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I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jen Lancaster and Dave Barry: Author One-on-One

Jen Lancaster is a former vice president at an investor relations firm and a New York Times bestselling author. Her books include My Fair Lazy, Pretty in Plaid, and Bitter is the New Black. She replaced Dave Barry as writer for Humor Hotel, a nationally syndicated humor column. Jen Lancaster Read on to see Jen Lancaster's questions for Dave Barry, or turn the tables to see what he asked her.

Jen: The Pulitzer Prize looks a lot like those gold-colored one-dollar Sacagawea coins. Do you still have yours or did you accidentally use it in a parking meter?

Dave: I actually lost my Pulitzer Prize for several years. I put it in a safe place, then I forgot where that was. My wife eventually found it and put it an even safer place. But your question disturbs me, because it’s NOT a coin: It looks more like a middle-school diploma. So now I’m wondering: Is it really a Pulitzer Prize? Maybe I was the victim of an elaborate practical joke wherein Columbia University gave me a middle-school diploma and just TOLD me it was a Pulitzer. That would make sense, because (a) nobody ever really believes I won a Pulitzer, and (b) in university circles Columbia is known as a big prankster.

Jen: Does it indeed take a village?

Dave: I actually grew up in a village, specifically the village of Armonk, New York. Everybody in Armonk knew everybody else back then, which meant that if, as a high-school student, you (and here I am using “you” in the sense of “I”) experimented a tad (and here I am using “a tad” in the sense of “way”) too heavily with adult beverages one night in the fall of 1964 and passed out on a lawn that—of all the lawns you could have picked in Armonk—was the lawn belonging to Chief of Police Hergenhan, you would not be arrested; instead, Chief Hergenhan, upon discovering you drooling facedown into his crabgrass at 1:30 a.m., would call your dad to come get you, because he knew your dad, and he also knew that you would spend approximately the next two weeks retching, which was punishment enough. So I would say yes.

Jen: If X = Agent Jack Bauer and Y = shooting someone in the thigh, how many perimeters need to be set up to bring Edgar back to life?

Dave Barry Dave: It depends on how long it takes Chloe to get a visual on the satellite and upload the schematics.

Jen: Children seem to be more delicate than when we were kids. Do you advocate encasing them in Lucite until their eighteenth birthday?

Dave: These kids today don’t know how easy they have it, with their iPhones and their iPads and their atmosphere consisting of 21 percent oxygen and 78 percent nitrogen and 1 percent various other gases. When I was a youngster we didn’t have ANYTHING. We didn’t even have HAIR. We sat around naked in the cold, sucking on rocks for nourishment. But you never heard us complain, and by God we licked the Great Depression and won World War II. No, wait, that was our parents’ generation. But we faced challenges of our own. Junior year abroad, for example. That was no picnic. So you don’t even want to KNOW what I think.

Jen: Shirts or skins?

Dave: You always want to be on the skins team, because that way you’re guarding a guy on the shirts team, which means if you touch him you’re touching his shirt, which is an okay way to touch another guy (for very a brief period). If you’re on the shirts team, you have to guard a guy on the skins team, which means you might come into contact with his actual skin, which is wrong on several levels, not the least of which is that he will be oozing perspiration slime, like a giant eel with b.o. This is the main reason why guys turn to golf.

Jen: Will men use GPS or do they consider this the modern-day equivalent of stopping to ask for directions at the gas station—which is to say, an affront to their masculinity?

Dave: It’s acceptable to use a GPS because it is an incomprehensibly complex electronic device and therefore manly. But it is NOT acceptable to use the same GPS for long periods of time. Every six months or so you must buy a newer model with more features that you don’t need and a larger screen. Screen size is the important thing. Your goal is to eventually have a GPS with a screen so large that you can’t see out your windshield; when you drive you’re just looking at this humongous GPS screen. But you are still wondering, deep inside, when they’re going to come out with a bigger one.

Jen: Bret Michaels’s fans still throw their panties onstage when he performs. What do Rock Bottom Remainders groupies toss?

Dave:We have had panties thrown at us. But they were labeled “MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY 30 PEOPLE.”

