by Dave Barry, Crown Publishers, 0-517-58546-4
[p127] People often become deranged by pets. Derangement is the
only possible explanation for owning a cat, an animial whose
preferred mode of communication is to sink its claws three-quarters
of an inch into your flesh.
[p147] The taxpayers also cannot be relied upon to support
performing arts usch as opera. As a taxpayer, I am forced to admit I
would rather undergo a vasectomy via a Weed Whacker that attend an
[p167] The First Rule of Car Buying is one that I learned long
ago from my father, namely: Never buy any car that my father would
buy. [...] For example, my father was one of a very few Americans who
bought he Hillman Minx, a wart-shaped British car with the same
rakish, sporty appeal as a municipal parking garage but not as much
pickup. Our minx also had a Surprise Option Feature whereby the
steering mechanism would disconnect itself at random moments, so
you'd suddenly discover that you could spin the weheel all the way
around in a playful circle without having any effect whatsoever on
the front wheels. Ha ha! You can imagine how I felt, as an insecure
16-year-old with skin capable of going from All-Clear Status to Fully
Mature Zit in seconds, arriving at the big high school pep rally
dance, where all the coll guys had their Thunderbirds and their GTOs
with their giant engines and 23 carburetors, and there I was, at the
wheel of: the Hillman Minx. A car so technologically backward that
the radio was still receiving Winston Churchill speeches.
[p175] [Dave Barry appearing in night court for a traffic
violation.] Only there was no judge. They herded us traffic
violators into a courtroom with flags and a judge's bench and
everything, but instead of an actual human, they had a judge
on videotape. Really. I could have just stayed home and rented
the American system of justice.
[p184] Some of you [alert readers] had excellent ideas for
increasing government revenue, such as:[...]
o "Fine people $50,000 for each unnecessary education-related letter
attached at the end of their names. For example, 'Robert H.
Monotone, B.A., M.B.A., Ph.D.' would be fined $400,000 annually."
[p208] Ultimately, however, anger benefits nobody. If you keep it
bottled up inside, it eats away at you, until eventually you turn
into a bitter, spiteful, hate-ridden person working in Customer
[p257] One of the gerat benefits of living in America is that,
regardless of your race or religion or hygiene habits, you are
entitled to have a credit rating maintained by large corporations
with powerful computers that know everything about you. For
example, let's say that this morning you deposity your paycheck at
the bank, made a phone call, wrote a check for your electric bill,
and charged some gasoline with your credit card. By this afternoon,
thanks to high-speed laser fiber-optic data transmission, the
computers will know every sexual-fantasy you had while you were
doing these things. And don't think they keep to themselves, either.
They go to computer parties, they have a few too many diskettes, and
the next thing you know they're revealing your intimate secrets at a
rate of four billion per second.
That's why I was so excited about this offer from my credit-card
company to sell me the TRW CREDENTIALS service. TRW is a large
company that collects credit information about people and sells it.
According to the TRW CREDENTIALS offer, if I give theme $20 a year,
they'll let me see my information.[...]
In other words--correct me if I am wrong here--they're telling me
that I should give them $20 a year so I can look at the information
ABOUT ME that they have collected WITHOUT MY PERMISSION and have been
selling for years to GOD ALONE KNOWS WHO so I can see if it's
Which it very well could be. Because even with computers, things
sometimes go wrong. I know you find this hard to believe, inasmuch
as we live in such a competent nation, a nation capable of producing
technological wonders such as the Hubble Orbiting Space Telescope,
the only orbiting telescope in the universe equipeed with dark
glasses and a cane. But sometimes mistakes do get made, and they
could affect your credit.[...]
However, I don't like to do business with an outfit unless I know
something about it. So I've decided to develop a file on TRW. I'd
certainly appreciate anything you can contribute. But I don't want
any wild speculative unfounded rumers, such as:
o TRW is the world's largest distributor of hard-core pornography.
o TRW has destroyed two-thirds of the Earth's ozone layer.
o TRW is a satanic vampire cult headed by the love chiled of Jim
Bakker and Leana Helmsley.
There is no need to run the rist that absurd statements such as
these might get into print. In fact, it would probably be a wised
idea for TRW to examine my file, from time to time, just to make sure
nothing inaccurate appeared in there.
I'm sure we can work something out.