Over-Caffeinated Dad Takes on Oprah, Optimism and the DMV in Witty New Book, Death By Suburb
Seattle, WA – July 13, 2009 – What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? No. What doesn’t kill us makes us tired and cranky.
In his new book, Death By Suburb, humorist Kirk Enright pokes fun at the absurdities of the super-sized, theme-park version of the American Dream so many of us spend so much time pursuing.
Anyone who’s ever witnessed an act of bad parenting, struggled to actually implement the advice of an afternoon talk-show expert, or just visited the DMV on a typical Tuesday morning will find this book a fun read for troubled times.
About the Author
Kirk Enright writes on a variety of topics including relationships, parenting, business, and politics. After spending 11 years, 10 months, 15 days, 7 hours and 29 minutes in Hollywood writing, producing and directing various television projects, he escaped to the Pacific Northwest where he lives with his wife, their three children and their dog.
Media samples are available upon request. For more information or to request a free review copy, contact Jeanette Thebeau: [email protected] or via phone at 206.427.7551. Death By Suburb is available online at Amazon.com and through additional wholesale and retail channels worldwide.
DEATH BY SUBURB: excerpts from the blog
Author: Kirk Enright
Publication: June 4, 2009
Trade Paperback: $14.99; 148 Pages; 5.5” x 8.25”
ISBN-10: 1-4392-4318-3; ISBN-13: 978-1439243183
WHEN PRE-SCHOOLERS LEARN TO RHYME – pg. 37
PRE-SCHOOLER: Hit. Bit. Fit. (Expletive.) Hit. Bit. Fit. (Expletive.)
DAD: Did he just say what I think he said?
MOM: Sweetie, you shouldn’t say that.
PRE-SCHOOLER: Say what?
DAD: That word.
PRE-SCHOOLER: What word? Hit? Bit? Fit? (Expletive?)
MOM: How are we gonna tell him not to say S-H-I-T without saying S-H-I-T?
DAD: Why don’t you make a different rhyme?
PRE-SCHOOLER: Mass. Class. Bass. (Expletive.)
MOM: I have a better idea: let’s talk about this. See, there are some words you can’t say out loud.
MOM: Because they’re bad words.
PRE-SCHOOLER: Why are they bad? Did they do something to get in trouble, like leave their toys in the hallway?
MOM: No, the words didn’t do anything, they’re just bad.
DAD: And if you say them you’ll get in trouble.
PRE-SCHOOLER: Why are you using your angry voice?
MOM: Daddy’s not using his angry voice. He’s just trying to tell you there are some words that are bad and good boys don’t say them.
PRE-SCHOOLER: But Daddy says them when he drives us to school, and sometimes after he talks to Grandma.
MOM: Look… Let’s just take a break from rhyming and you and I will go play with your fire truck.
PRE-SCHOOLER: Okay – Truck. Duck. Muck. F –
MOM & DAD: NOOOOO!
TOO DEPRESSED ABOUT THE ECONOMY TO PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS? – pg. 81
Don’t let the credit crisis, the housing slump, gas prices, global warming, the cost of groceries, layoffs or the generally sad state of world affairs stop you from enjoying quality time with your kids.
Instead, let these troubles inspire you with the following games:
Mortgage, Mortgage, Who’s Got The Mortgage?
Kids sit in a circle with their fists closed, pretending to hold a button, which in this case represents a mortgage. As you go around the circle, everybody says “Mortgage, mortgage, who’s got the mortgage?” and then whoever’s turn it is says “Billy has the mortgage.” Billy must then open his fist to show everybody if he has the button/mortgage or not. The joke, of course, is that he doesn’t. In fact, nobody does, because credit is still so tight nobody can get one.
Stock Market Limbo
How low can it go? There’s one way to find out: put on “The Limbo Song” and see if you can make it under without collapsing.
Take an imaginary trip to the future without leaving home. Just unplug the air conditioner, shut off the water main, and set the thermostat as high as it will go. The first person to pass out from heat stroke loses, the last one standing gets a half-glass of dirty water and a chance to play “An Inconvenient Truth: The Home Edition.”
The Crumbling Infrastructure Game
Just like “London Bridge is Falling Down,” only substitute something local.
U.N. Election Monitor
Help ensure the spread of democracy with this variation on “Kick The Can.” Select one U.N. Election Monitor, then divide everyone else up into two groups: voters and henchmen. While you turn your back and pretend everything is going really, really well, “voters” try to run up and kick the can before “henchmen” stop them.
Magic 81/4 – Ball
Buy? Sell? Forget your broker’s “opinion” and just ask the Magic 81/4 – Ball. It couldn’t be any worse.
Pretend you’re Congress and you’re trying to do something to re-ignite the economy, only you get so bogged down in partisanship you just stand around calling each other names.
The Coupon Game
What kid doesn’t like to cut things out? Here, you put yours to work helping you find enough coupons to make up the difference between what you make and what you spend. (While technically not a game, it would probably be helpful. Plus, you can give your kids bonus points if they find any coupons that are good for discounted liquor or anti-depressants.)
Chinese Toy Russian Roulette
Toxic? Non-toxic? Line up the toys and use a home lead-test to find out.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE DMV – pg. 91
• Even if you are the first person in line, first thing in the morning, you will end up waiting an hour and a
• Anything that can be screwed up will be.
