In a tiny section of the bookstore that no sane person ever enters lies a secret underworld of musings and advice-like tidbits... books that offer hundreds, sometimes thousands of tiny wisdoms. Well, I bought a pile of these books, hoping to gain knowledge from the cute community. After reading 24,504 folksy nuggets, I learned two things: These books are not to be trusted, and there's a gun in my mouth. 14,000 things to be happy about. Barbara Ann Kipfer, 1990 $6.95 or 2014 Gems per Dollar Barbara Ann Kipfer has absent-mindedly compiled a disorganized list of things and called it a book. About one percent of them are things that make people happy, like "sleepyheads" or "fish." But the rest seems to be made up entirely of things that pass across her eye as she thumbs through catalogs, or foods she happens to be in the mood for. More or less, it's the diary of a lonely, hungry woman who never learned what a sentence was. It doesn't seem like she moved any items around after churning out the whole list, so sometimes you'll hit patches where you can watch her mind go down a long path. Hmm, things to be happy about... drug stores, getting back correct change, headlines at the checkout line, clerks not calling out for a price check on Vagisil, applying soothing cream, rereading confusing instructions, applying soothing cream, making awkward eye contact with cats, surprise guests. I can tell that Barbara isn't the kind of woman that reaches for the stars, but tolerable temperatures? If you're made notably happy by tolerable temperatures, you'd probably chain together orgasms from a cookie. I think Barbara might actually be my dream girl. You could wave at her from the PlayStation and she'd be riding that high for a week. Every author hopes to be remembered by future generations for their wisdom. Ralph Waldo Emerson probably died with an enormous erection knowing that his words would one day mark the beginning of every high school valedictorian speech. Did Barbara imagine this when she wrote "hot dog buns"? Did she picture someone, some day, using her immortal words? "People of the future, welcome. You know, a wise person once said hot dog buns. Take these words with you as the future chairs on which you sit burrow cyber-tentacles into your body. From this moment on, the flesh harvesting mines of Glaar will be your home, and your grave." Fuck you, lady. How about that? (Classic comeback) Try to think about a time in your life where you were so depressed you had to turn to the fact that manhole covers exist for comfort. There's not even a word for that kind of depression. And if there was, you would have to beat a bleating walrus to death with a violin in order to pronounce it. But I think I might be stealing that idea from how George Lucas made Chewbacca's voice. "Why, I do declare, Mr. Beauregard! These mint julips are a fine, fine companion to this morning's overhearin's of banjos and rape." No one likes interacting with answering machines, but I imagine the invention of caller ID hit this woman harder than anyone. "Hi you two! I keep missing you! Well, this is Barbara again; I just wanted to call and chat about happiness. Things like, oh let's see... phones, carrying phones into kitchens, open gas ovens, broken pilot lights, heads in gas ovens, shiny cigarette lighters, long pauses, the sharp whistle of accelerant igniting, chilling silences... I'll call back in seven minutes!" Fine, sweater vests sort of make me happy too. I'm not a monster. When she runs out of things in her line of sight, Barbara sometimes writes down little sayings that make her happy. You know what? Good for her! We're very proud of you, Barbara! Oh, I'm so hopped up on the positive energy of reading "cuticle cream" and "Sylvester Stallone, actor" that I could burst! 500 Great Things About Being a Dad Steve Delsohn, 2001 $8.95 or 56 Gems per Dollar Steve Delsohn is a sentimental father with the wisdom of a much dumber man who happened to write down 500 intimate memories. #358: Dancing your baby to sleep to Natalie Merchant. #291: Eventually your toddler will stop biting. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, but both of these things only have a chance of happening if you are actually Steve Delsohn. Everything your kid does seems cute to you, which is the natural biological defense against discarding things that wail or squirt poop. The problem is, being surrounded with such cuteness all day ruptures a parent's cute containment system. Then all these cute little stories start spilling out whether they're relatable to anyone else or not. You know why there's not a national council in charge of pronouncing "chicken" correctly? Because no one fucking cares, Steve. Ha ha, that's not right at all, you racist kid! Keep doing it! Daddy is going to finish his book in an hour at this rate! Look, I'm not a doctor, Steve, but you need to stop transcribing your kid's speech impediments