A couple of weeks ago I got an email from the publicist promoting David Oakley’s new book. I reviewed his first book almost 5 years ago, and apparently the publicist stumbled into it, referring to it as absolutely hilarious and wonderful, and asked if I would read and review his new book. I said yes, because flattery will get you everywhere with me. But now I’m feeling the pressure to top that first review. I worked Night Ranger and Michael J Fox into that first review, how the hell am I going to top that? Eddie Van Halen did just die, so I could say that this book caused an eruption of laughter, but that would be tacky, so I won’t do it.
RIP Eddie. And don’t smoke kids.
The book is funny, and thought-provoking too. Within the first 25 pages I literally set the book down to consider how the hell I got to age 52 without ever questioning why we say “take a shit” when what we are really doing is “leaving a shit.” Right now, just when I think I finally am starting to get life figured out he writes that, and now I’m questioning everything again.
There is a more serious thread weaved through the stories of being at the same porno with his parents, growing up without a microwave oven, catching his teenage kids drinking, and air balling a free throw in front of Coach Dean Smith. (In 10th grade I clanked a layup while Meadowlark Lemon was watching, so I sympathize). That thread is the importance of family. David grew up with progressive artist parents, but he did not react like Alex P Keaton and go running with the devil. In the stories he tells it’s very clear that he is his parent’s kid, or however that saying goes. And likewise, it’s pretty clear that a sense of justice and fairness, sense of humor and ability to laugh at themselves and each other, and a fondness for Vegas has not skipped any generations in his family.
His first book was stories from work. Nobody Eats Parsley is a collection of stories from his personal life. It truly is the best of both worlds. I don’t know if I’ll be quoting this book at work like I do his first book, because food garnishes, UFOs, and clowns just don’t come up all that often in web design. Seriously, I use his “live music beats PowerPoint” line all the time. But if you want to laugh, a lot, possibly never look at parsley the same way again, or maybe pick up a few parenting tips, you should buy this book. And since I’m writing this in October 2020, please vote, and wear a mask when around other people, because you can still rock in America, just not during a pandemic.