Assume the Worst

In fourth grade Sister Eugene Marie taught us to lower our expectations. When you Assume the Worst – the title of a hilarious collaboration between Carl Hiaasen and Roz Chast – you won’t be disapppointed. Sometimes, you might be happily surprised.

In their “Graduation Speech You Will Never Hear,” Hiaasen offers his humorous advice, accompanied by Roz Chast’s signature illustrations.

Among my favorite lines:

“….when the ignorant outperform the attentive—dimness triumphs. The result is that we end up with dangerously unqualified leaders, and then sit around disconsolately hoping the worst of them will be taken down by scandal or maybe an exploding prostate…”

“Stupidity is a real-world pandemic from which there’s no refuge, even at college. Each year, on prestigious campuses from coast to coast, no small number of diplomas are handed out to young men and women who barely scraped by.” (accompanied by Chast’s diploma for a Bachelor of Existing.)

“Spending all your waking hours doing only what feels good is a viable life plan if you’re a Labrador retriever…”

Advice by Jake

After reading George Gurley’s article – Since 1956, A Sensitive Guy – in the New York Times about Jake, the Glamour magazine male equivalent to Dear Abby, I searched for the book noted in the article. Amazingly, my library system had the new book by Jake – Always Hit on the Wingman.

Not a fan of Glamour, I had never read the column, but Gurley’s essay suggested that the “tips for gals” by the anonymous author who drew on the collective wisdom of 56 years of Jakes would offer some laughs in the same vein as Fein and Schneider’s epic, The Rules.

The book (and column) targets young unmarried women, looking for relationship advice with a man’s perspective. The title is based on Jake’s premise that a woman’s best chance for getting attention for herself or for getting something done – is not to ask the man directly, but to go through his wingman, friend, or trusted buddy as her intercessor. Sounds like the makings of a good movie.

According to Glamour’s rule, Jake must be an unattached single guy; once he is not, the baton passes on to another. A surprising caveat – the writer of the book (a former Jake) has been married for twenty years and has a daughter.

Not my usual reading fare, and I wondered if I should even review it, but a friend pointed out that Jake might offer some interest – or a few snickers.