Not being a Twitterer myself (the thought of sharing every cup of coffee I drink and every subsequent bowel movement with a load of strangers who creepily call themselves ‘followers’ doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest) I wasn’t aware of Justin Halpen until quite recently, when I read about his book in the Sunday Times culture section. I thought my boyfriend would probably enjoy the book of quotes from his father, which is catchily entitled Shit My Dad Says, so I bought it for him (and promptly read it myself!).
The book has come in for some criticism from those who say the blog was great but the book is simply a moneyspinner. It’s a little thin on the ground in the content department, the detractors say – well I’d agree with that. If you bought the book for its RRP of £9.99 you might be a little aggrieved to find that it is little more than a collection of quotes with a few linking pages, but if you’re looking for a light, funny read for the train (and you buy it half price on Amazon) I still think you could do a lot worse.
The book is a bit sweary – yes I know I sound like a miserable old maiden aunt but it’s just that the humorous impact of hearing your dad saying ‘fuck’ is lessened when it’s so repetitive. It’s not a big criticism – I still sniggered all the way home on the tube – but it is an unsurprising problem in a book made up of pearls of wisdom disseminated over the course of many years.
Anyway, since there’s not a lot to the book – just a succession of little laughs, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite little titbits with you. This is Mr Halpen at his best:
On Friendship, Part II: “I don’t need more friends. You got friends and all they do is ask you to help them move. Fuck that. I’m old. I’m through moving shit.”
On Entertaining the Notion of Getting a Tattoo: “You can do what you want. But I can also do what I want. And what I’ll be doing is telling everyone how fucking stupid your tattoo is.”
On My Interest in Smoking Cigars: “You’re not a cigar guy…Well the first reason that jumps out at me is that you hold it like you’re jerking off a mouse.”
On My Trip to Europe: “I know you think you’re going to get all kinds of laid. It’s not a magic place, it’s the same as here. Don’t be stupid.
On Internet Service: “I don’t want it…I understand what it does…Yes, I do. And I don’t give a hit if all of your friends have it. All of your friends have dopey fucking haircuts, too, but you don’t see me running to my barber”
On Built-Up Expectations: “Your brother brought his baby over this morning. He told me it could stand. It couldn’t stand for shit. Just sat there. Big letdown.”
On Accidentally Eating Dog Treats: “Snausages? I’ve been eating dog treats? Why the fuck would you put them on the counter where the rest of the food is? Fuck it, they’re delicious. I will not be shamed by this.”
Brilliant – and proof, if ever proof were needed, that it doesn’t always have to be literary to tickle the kitty.