Now that it’s December I could start right in making fun of the crass materialism of the holidays – OR I could offer for your reading delight a series of lovely books with nice large print and free shipping ha ha!
This odd purply-looking book is the first one I ever wrote and is funny in the way all books are funny that have in them small children saying embarrassing things. I called it I Thought He Was a Speed Bump because all 50 of its chapters revolve around the fact that we rush so much in life we don’t notice what we’re running past. Or through. Or over.
I also called it that because that’s the exact answer the two-and-a-half year-old next door made when questioned about WHY, two times in a row, he climbed on his tricycle and ran right over his little friend’s tummy.
The best fun with this book was deciding on the copy for the back of it which appears below. Once an angry reader said of my column, which has always appeared with my picture, that my teeth looked false, my hair was out of style and my eyes were beady. I just had to put that on the cover; it was such a good comeuppance for the mighty amounts of showing off I had done in the by-then dozen years I had been writing a weekly column.
As you can see, John Updike once said something about my writing too so I put that there as well. There can be no doubt that short phrase is what got the book noticed and reviewed and bought by public libraries and schools all over the country. Maybe it’s a painless way to reach the sort first-person essay.
All I know is I loved looking back through all my old columns to choose the 50 best, based not only on my own assessment but also on the amount of mail each one had generated.
And I boy did I get a kick out of making up the titles for each short chapter, as well as names for each of the book’s five sections. The section about learning stuff, for example, is called “Thy Kingdom Come I Will Be Dumb,” what one of my kids somberly intoned at age four while trying to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
In the section called “When Will Dad Become a Woman?” these are some of the chapter headings:
- Nine Months Later it Turns Into You
- Boy, Oh Boy
- Perfume-Giving Ken
- I’m Not Naked (I’m Wearing My Penis)
- Pod People from the Planet Destructo
- Smoke ’em If You Got ’em
- Bum Bum!
- Nothing But Gonads and a Grin
Gosh it was a fun book to write, and it’s still a fun book to read. The best letter I got was when a lady wrote in to say she laughed so hard reading one of its stories the coffee she was drinking shot out her nose and across the kitchen table. High praise!
So if you’d to have like a copy or two for holiday gift-giving just go here for the form. The very day your check comes to my PO Box, I’ll hurry over to my ‘warehouse,’ crack open a fresh case of Speed Bumps and send however many you would like, for just $10 each, shipping included.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow I’ll tell about the next book I did, which is also fun but with a little crying in it too. For now though, here’s a very small taste of one story (click on it to make it readable.) Maybe it will make you smile – hope so!