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Dave Barry offers some new takes on adulthood in 'I'll Mature'

| Sunday, May 9, 2010

After two dozen books that offer his peculiar take on things like marriage, travel and turning 50, fans know what to expect from Dave Barry: joke-packed prose and one-liners -- basically standup comedy on a page. Yes, it's funny, and often very funny. And "I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood" continues that tradition.

Here's a proposed tourism slogan: "Come back to Miami! We weren't shooting at you ." If there were no alcohol, Barry opines, "there would be no straight white men dancing at weddings. There would also be no such sports as 'luge."'

He mentions "American Idol" contestants who got booted early on and blame Simon Cowell's disposition rather than the fact that "their singing sounds like a bull being castrated with a hockey stick."

And he suggests putting New Yorkers in the Everglades to end an infestation of Burmese pythons. The snakes would either flee all their constant complaining or eat them. "Either way is fine with me," Barry concludes.

The book presents 18 essays on topics like dance recitals, the health-care crisis, youth sports (a "festival of grimness"), the TV show "24" and being the father of the bride. It's new material, except for a reprint of his 2008 newspaper column on getting a colonoscopy. That piece was "one of those rare instances when I wrote something with an actual point," which was to urge people to get the test.

But he isn't serious for long in these essays, which are longer than the columns he used to write in the Miami Herald. The added length, he says, gave him a chance to stretch artistically: "to go beyond simply writing a few booger jokes on a given topic and instead write literally dozens of booger jokes on a given topic."

Luckily, his comedic repertoire is wider than that. And it's still delightful to read.

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