Saturday, November 17, 2007

Used Books Part 2

The reason I wrote about used books last week was because I felt guilty about buying a great one. I love to get a good deal, but there are limits. For example, if I found an elderly widow selling “an old clunker” that her husband left her and I knew it was actually a valuable antique, I don’t know how good I would feel “hauling it away for her” after paying her only the $100 she was asking.

Some might argue with me, others might relish the good deal, some might slip her an extra C-note to ease their conscience, but I wouldn’t feel good about it, no matter what.

That’s sort of how I feel now because I bought an old book by humorist Dave Barry and paid only ONE DOLLAR!

Now, I know that $1 is about the going rate for used books, and actually might be a little bit high since this was a soft cover book. When you figure that the book was published in the early 1990s and had a cover price of only $4.95 you would think my conscious would be clear.

But Dave Barry is such an amazing writer. He has an amazing gift and I simply can’t read his stuff without laughing out loud. So anytime I see his books at a used sale I grab them up. If I already have a copy of the book, I give the second copy to a friend. Everyone like to laugh and Dave’s articles are short enough that even those who don’t read as much as I do can still get through one of his books without too much commitment.

In fact (and I’m sure Dave would beam with pride if he ever knew I said this) Dave Barry’s books are the PERFECT reading material to set on the back of the toilet. Each little article only takes about a minute or two to read. You get a good laugh and by that time you are ready to move on anyway.

I read Dave Barry and I study his words. I think to myself, Now how in the world can he say something so simple and make me laugh out loud? What are the tools that he uses? What pattern or repetitive technique does he use to so consistently produce great humor?

I haven’t unlocked the secret yet. But I don’t mind continuing the research.

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