Saturday, July 1, 2017

Review of "Dad is Fat" by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan is a comedian, actor, and author. Jim and his wife Jeannie have five small children, and raising them is a challenge. It's also a rich source of humor, which Jim shares in this book. Jim and his family live in a two-bedroom apartment on the 5th floor of a New York City walk-up (no elevator). So Jim would really like you to buy this book so he can afford to move to a bigger place. LOL

Many of the observations in this book come from Jim's comedy specials, so if you've seen those, you're familiar with his humor - which is clean and family friendly. Jim talks and writes a lot about his children and explains: "My blurbs about my children.....are meant to be funny, silly, and hopefully insightful. I enjoy finding the humor in parenting."

Rather than a traditional review I'll give some examples of Jim's stories. Just picture the comic saying this stuff.....

- Having five children has really made me appreciate the more important things in life: the sublime state of being alone. Of course now I'm never alone.

- I have children like I have male pattern baldness; it's an incurable condition. Symptoms include: constant fatigue, inability to sleep, and of course extreme sleep disruption.

- When I was single I was a loner by choice....the thought of a roommate to a single me was absurd. Now I have many roommates: I have an 8-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old, and I don't think I've even met the other one yet. Ten years ago I could barely get a date and now my apartment is crawling with babies. It's like I left some peanut butter out overnight.

- As a dad you're Vice President. You are part of the executive branch of the family but you are the partner with the weaker authority. In your children's eyes you mostly fulfill a ceremonial role of attending pageants and ordering pizza. Jeannie is Bill Clinton and I am Al Gore.....I'm the dork reminding them to turn off the lights.

- When your baby is born.....the masses of family and friends want to be assured the mother is okay and get information on the baby. For some reason it's really important for the people to know how much the baby weighs. "How much does she weigh?" That seems rude. She's not even a day old and people seem obsessed with my daughter's weight. She was nine pounds but I told my friends she was 8 pounds, 16 ounces, because it sounded thinner.

- Giving a newborn clothes makes no sense at all. Newborns can't dress themselves and they never go out. I've been around five newborns and not one of them has asked "Tonight I'm meeting some friends for sushi. Can you help pick out an outfit?"

- What's really stupid is baby versions of adult shoes. My brother-in-law Patrick bought our then 3-month-old Jack tiny Timberland hiking boots. Our baby couldn't walk, let alone hike. Patrick explained that the boots would be cute. Cute yes, but only because they're ironic. A baby wearing construction worker boots that weigh more than he does is mean. It's like giving a blind person a microscope.

- Toddlerhood is one of my favorite periods of childhood development....not only because you can finally enter them in beauty pageants. All healthy babies eventually walk....[and].....I guess walking IS impressive after ten months of just lying around. Actually they don't immediately walk or even toddle. They cruise or hold themselves up with furniture in search of the hardest and sharpest surface to bang their head on. When they finally let go and take a few steps it's more like a stumble or a stagger, like they are a drunken old man or a zombie extra from the Walking Dead.

- I'm ashamed how often I lie to my children. Maybe they aren't all lies.....some of it's acting. You act excited to read a story for the 500th time. You act impressed someone went to the bathroom on the toilet. The excitement I show to some of my children's scribbles should get me a Golden Globe nomination.

- I'm not a man with many hobbies besides eating, sleeping, watching an occasional football game, and of course eating. I just like spending time with my children, although I'm always amazed at how little I have in common with them. My 6-year-old son Jack actually doesn't like mashed potatoes. Yes, mashed potatoes, one of the greatest things on earth. The ice cream of potatoes. Of course he loves french fries, hash browns, and baked potatoes. But mashed potatoes might as well be sewer sludge. "EWWWWW ....mashed potatoes."

- Little kids simply have bad taste in everything. Little kids taste in clothing is baffling. if you ask a 3-year-old boy to pick something out to wear to the park the outfit will definitely clash and most likely not include pants. "Okay, why don't we wear pants AND a shirt instead of goggles and a hat."

- Walking in NYC alone is great....[lots of interesting sights and sounds]. But when you add a couple of kids and a stroller, walking becomes a vastly different experience. Strolling a kid down a sidewalk seems like it would be easy except that a stroller is the Bermuda Triangle of kids shoes. You can't stroll a kid half a block before they only have one shoe on. You have no idea when or how they got it off or how you missed it being flung away. Then there are the kids that are walking with you.....I try to wrangle my brood off deathtraps like treeguards, stoops, ramps, and poles - and try to prevent them from getting too close to the curb where giant trucks and mindless cyclists are inches away from plowing them over.

- The subway is a fast and economical way to get around. But from the moment the turnstile smacks your kid in the head, til the time your child terrifies you by almost falling in the gap between the platform and the train, to the kid inevitably licking the subway pole that 800 million filthy hands have touched, to almost missing your stop because it's too crowded to get off, to carrying the stroller up three flights of subway stairs.....this form of transportation becomes more of a treacherous pilgrimage than a way of getting from point A to point B.

- Recently on a warm sunny day, I found myself preparing to singlehandedly take all five of my kids to the park. It is probably easier to land a quadruple jump in ice skating than to get my five children to depart our house in a timely manner. When you have little kids you can't just say 'come on, let's go' and walk out the door. You must always add 'find the shoe time' to your calculation of estimated time of departure. If it's winter and there are hats, gloves, scarves, and mittens involved.....just forget it. You might as well just stay in. it will be the spring thaw by the time you get them bundled.

- I'm getting fat. Luckily my gut is intentional. I'm actually preparing for a big role. Sure, it's a cinnamon roll but I want there to be room for it. Okay, fine I could lose some weight but I'm not gonna hide behind some lame excuse. My paunch is no one's fault but my kids. Have you seen what a six year old wants to eat...."For dinner get me a mac and cheese, a handful of pretzels and a half a cupcake." They don't actually ask for half a cupcake but half a cupcake is all they'll actually eat. What are you supposed to do with the other half of the cupcake..... or half a plate of french fries they leave in a restaurant. This is why being a parent is the opposite of the Jenny Craig diet. I can just see the pitch. "I gained 20 pounds just eating small portions of my children's leftovers."

- Last summer I took my family to Disneyworld. What I forgot was that Orlando in August is roughly the same temperature as the surface of the sun. What I also didn't realize is that going to Disney as an adult is like standing in line at the DMV. The only real difference is at the DMV you leave with a driver's licence. It's amazing how much money it costs to be uncomfortable all day and listen to your children whine and complain. Disney is not a vacation. To me the term Disney vacation is equivalent to the term Chuck E. Cheese fine dining.

- Last summer I had four chldren and I noticed there were only three Eskimo Pies left in the freezer for dessert. The first thought that came to me was "Well looks like I'm eating three Eskimo Pies. In spite of my lack of parental instincts, in the end i did the right thing. i only ate one. That way the four of them could split the other two evenly. How else are they gonna learn math?

"Dad is Fat" is 288 pages long. So if these excerpts amused you, there's plenty more where they came from. People with children might appreciate the humor a bit more than childless readers....but I think anyone would get a laugh from the book.

Recommended to readers who like funny books.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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