Excerpt from Dave Barry Turns 50 by Dave Barry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Dave Barry Turns 50

by Dave Barry

Dave Barry Turns 50
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  • First Published:
    Oct 1998, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 1999, 255 pages

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Eventually I had to break down and buy those reading glasses that are cut low so you can peer over the top. The first time you put on a pair of those is a major milestone in your life. Because there is no question about it: This is the start of your Senior Citizenship. The transformation is comparable to the one Clark Kent goes through: He takes off his glasses and becomes Superman; you put on your reading glasses and become . . . Old Person.

You find that with your reading glasses on you behave differently. You become crotchety and easily irritated by little things, such as when the supermarket runs out of your preferred brand of low-fat, low-sodium, vitamin-fortified, calcium-enriched, high-fiber, non-meat "breakfast links" made from tofu and compressed cardboard. You become angry at the radio because it keeps playing songs you hate, which is a LOT of songs, because you basically hate every song written since the Beatles broke up, and you're sick of the Beatles, too, because you've heard every one of their songs 900 million times on "oldies" radio, which is all you've listened to for over twenty years. You feel that everybody except you drives too fast. You think of people under the age of 30 as "whippersnappers," and you get the urge to peer over your glasses at them and tell them how tough things were during the Great Depression, even though you personally were born in 1947. Sometimes you are tempted to say, "Con-SARN it!"

So, to avoid transforming into Old Person, you tend to wear your reading glasses as little as possible. You lose them. You go out without them. The result is, much of the time, you can't read anything printed in letters smaller than Marlon Brando.

But what I've discovered-this is the positive aspect of aging that I've been driving at-is that very often not being able to read is a good thing. For example, without my reading glasses, the only part of the newspaper I can read is the headlines, so my front page looks like this:


FIGHTING ERUPTS YET AGAIN IN MIDDLE EAST

Historic Peace Accord No. 2,965,978 Goes Down the Crapper

This doesn't say anything. This is just a bunch of words I wrote here to make it look like there's a story under the headline. If you have gone to the trouble of blowing this up so that you can read it, let me just say: Congratulations, you have even more spare time than I do, which is saying a LOT.

But seriously, I really have absolutely nothing to tell you here, unless you want me to solve some mysteries that have totally baffled the human race, such as what is the true meaning of life, and whether there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and which, really, is the best long-distance carrier for you. Would you like me to tell you those things? You would? OK! I will, then! But first I want to tell you exactly who was responsible for the Kennedy assassination. Ready? Here goes: The Kennedy assassination was committed by

This doesn't say anything. This is just a bunch of words I wrote here to make it look like there's a story under the headline. If you have gone to the trouble of blowing this up so that you can read it, let me just say: Congratulations, you have even more spare time than I do, which is saying a LOT.

But seriously, I really have absolutely nothing to tell you here, unless you want me to solve some mysteries that have totally baffled the human race, such as what is the true meaning of life, and whether there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and which, really, is the best long-distance carrier for you. Would you like me to tell you those things? You would? OK! I will, then! But first I want to tell you exactly who was responsible for the Kennedy assassination. Ready? Here goes: The Kennedy assassination was committed by

This doesn't say anything. This is just a bunch of words I wrote here to make it look like there's a story under the headline. If you have gone to the trouble of blowing this up so that you can read it, let me just say: Congratulations, you have even more spare time than I do, which is saying a LOT.

From Dave Barry Turns 50 by Dave Barry. Copyright October 1998 Dave Barry Used by permission.

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