(Photo of Jen Lancaster © Jeremy Lawson)
(Photo of Dave Barry © Raul Ribiera/Miami Herald)


"Despite years of medication, Dave Barry is still the funniest damn writer in the whole country. Let's hope he never grows up."
-Carl Hiaasen

"Dave Barry's best book so far, which is saying a lot."
-P.J. O'Rourke

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915650X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156502
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julie Neal VINE VOICE on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tears. They were rolling down my cheeks at the dentist's waiting room while I read this book, in a futile attempt to keep from laughing out loud. Oh how I love a new Dave Barry book.

And this material is truly new! Except for one essay, none of these pieces have been published before, which is rare for a Dave Barry book. And he is at the top of his game here, with 18 stories of what it means to be an adult.

Don't let the goofy low-rent cover fool you. Barry digs deep in this essay collection, and there is as much intelligent understanding and wisdom as humor. A couple of the essays are as touching as anything Anna Quindlen has written: The Heart of Dadness and Father of the Groom. These two moving explorations of parenthood brought on the tears again.

Barry will even make you call for a colonoscopy appointment. That's real power.

A few of my other favorite Dave Barry books:
Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need,
Dave Barry's Money Secrets: Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?,
Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States,
Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys and
Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up.

Here's the chapter list:

Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Full Disclosure: I am Dave's "sometimes writing partner" of the Starcatchers series. But, because of this, I'm one of Dave's (only) critics!

As a longtime Dave Barry fan, I feel like there's a hole in my Sunday newspaper. Like the kids got the scissors and cut out the most important part before I started reading: Dave's column.

It's back! I'll Mature When I'm Dead is as if an editor has taken two dozen columns THAT YOU'VE NEVER READ (columns that are TWICE AS LONG as those ever published in newspapers) and put them in one place for you. It's a treasure!

There is no need to recommend the pieces. Not if you've ever read Dave. Does he ever disappoint? I don't think so. You laugh, you groan, and you wince as he touches the truths of our everyday lives in ways we wish he wouldn't. There are dog stories, writing stories and even a vampire story parody. It's the best collection of his work, ever. And it's all new.

Simply put: NO ONE DOES IT BETTER. You will reread this book many times, and leave it someplace handy in order to do just that. It's that good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disclosure: I am a huge Dave Barry fan, and have been since the 80s.

I'll admit many of his past books have been essentially reprints of his newspaper articles. This book is different. It is fresh and full of new humor. I've read a good portion of his past work, and didn't recognize any of it as being repeated here. It also feels a bit longer than his past books.

Dave's observations of the world around him are always funny. Laugh out loud funny. I wouldn't buy this for reading on the subway or anywhere else where people will look at you funny when you randomly burst out laughing.

I'm not sure what else to say about this book. It is as funny as Dave has ever been and it is totally new and fresh material.

I loved it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a new book - hooray!, only two recycled columns - by Barry that touches upon everything from children to sex to politics and Obama. And, of course, a lot of material about Miami is included too. The essays/columns are about 3-4 pages each and the material is just as fun as always. I enjoyed Barry's take on various things - technology, for one, and the opening columns - about the differences between men and women - was one of his best yet. He has a funny take on everyday things, but really shines when he's talking about men/women and modern technology. He also has a column in here that is an ode to newspapers - it was more poignant than funny, and gave some real insight into how his job used to be and what it has morphed into now. If you're a fan, you'll enjoy this, but if you're new to Dave Barry, try some of his older columns/books first.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Dave is charming and intelligent in this book. His first chapter might better have gone in to the book "Dave Barry is from Mars and Venus" because it's so spot on about relationships. But then he decries that he's not a "screenplay" writer - "they make more money per page" - and goes on to prove it for at least half the book with chapter one, chapter two, chapter three of some forgetable stories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have bought this more than once as a gift. It is hysterically funny, as Dave Barry talks about the ups and downs of middle age, and not wanting to admit that we are getting older. Really a lighthearted, good laugh. I made the mistake of reading it on an airplane, and laughed myself silly when I should have been quiet. So...don't take it on a plane, but do enjoy it at home! It is easy to read a chapter, and put it down, since each chapter stands alone as a funny anecdote or idea.
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