one of those. I've read A River Runs Through It five times, for example, a feat that is easier to do when the book is short, naturally.

Boogers Are My Beat is likewise probably a shorter book, though you can't always tell with audio books. For sure it's much shorter than the Elvis bio I listened to, comprised of 47 or 48 cassettes. (That may have been Part 1.) The theme of Boogers at the outset is American politics. The first section of the book is a collection of columns dealing with the Bush-Gore campaign and election. As many people have long observed, from Twain and Mencken to Leno and Conan, politics offers an endless supply of material for humorists.

No question the GOP debates have helped a lot of late night show writers keep their jobs. If you can't find humor in this year's campaign, you're just a tad bit too serious. Both parties, though, generate plenty of material for humorists.

By changing some of the names, Boogers Are My Beat could be just as easily re-published to cover the current election year events. Take this excerpt, for example, about "Obama's $3,000-a-plate dinners to raise money to create TV spots portraying Republicans as the party of the rich." (The current Dem incumbent here was my insertion into Mr. Barry's sage observation.)

What's funny with this book so far is that despite the title he has yet to mention "boogers" even once. I remember one of his columns talking about how to write funny in which he remarked that whenever you can't think of something funny, just insert the word boogers and people will think it is humorous. I'm pretty sure he said that somewhere. He's certainly done it enough times.

In the meantime, as a cheap means of keeping you interested in my own columns, I will soon be talking about full frontal nudity. Specifically, my own. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll title it Indecent Exposure. What do ya think?

Enjoy the day. And the rest of your weekend, too.

If interested you can read my comments on
Dave Barry Does Japan here.

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