By Mims Cushing
It might be a bit difficult to persuade Dave Barry to trade places with me, but I’d sure love to be him for … oh, maybe a year. We are practically Siamese twins, except that he is male and makes a fortune with his columns and books. Plus he is so funny. If you think about his writing as you clean your bathroom you will laugh so hard you’ll fall into the toilet bowl. I don’t do that an awful lot. Listening to him speak at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists at a gala dinner a couple of years ago, I totally forgot to eat my chocolate cheesecake, an unheard of phenomenon for me.
“Dave,” — I’d like to think of us as being on a first name basis — “What do you think is the best thing about being a professional humor columnist?” He is asked that all the time. I know this because it is written on the back of his audiobook from 2000, “Dave Barry is Not Taking This Sitting Down.”
“Mims,” he would say, placing his hands on my shoulders with a gentle squeeze, “the best thing is that I can help others and make the world a better place.” The quote continues on the audiobook: ”Of course I am lying. In fact, that’s one of the great things about being a humor columnist. You can lie. You get PAID to lie. What other profession can say that? I have a wonderful job.” He continues by adding that, of course, lawyers get paid to lie too.
Dave Barry won a Pulitzer and has been called the funniest man in America. My Pulitzer is not even in the mail. He is syndicated. Syndication is not happening for me. And as for making this a better place, that is important to me, but not uppermost in my mind 24/7.
A couple of problems occur to me: Dave (he can call me Mims, so I can call him Dave) works for the Miami Herald and lives way south of Ponte Vedra Beach. I think he’d get the better end of the deal by living up here if we traded places. Do I really want to live in Miami? Not so much.
I also like David Sedaris. Any man who comes up the title “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” is OK in my book. But listen to this: the man was at 63 bookstores and other venues between April 16 and August 2, 2015, selling his books and talking about them. The places included nearly 50 American cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific and these places in England and Scotland: Belfast, Aberdeen, Nottingham, Liverpool, Ipswich, Stoke-on-Trent, York, Northampton, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Leicester, Margate, E. Sussex and Plymouth. That sounds grueling. I was barely able to market my book in one weekend, going from Florida to North Carolina and was out of breath for a week. Think I’ll go back with Dave Barry.
I wonder if I would have to undergo a sex change operation to become Dave Barry. That would be a deal breaker. I enjoy being a girl.
Is the train out of the station so far as my turning into Dave Barry? Nope.
Mims (Marguerite) Cushing came to Florida from Connecticut in 1991. She has been a professional writer for more than 35 years, writing features for her hometown paper in Stamford and also for a dozen local and national magazines. Her books won awards with the Florida Writers Association and her children’s book was honored by Kiwanis of Tampa. She has enjoyed teaching creative writing to children and adults. An avid reader, Cushing enjoys being the librarian of the Players Club Senior Center and singing with Singers by the Sea. Her children and grands visit from Connecticut when possible.
Photo courtesy Mims Cushing