Warning: Graphic review ahead. Reader discretion advised for profanity. (I have always wanted to say that!)
Fellow blogger Vaishnavi said in a recent comment that she laughs easily. I would add Birdy to that too, it doesn't take much to make her laugh. Well gals! If you ever pick up Shi*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern, then I recommend that you arm yourself with a bucket of popcorn and a bunch of tissues to stop the tears that will be streaming down your face in sheer unadulterated laughter! I smiled throughout this book! I chuckled! And I laughed out aloud in places...well, a lot of places actually. And this after an annoying and irritating day when I had to do a colleague's work simply because Work From Home is interpreted as Work Free Hours. Shi*t My Dad Says is one of the funniest memoirs I have ever come across, and that is fucking saying something. (Excuse my language, but you will understand, it's my own tribute to Sam Halpern, this wonderful Dad who Justin says early in the book has always been a 'blunt individual.') Sigh. Sometimes I am so blunt that I can't slice butter.
"Now, as an adult, all day long I dealt with people - friends, coworkers, relatives - who never really said what they were thinking. The more time I spent with my dad in those first couple months back home, the more grateful I started to feel for the mixture of honesty and insanity that characterized his comments and personality."
Amen to that!! So Justin becomes a stay-at-home-son after a breakup with his girlfriend while in his ripe twenties, and that prompts him to recollect his Dad's manic (to my ears, the most sensible) outpourings. In this world of political correctness, Sam is a breath of minty fresh air. Screw what the rest of the world thinks!! Life is an asshole and you have to watch the shit that comes out of that hole. I remember when I was rooming with Birdy in China and she happened to fall ill. Now, I hate coughs. And colds. And fevers. And people who shiver in bed all day with them. So Birdy spent a few days sniffling, sniffing and generally behaving like she was down with fucking tuberculosis and pneumonia. "Just because you are fucking lying in bed doesn't mean you can't haul your ass up here and chop these damn potatoes," I shouted at her while I tried to cook dinner. Poor thing. She didn't get the love and care ever from me, but you know she chopped the damn potatoes so well that they cured her of her imaginary tuberculosis.
"A three year old doesn't have a license to act like an asshole."
Sam, Sam, please! I so loved this chapter when Sam teaches an irritating three-year old to just stop being an annoying asshole. How often I have wanted to say that! How scandalized all our lovey-dovey parents would be! Usually, I am met with a mixture of condescension and derision from the married and maternal class. "Oh! You get married, then you will know what it is like!" or "You don't have a kid. When you have one you will know," as if I am supposed to be missing the most divine enlightenment of life, and that this 'knowing' would transcend my poor pitiful status into one of glorious fulfillment! Good fucking heavens I think to myself. Fulfillment doesn't come in cleaning your father's shit, or husband's shit or your baby's fucking soiled diapers. Fulfillment is when you are tottering at 85, wearing an adult diaper, and realizing that the only fucking shit you should ever have had to clean was your own. Why do you think the Buddha had to leave his family to reach nirvana? But no! "What do you know! You are not a wife or a mother!" And imagine if you introduce the world's best gynecologist, who happens to be male, to these same annoying types, brimming with the shared circle of motherhood, and they recite shared tales of menstruation and menopause and every single thing that can happen in that goddamned womb, and that poor male gynecologist nods and makes the fatal mistake of saying "I know," while writing down the prescription. Imagine the hell! "What do you know you fool!! Your fucking testosterone-fueled body has never had things crawling out a damn hole!" See the point? I take such people to the forest, and see a tiger and warn them it might bite, they might say "So what do you know! Have you ever been bitten by a tiger?!"
So it was with immense pleasure I read exactly how Sam brings a badly behaving three-year old to its tender knees. Absolutely. Being a kid doesn't mean you have the right to act like an asshole. If the fucking kid is running around the damn Hilton, taking food from other people's plates, and screaming for the sheer joy of screaming, and the indulgent parents look at the kid and mouth 'Ain't he so cute?! How well he screams!" you have to grit your teeth and smile at the fucking kid behaving like an asshole when all you want to do is shove his diaper inside his mouth. I wish I can be as blunt as Sam. Or rather I was till I was told to cut the crap, the sarcasm, and tell things gently. I try. I honestly do. But you know, I really can't pat you on the back, and count all the ways in which you are foolish, and wrap an arm around your shoulders and heave you through the sheer misery of being a fucking fool. If you are being a fucking fool, there is just one way to say that. And that's always got me into trouble. Ah well, maybe someone might one day say "sh*t this fucking SoulMuser says..." and I might be plucked from obscurity and into the lap of that goddamned fulfillment!
Verdict: Are you fucking kidding me? Read it!