Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade : How to Survive Life's Smaller Challenges
8 journalers for this copy...
This is one of those books that is now studded with little bits of paper marking the sections I wanted to quote. Since if I quote them all I might as well just scan in the whole book I shall try to pick a small sample, but it's tough. The overall tone is a sort of mild British version of Dave Barry, with similar flights of fancy and toggling between relatively serious advice and the totally frivolous. One of my favorite passages combines both; it comes in the "How to Love" chapter:
Men love women because they are the loveliest things on God's earth. Women love men because chocolate can't mow the lawn. Some men prefer to love other men. Equally, some women prefer to love other women. There's a word to describe this kind of behavior: Love.The book starts off with a chuckle ("They say the devil makes work for idle hands. He also makes work for other parts of the body and this he calls exercise.") and keeps on going. I realize its mild tone and scattershot subjects might not appeal to everyone but I adored it - both in the text version and in the audio version (read by my favorite narrator, Simon Vance, aka Robert Whitfield, aka Richard Matthews - he's got a wonderful voice, and he's cute, too - not that that shows on the audio, but I thought it was worth mentioning!).
A few more samples:
from "How to Use a Changing Room":
It's important to wash your private bits in the shower, but they must only be given a brisk buffing. Anything more leisurely will be seen as indulgence bordering on wanton self-gratification.from "How to Do Extreme Sports":
Extreme sports all boil down to thinking up great new ways of killing yourself and then extracting the death part at the last moment.from "How to Climb a Tree":
Climbing trees has become a bit of a forgotten art. The only time you see someone up one is when they are cutting it down or trying to prevent it being cut down. Children wouldn't think of climbing a tree unless it was a fully interactive computer game featuring Gonad the Larchslayer.from "How to Sneeze":
Sneezing is an enormously powerful bodily convulsion second only to the orgasm in its intensity. Both are difficult to fake with any degree of accuracy, and it's best not to attempt either in a lift unless you are by yourself or with someone who loves you a very great deal.Um, I just noticed that I'm only on page 27 and the book is still studded with little paper strips marking excellent quotes, so I think I'd better stop here and advise you to get a copy and read the whole thing!
Update: to see more of Browning's columns, look for his "How To" features in the weekend editions of the UK's Guardian Unlimited online.
[Update: she read it while visiting me instead, so it's still here. She didn't mention a favorite bit but did laugh a lot!]
When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.
Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookring book at this time.Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within a month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the bookring, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)
When you're ready to pass the book along, please make another journal entry containing your comments about the book and stating where you've sent it, and set the book's status code to "traveling". [If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.]
Participants, in mailing order:
labmomnm [New Mexico]
macewoman [North Carolina]
FutureCat [New Zealand]
Jellyfish is on its way to BCer labmomnm in New Mexico, to kick off the bookray. Hope you enjoy it!
27 August 2006 - This was a lot of fun, even though I never *did* find the bit about jellyfish (maybe the "How to have fun at the beach" chapter was cut?!)...I was wondering how he'd work that in, but he brutally left us haning on that one. The nerve...Grrr.... Anyway, the two things that have stuck in my head are the "How to run a marathon" chapter and the bit about slicing a cake...359 degrees seems a perfect "slice" to me, sometimes.
I'll ship this to macewoman tomorrow or Thursday (Sept 6 or 7, 2006)
Thanks Gory for sharing this with all of us.
I had the same situation Gory did with the slips of paper marking amusing sections. The guys I work with are probably tired of hearing me read sections aloud to them. But they were the ones who kept asking what was so funny when I couldn't help laughing out loud. It got more than a few chuckles and a couple of confused looks regarding the British language.
A couple of my favorite quotes were from the "How to Swim" chapter:
With breaststroke you can choose to do it either with your head out of the water or dipping under. If you choose to dip and you haven't come up after the third dip, the technical name for what you're doing is drowning.
and the "How to Be Sorry" chapter:
Apologies are the old rubber tyres hung over the sides of huge egos to prevent damage when they rub up against each other.
Thanks for the chance to read this book. I already have LastEdition's address and I'll get this mailed by the end of the week.
9/27 - Book is on its way to Denmark. It's taking a plane so it should be a quick trip. Hope you enjoy.
Thank you for raying this book, Gory as I doubt I would have come by it otherwise:-)
Air-mailed to Futurecat today.
How to Do First Aid
...you can check their breathing by holding a mirror in front of their face. Don't use one of those heavy, gilt-framed monsters as these can fall on top of the injured person and crush them.
How to Have Neighbours
When buying a house, allow an extra 10 percent on the mortgage for keeping up with the Joneses. If you are the Joneses, then allow an extra 20 percent.
How to Socialize
Socializing shouldn't be confused with socialism. Socialists are the ones that like to meet people's needs, and socialites are the needy ones that like to meet people.
How to Meditate
Finding the right place to meditate is vital. You should be as far away as possible from work, children, overhead power lines, traffic, shops, friends, computers and telephones. Strangely, if you manage to get away from these, you automatically acquire inner stillness and calm.
Right, no more, or between Gory and I there be none of the book left to read :-)
I would like to know where the jellyfish comes into it though...
I have another bookring I should read before this, but have already dipped into it.
I was disappointed not to find out why not to hit a jellyfish with a spade. Not that I will try it to find out why, any contact with our local jellyfish involves a trip to hospital.
Posting to rebeccaljames tomorrow. It will be travelling by slow boat.
Thank you for sharing.