Intermediate Composition
19 Dec 1997
Dave Barry


Dave Barry writes about human experiences first hand and takes into account the human nature of things he witnesses, as typical or as bizarre as they can be, and takes them to paper either just humorously, sarcastically, or is simply honest WITH a tiny bit of other spices and ingredients added. Dave Barry is both extremely normal and totally crazy all at once- if that is possible and it is. The experiences he gets to are primarily domestic and very American but they have enough jam-packed satirical “stuff” in them to write a book- this alone is the idea behind one of his articles (the amount of people writing books,that is). He startles us with ranges in topics from the stock market to education to family trips and seeing buffalo poop. If the content can not conjure a chuckle or giggle out of you then his bold face words and playing around with language are sure to draw your attention somehow. I chose Dave Barry for the fact that I had never read (or sadly heard) of him before. But now I must say that I am a big fan and Dave Barry just might give me a reason to more frequently grab the Spectrum.
Dave Barry’s articles make his life seem just as mumbled jumbled as his ideas since he rarely has a particular order to them. He must be brainstorming all the time or instantly finds something in a moment and jots it down on his hand like I do, NOT to remember its existence until bathing. To talk of him requires a little mumbling and jumbling on my part.

The themes found within Barry’s articles are not necessarily opinions, though they are sprinkled with them, but simple sarcastic or funny observations correlating sometimes with the media news at the time or with other current concepts with a more insight to human actions. He has a vast knowledge of the politics occurring of the time and must keep up with plenty of reading. Astride from this, I do not know what can be floating around his mind to come up with some of the thesises he has had. What does he find so fascinating or insane about things and how does he know what the general public will find hilarious? Some examples that you normally wouldn’t find too funny are: his trip to the winery, news events, and golfing.
He takes a simple gander through a winery and comes up with this little inner outburst while watching men at the age of 22 engage in a discussion of the years of good wine:
“What’s WRONG with you?” When I was your age I was drinking Sunshine Premium brand beer (motto: ‘Made from Ingredients’) at $2.39 a CASE! (Spectrum Aug. 26, 1997)
Perhaps this is cute because it is true for college students, a crowd he is in tune to, on their small salaries. He found that news within news is intriguing especially when the world is supposedly so preoccupied with a celebrity death. Suddenly the shadowed worldly news becomes even more belittled.
“In non- celebrity news, the stock market has crashed; war broke out in the Middle East; a volcano has erupted in Seattle; militants in the rebellious Russian province of Brzkszckrzkzistan, angry over the chronic shortage of vowels....” (Spectrum Oct. 24, 1997)
Making fun of the news with some truth, since there are many shortage of items in Russia and their names are difficult to pronounce, and exaggerated sarcasm is one of
his favorites as the is the communication that is shared between people, say, in a round of golf.
TOM: Bill, before I attempt to “shank” this “birdie,” I’d like to know your “gut feeling” on the use of quotation marks in the newspaper.
BILL: Tom, I feel they are overused.
TOM: I agree. Let’s formulate a policy on that.
BILL: And then let’s try on evening gowns.
TOM: Yes! We’ll accessorize with brooches! (Spectrum Oct. 10, 1997)
Whatever he comes up with and wherever he finds these ideas has got to be quite an interesting place because he seems to be able to poke humor at anything. Being from North Dakota I could not have ever thought of places to joke about here- BUT that is Dave Barry’s inner motive- to discover sarcastic and funny entities in everything. Besides declaring South Dakota’s official state motto: “Gateway to North Dakota,” he looks to descriptions you might write in a journal on a trip:
Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills, which get their name from the fact that they are brown, gray and green. They were caused by erosion. In fact, just about all the major natural attractions you find in the West- the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, the Goodlands, the Mediocrelands, the Rocky Mountains and Robert Redford- were caused by erosion (Spectrum Sept. 19, 1997).
Not only are places easy for him to conjure up insane ideas from but he likes people too. Barbara Walters, scientists, and, well, almost anyone including himself. Barbara is mentioned in the article discussing celebrities deaths as Barry comments on her way of speaking, etc.
CELEBRITY: Being famous?
BARBARA: No, my little frown of concern. I’m thinking of having it fixed.
CELEBRITY: What’s a “fwown”(Spectrum Oct 24, 1997)?
Also the scientists and medical world are on his hit list as well.
...Aristotle, who is considered the Father of Medicine because he invented the following phrases, without which modern medical care would be impossible:
“Do you have insurance?”
“We’re going to have to run some tests.”
“You may experience some discomfort.”
“We’re going to have to run some more tests.”
“The tests were inconclusive” (Spectrum Sept.5, 1997)
And then to make a full circle of this piece, I end with the November seventh article on “An epic struggle to get educated” because he mocks himself and the education system out there, just as he had in a previous opinion column about the SAT’s. This entity has to make you smile because of the fact that the statements within are quite realistic.
I believe that we parents must encourage our children to become educated, so they can get into a good college that we cannot afford.
If this isn’t funny enough this next round about way of eating and studying is hilarious and the mixture of suddenly being on the side of science is amusing as well.
Nevertheless, I stressed to Rob that he should make this homework his absolute highest priority, allowing nothing to come ahead of it, but that first we would go out for Italian food. I like to do this with Rob because he always orders pizza, which I am not allowed to eat because it contains cholesterol, but it is a scientific fact that your body will not absorb cholesterol if you take it from another person’s plate.

If only every parent would write an article to get their kids out of doing homework once in a while life would be much easier.
No matter what Barry gets his wild ideas from, we can see and realize that he has got SOME talent to take the ordinary and make it, in a sort of nutty way, extraordinary. And, hey, he receives payment, we giggle, and everyone is happy. What more could you want from a fellow who make you belt out-