A Barry Good Time
Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States by Dave Barry
When it all gets a bit heavy, I turn in earnest to humor. A good dose everyday is a healthy habit, I think, but I am selective. Much of what passes for funny today involves teenagers-this seems to be trending upward in age now-with a selfie stick shooting a video for Youtube. Now, I am all for the operation of Darwinian principles with respect to youngsters surfing among sharks, or swimming close to lava flows, or climbing around the tops of unfinished buildings in China, but when I really want to laugh out loud, I read some Wodehouse, P.J. O’Rourke, or Dave Barry. There are many others of course, but these are a sure bet.
Dave Barry has been a newspaper columnist, novelist, humorist and all around observational troublemaker. Barry has written enough that just about anyone can find something to laugh at. And since he takes aim at everyone more or less equally, you rather joyfully have a skin-thickening experience. And if you want an interesting twist on the old crime story, read Barry’s collaboration with other Florida writers called Naked Came the Manatee. It is funny and suspenseful and wacky. The most interesting aspect, after Barry’s leadoff chapter, is how each subsequent writer deals with the loose ends and bizarre storylines. I first read it years ago when a good friend of mine pushed it on me. It didn’t sound like my thing, but I can’t stop telling people to pick it up. The same is true with anything by Dave Barry.
“We constantly see surveys that reveal this ignorance, especially among our high school students, 78 percent of whom, in a recent nationwide multiple-choice test, identified Abraham Lincoln as ‘a kind of lobster.’ That’s right: more than three quarters of our nation’s youth could not correctly identify the man who invented the telephone.”