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Iowa Nice: Genial Jokes for a Gentle People Paperback – February 10, 2011
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Q: How does a diner know when he has over-tipped an Iowa waitress?
A: She chases him down the street waving money.
A quick joke sure to get a chuckle. But face it, there's a grain of truth in there, too.
Retired Florida newspaper columnist Ron Wiggins has found the people of Iowa so honest and so virtuous that he dedicated a whole joke book -- "Iowa Nice -- Genial Jokes for a Gentle People" --that takes soft jabs at what we proudly call our Midwestern values.
"Iowans are so unassuming they won't assume a 4 percent mortgage unless the bank throws in a toaster."
It's a funny observation by a Florida native who has no ties to the state and has visited here just three times. So what's the attraction?
"I just got tickled at the idea that some people truly exemplify American values, and that's Iowa," Wiggins said. His fascination started in 1979, when President Jimmy Carter was running for re-election. Wiggins saw a headline that read "Iowans excited by Jimmy Carter." The story led him to write a good-natured humorous column about what excites Iowans. The column was a hit with former Iowans living in Florida and was picked up by Iowa media.
Over the years, Wiggins wrote five or six more columns about how nice Iowans are. For example, a story about a study that ranked Iowa as the most stress-free state led to the following quip: "Iowans are so unstressed, that to take blood pressure doctors consult tide tables."
In the spirit of Iowans' niceness, Wiggins keeps the jokes positive. During his 33 years as a Palm Beach Post columnist, Wiggins said he tried to focus on positive stories. The same goes for the book's jokes, many of which Wiggins wrote himself.
"I don't like put-down humor. As long as it was good-natured joshing, I thought it was OK," he said. Because we're so unassuming, we must ask again. Why Iowa? Wiggins said he just appreciates the values many of us take for granted.
"If you knew you were a little better than everyone else, we couldn't stand you. But you don't know it," he said. "I feel like I'm in touch with middle-American values. You have them, just with frostbite."
It's harmless humor with which many Iowans, heck, many Midwesterners, can identify. Wiggins touches on common traits that make Midwesterners what we are.
"It's fun to take a particular state that has these virtues and see if we can make a joke out of it," Wiggins said.
Copyright 2011 Sioux City Journal. -- Sioux City Journal 7 August 2011 Sioux City Journal 7 August 2011 Here are links to the three newspapers reviews of Iowa Nice. Sioux City Journal 7 August 2011: siouxcityjournal.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/article_f4ccb9a3-f45c-51ef-a217-da2094a996d9.html Quad City Times 2 August 2011: qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/article_6ce47e96-bcbe-11e0-94ff-001cc4c03286.html LeMars Daily Sentinel 17 June 2011: www.lemarssentinel.com/story/1737197.html Ron, Here are links to the three newspapers reviews of Iowa Nice. Sioux City Journal 7 August 2011: www.siouxcityjournal.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/article_f4ccb9a3-f45c-51ef-a217-da2094a996d9.html Quad City Times 2 August 2011: qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/article_6ce47e96-bcbe-11e0-94ff-001cc4c03286.html LeMars Daily Sentinel 17 June 2011: www.lemarssentinel.com/story/1737197.html
Top customer reviews
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So when I saw this book at Barnes and Noble, I leapt on it. On a random page the first thing I read was: "Most of the people who wonder what ever happened to Tab Hunter live in Iowa."
My companion wanted to know what I was reading that would so contort my features.
"A book of Iowa jokes," I said, gasping.
"No, really," she said.
I handed it to her and she began to read the author's note on the back cover.
"He says he's stereotyping Iowans, but it's a good kind of stereotyping," she said. "He hopes they won't be offended."
I say to heck with Iowans, it's Tab Hunter I'm worried about.
This book is perfect throne-side reading. It would also be a great gift item for anyone in your life whose idea of swearing is "darn tootin."
It's 100 percent Wiggins, ie. hilarious, and if some Iowans find their feathers ruffled, they should just put down the chicken.
If it weren't for Wiggins, they wouldn't get any attention at all.