This past Christmas, while at my in law's my wife's sister handed me a small palm sized box wrapped in festive paper. When it was my turn, I tore open the present, fairly certain I knew what was inside by the shape of the box. It was an audio book and on the cover was a pasty, balding white guy who looked familiar. The title of the book read "Dad Is Fat" in what looked like multi-colored crayon lettering that appeared to have been drawn by the hand of a child. Or a psychotic inmate in a mental institution. It's hard to tell the difference sometimes.
Well looking at the title, I was a bit taken aback. Dad is Fat? I mean, I know I've put on a few pounds since I got married and all, but sheesh. My sister in law assured me the title was not about me, and that I should listen to the audio book.
"It's funny," she said.
Well I finally got around to listening to it. I didn't wait so long because the title was offensive and, well more than a little accurate. It's just that at any give time I am reading or listening to several books so my queue is quite long. But I did get around to it, and I hate to say my sister in law was right.
To say it's funny is a bit like saying falling through your attic ceiling hurts. This book has to be the funniest book I have ever read or listened to in my entire life. I have read books by other comedians and they all pale in comparison to Dad Is Fat. Maybe it's because I could relate to so much of the content, being a dad, being a husband and well weighing more than I would like to.
I popped the CD into the stereo of my car, and from the very first chapter I was laughing out loud. I must have looked more than a bit crazy sitting in traffic and at times I had to stop myself from rolling down my window and telling the old woman in the car next to me staring at me with a frightened expression that I was not nuts and the men in the white coats had NOT in fact let me out of the group home recently I am never going back.
I didn't tell her that because it was really hot last week and the AC was on and I don't like to sweat.
I think comedy is hard to pull off in the written word. To read the words "awkward pause" rarely carries the same comedic weight (in my opinion) as seeing an awkward pause between two actors. I mean, there is no way a script for "The Office" reads as funny as an episode is. However Gaffigan nails comedy through and through this book. One of the highlights of the story is him discussing raising five children in a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan and how pale all of his children are. He compares them to vampires because of their weakness to light, their incredible need for sunblock. I loved it when he said:
"I have to tell my kids, No don't open the refrigerator door, the light could kill you!"
Well, he does it better than me.
Jim Gaffigan is one of those guys who looks like you should know him from some show you can't quite remember. I am sure I have seen him in something, but I have no idea what, and I really have no inclination or drive to find out either. But he narrates his book and does an excellent job.
I highly recommend this book to you if you want to listen to something that is poignant and relevant. It's nice to listen to or read something that makes us feel better, cheers us up, gives us a laugh. Instead of watching the news or twitter and facebook where we walk away only reading stuff by angry people leaving us feeling like the world is in desperate need of a good plague.