Dave Barry, You Weasel!

Edited For Content

By staff writer Mike Forest

January 5, 2005


It was a sad day for me when I read that one of my favorite humor writers of all time is taking a year off.

I grew up reading the likes of Erma Bombeck, Lewis Grizzard, (shudder) Tim Allen and whoever else wrote something I could get my hands on. I devoured comedy. I left the
wrapper on and just bit the shit out of it. I learned the pleasures of letting metaphors “get out of hand” and that there’s no “previously agreed
upon safety word” when mixing. Extending them to the very end when they finally fizzle, roll over and go to sleep.


One writer stood out as my favorite. I don’t know how tall he is, but if he stood on a chair, he’d probably be taller than all those other guys. I think I read
just about everything he has written. That man was/is Dave Barry.

It wasn’t that I identified with tales of Florida life, his stupid dogs or even his kids. I live in Michigan, I’m a cat person and I don’t know who my
kids are…or for that matter who their mothers are.

This was the man who taught us that “weasel” is a funny word. Put weasel in a sentence and it makes anything comical. Judge for yourself:

A) 155,000 people are dead after a tsunami crushed their shores.
B) 155,000 people are dead after 75 million gallons of weasels crushed their shores.

A) Protesters holding signs marched on Washington.
B) Weasels holding protesters marched on Washington.

A) Every morning I have a fresh cup of coffee.
B) Every morning I have a fresh cup of weasel.

Clearly “B” is the better choice in these weasels, umm, examples.

This was the man who gave shitty garage bands everywhere hope. He is a member of the group Rock Bottom Remainders, made up of other authors including Mitch Albom, Matt
Groening, Stephen King and Amy Tan (motto: we kind of have day jobs too). Their success both here and on their native planets is hope that even my old band in high school,
“Sons of the Most High,” (not the way you’re thinking) could get back together.

Throughout the years Barry also compiled a list of possible names for rock bands, thus ending the dreaded “Dude, what are we going to call ourselves”
conversation. Here are some of my favs:

The Cotton-Eating Moths of Australia
The Fecal Pellets
Pinot Noir and his Nuances of Toast
The Flaming Croutons
Raymond Burr's Legs (fav)
Shark Puke
Violently Fracturing Water Closets
Drastic Toilet Air
Combat Alfalfa
Hearty Polyp Chuckles

Dave, where will we be without you to warn us of the dangers of exploding toilets? If you stop writing, the terrorists win. Perhaps you need
time to plan your next run at the Presidency. I’d vote for you. You sure as hell can’t do much worse.

As a man, I will miss your deep insight into our male psyche (sex, beer, repeat). As an American I will miss your shrewd explanations of US tax code. What happens if I
check “other” as my nationality? (Instant audit and/or death…by weasels) But as an English major, what I will miss most are your helpful “Ask Mr.
Language Person” columns.

Q) When is it appropriate to use gerunds?
A) Using gerunds is never appropriate. Only when both are in a mutual agreement and the gerund is over 18 may they be considered fair game.

Q) When is it OK to use a metaphor?
A) Metaphors are dirty little whores and are meant to be used and discarded at your leisure. Just make sure they don’t give you an aural disease.

Q) If I were to say that a conversation was “depreciable,” what would that mean?
A) Yes.

If you leave us for awhile, oh Dave, what do you expect your alert readers to do? Where will they send their funny headlines? Leno? For shame! Nobody likes Leno! It's that
new Scottish guy who kicks ass now.

Without your yearly gift guide how would I even know about the “Inflate-A-Potty”? My mother simply loves the one I bought for her.

Without your “Year in Review,” I’d have to pay attention to know what is going on. I don’t have TIME for that. I’m too busy being
irresponsible as much as I can before I have to join the real

One of my ex-roommates was one of the nine people who lived in North Dakota and he’ll probably miss you even more than me because if you hadn’t kept reminding
the rest of the nation about them, we would have forgotten to count their votes this year.

But with heavy heart I must say that I understand. After all, this is the land of the home and the brave of the free.*

Hope to read more of you in a year, Mr. Barry. In my opinion you’re only a “little bit” less funny than when you went all Hollywood. Personally, I plan
on selling out as soon as I get some talent.

*Unless you wear a towel on your head. Seriously, Tom Ridge busted in my door just because my girlfriend had her hair up
turban-like, you know, post-shower. It scared the shit out of me.

The story above is false. Like anyone would date me…pshaw.

It was a hooker.