BookNotes: Bad Habits
By Dave Barry, Owl Books, 1987, 0-8050-0254-5
[p51] Here it is again, income tax time, and I imagine many of you readers, especially the ones with smaller brains, are eagerly awaiting my annual tax-advice column. Those of you who were fortunate enough to read last year’s column no doubt recall that I advised you to cheat, on the grounds that by reducing the amount of money you gave the government, you’d be supporting President Reagan in his program to reduce government spending.
[p74] The important thing isn’t so much what you want to ban; it’s the fact that you participate in the banning process. That’s what democracy is all about.
[p75] [Talking about Coke’s “I’d like to teach the word to sing” ad campaign.] And native Earth people, at least the ones I know, see no connection whatsoever between Coca-Cola and world harmony. In fact, I’m willing to bet statistics would show that Coca-Cola sales and world tension have both been increasing steadily for the past thirty years or so.
[p81] What we are in is a recession. The key economic indicator of a recession is that government economists go around announcing that the economy is improving. The truth, of course, is that government economists don’t have the slightest notion what the economy is doing; if they did, they would have decent jobs.
[p80] Government economists are always hopeful, for two reasons:
- They have jobs.
- If they aren’t hopeful, the President will fire them.
[p103] You have two kinds of cold victims: your nose blowers and your snorters. For overall ability to make you want to walk out of restaurants, I’d have to give the edge to the nose blowers.
[p122] [DENTISTS SELF-DRILLED is funny as a hole.] [p123] Answer me this: A cavity is a hole in your teeth, right? So if the dentist is so upset about this hole in your teeth, why does he spend so much time making it bigger? Huh? […] Flossing dose not come naturally to human beings. If the Good Lord had wanted us to floss our teeth, He would have given us less self-respect.
[p208] You can also defend yourself with guns. The U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot stop you from owning a gun. The courts have interpreted this to mean that the government can stop you from owning a gun, so you’d better check your local lows before you buy one.
[p209] The only difference between whales and humans is that whales mate for life.
[p224] In the frontier days, our legal system was very simple: if you broke a law, armed men would chase you and beat you up or throw you in jail or hang you; in extreme cases, they would hang you, then beat you up in jail. So everybody obeyed the law, which was easy to do, because basically therewere only two laws: o No assaulting people o No stealing
This primitive legal system was so simple that even the public understood it. […] The trouble with this system was that it had no room for lawyers. If a lawyer had appeared in a frontier courtroom and started tossing around terms such as “habeas corpus,” he would have been shot.
So lawyers, for want of of anything better to do, formed legislatures, which are basically organizations that meet from time to time to invent new laws. Before long, they country had scads of laws–laws governing the watring of laws, laws governing the spaying of dogs, laws governing the production and sale of fudge, and so on–and today nobody has the slightest idea what is legal and what is not. This has led to an enormous demand for lawyers. Lawyers don’t understand the legal system any better than the rest of us do, but they are willing to talk about it in an impressive manner for large sums of money.