• Just because you are blind, senile, psychotic or drunk doesn’t mean you can’t renew your license.
• The fact that you’re supposed to take a number when you walk in only confuses the people in front of
you who never learned to count.
• Instructions are in Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German,
Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somalian, Spanish, Turkish,
Thai and Vietnamese, but stupidity seems to be the same in any language.
• If your car gets stolen, it is likely the person who stole it is waiting in line in front of you.
• Saying you “work at the DMV” is kind of misleading – a more accurate description would be to say you
“do as little work as you possibly can so you don’t get fired from the DMV.”
• If you thought inbreeding was confined to Appalachian Mountain shacks and Mormon Fundamentalist
compounds, guess again; at the DMV it seems to be thriving, not just in front of the counter but behind
it, too – “First she was my sister, then she was my wife, and now she’s my supervisor.”
• No matter how fat you are, there will be a woman ahead of you who weighs at least 100 pounds more
than you do. (This may be the one positive thing about the DMV.)
• One couple waiting in line will get into a huge, screaming argument.
• One couple waiting in line will dry hump each other until a DMV employee asks them to stop.
• Somebody will video the couple and post it on Youtube.
• If you think a set of instructions are so simple even a moron could follow them, the moron in line in front
of you will prove you wrong, and require up to 25 minutes of redundant, repetitive picture-based
explanation before he or she realizes you can’t just take the driver’s test and get a license, you must
actually pass it first.
• If you accidentally marked “A” even though you know the answer is “None of the above,” you still have
to re-take the test.
• If the fee is $25 and you only have $23, you are $2 short no matter how many times you say “Please”
or “Couldn’t you just cut me a little slack?”
• Even if there are 50 open seats, somebody will sit down right next to you.
• The person who sits down next to you will make you consider leaving and coming back tomorrow, even
if you have already waited two hours and are next in line.
OPRAH’S (IM)PRACTICAL GUIDE TO GETTING MORE SLEEP – pg. 93
God bless Oprah and all the good she does in the world, but sometimes she – or, perhaps more accurately, her editors – get it wrong.
Case in point: the 10-point family guide to getting more sleep, which starts out sensibly enough, but quickly takes an impractical turn:
1. Make sleep a family priority.
2. Recognize sleep problems in your children.
For most parents, the problem isn’t recognizing the problem – it’s pretty obvious that kids don’t like going to sleep, ever, no matter how late it is or how tired they are – it’s figuring out what to do about it, other than turning to Benadryl.
3. Parents need to work together.
But we don’t.
It’s not “divide and conquer” so much as it is “You deal with it while I relax for a while and watch TV ’cause I’ve had a rough day.”
4. Be consistent.
5. Set a regular bedtime and wake time.
Parents already do this all the time, we’re just not very good at it. Because while most of us realize that bedtime should be 15 to 30 minutes before we finally reach the breaking point, and wake time should be whenever we finally get enough sleep to feel rested and alert – say 8:09 pm and 7:51 am – the reality is that bedtime is usually 15 minutes after the breaking point, and wake time is whatever time you absolutely, positively have to leave the house in the morning so you’re not late minus half the time you need to make breakfast, make lunches, make coffee, take a shower, get everyone dressed, settle whatever random fight breaks out that morning and kiss your spouse. (Unless you’re still fighting because you didn’t work together.)
6. Routine. Routine. Routine.
In your dreams. In your dreams. In your dreams – unless a “routine” can consist of a carefully planned series of random, unpredictable events to which no timeframe can ever logically be applied.
7. Dress and room temperature – not too hot, not too cold.
Oh, please – if one kid is too hot, the other is too cold, and if they’re fine, you’re uncomfortable. The only one who ever got anything “just right” was Goldilocks and she was make-believe.
8. Transitional object to ease separation – doll, stuffed animal, blanket.
Okay, but what do you do when the “transitional object” is mom?
9. Don’t share your room or your bed with your child.
Anyone with parents who weren’t hippies has heard this, but let’s examine the way it works in real life:
CHILD: Can I sleep with you?
CHILD: But I’m scared.
CHILD: And I don’t like being by myself.
CHILD: Why not?
PARENT: Because Oprah says you can’t.
CHILD: I hate Oprah. Oprah is mean. I’m never going to watch Oprah on TV again. (Unless she gives me a car.)
10. There’s always one last thing with kids, so anticipate.
Anticipate? One last thing? How about 10 last things? Or 20? Any parent who can do that is clearly psychic and should just hit the Atlantic City casinos and hire an army of nannies with the winnings.
For most parents, the most practical suggestion for getting more family sleep is to just be patient for 18 years or so, at which time the kids will finally be old enough to move on and sleep by themselves.
OPTIMISM IS OUT, PESSIMISM IS IN. – pg. 98
• Every time God closes a door, he opens a window. So you can jump out of it.
• Every cloud has a silver lining. Unfortunately silver is down 50% since January so you’re still pretty
• It’s always darkest before the dawn… of a new day that will probably be even worse.
• It doesn’t matter if the glass is half-full or half-empty if it’s smashed into a thousand pieces.
• The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And creditors.
Review copies are available upon request.
For more information, contact: Jeanette Thebeau
Email: [email protected]
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