and get it to the orthodontist. Did he just watch Home Alone? What the shit does that mean? Well after careful thought, I think I have it narrowed down to three possibilities: A: He doesn't get along with people at work. "Steve, I just came by your desk to tell you that you're so stupid your kid probably can't even place in a spelling be- what's this!? A seventh place spelling bee ribbon!? I was wrong about you, Steve. You're alright." B: He lives in a bad neighborhood. "Give me your wallet, fool! Holy crap, is that kid holding a clock made out of a potato!? What were we talking about? Was I... oh yeah, I think I was giving you my wallet. See ya!" C: His children are a squad of heroes that make math fun. "Argh! How did the accused Calcumaster Juniors get past the puzzles of my sinister MathMaze so quickly!? No matter! They'll find the caverns of bicycle safety and diabetes even more treacherous!" Astonished by eggs, huh? I guess not all his kids are, how do I put this delicately... confusing to his yenemies. the wish list by Barbara Ann Kipfer, 1997 $6.95 or 863 Gems per Dollar A follow up to 14,000 Ways to Type Brain Vomit, this is Barbara Ann Kipfer's list of 6000 achievements to check off, many of them subjective, even more of them impossible. It jumps between "be appointed ambassador to China" (page 209) to "be strong enough to lift a car" (page 228). Those might be bad examples, since you could easily check both of those off by being Hulk Hogan and the ambassador to China in my screenplay of China Dad. The problem with handing the reins of your life over to a book like this is, and this is only a theory, it seems like it's just some stupid bitch typing every single thing that pops in her head and publishing it. And to get a window into Barbara's brilliant mind, "weave my own baskets" (page 262) follows shortly on the heels of "weave a basket" (page 107). She also gives you the option to check off both "learn to box" and "take boxing lessons." Maybe there's a box for "have the plot of the film Memento based on you" or "suffer multiple concussions" in there somewhere. So if even the author and her worst-person-ever Editor didn't read this book, what kind of person would? Luckily, I got this copy from a used book store, and it's been used. Scattered through the first half of the book, dozens and dozens of boxes have been lovingly checked off. Strange boxes. Using these as clues, I'm going to try to figure out who owned this book before me. This is a good clue. Not very many people walk in space. However, game designer Richard Garriott went into space last year with DNA samples from a ton of people including Stephen Colbert, Steven Hawking and the American Gladiator "Beast." He would have taken Nitro's DNA to space, but that shit already happens every time he jerks off. Boom! So I guess maybe this doesn't narrow our search field down as much as I'd hoped. It does serve as a warning to any commercial aircraft flying over Nitro's hydraulic masturbation chamber, though. It looks like unfiltered solar radiation from the reader's space walk didn't have any harmful effects on his or her pulsing brood of baby eggs. This is much better news for them than it is for us. He or she squeezed a fictional bread monster? Either this book owner missed with the pencil or their time in outer space showed them things we can't imagine. Smart. Very smart. They know we're onto them. What luck that the author of the book included such a bizarre scientific achievement and then the book made it into the hands of the one person who achieved it! It's almost... too perfect. Wait, this is so weirdly specific that I'm starting to think the book was written backwards around these circumstances. Is this the author's own copy, written after returning from the stars? Maybe she got so tired of people leaving during the story of her 10 minute mystery novel shopping spree that she actually invented a circumstance where it could be appreciated. This narrows it down a bit more. It's either long-dead Swiss physician Adolf Fick or his partner Edouard Kalt. So we're dealing with time travel or a haunted book. I'll adjust my screaming accordingly. Heart-breaking to fans of irony, this one wasn't checked. I guess the reader took one look at themselves checking off boxes in a list of things to do with their life and realized this particular one didn't apply. They must have had some kind of epiphany, because the frequency of box-checking after this page dropped dramatically. They didn't even check off easy ones like "sleep with the door open." Unless... was this owned by the ghost of an ancient eye doctor astronaut held prisoner in time jail on charges trumped up by the floor cleaner industry? Well that throws a monkey wrench into my investigation. OK, so now we're looking for a lunatic space woman with jumper cables attached to her reproductive system, taking credit for inventing contact lenses. Uh oh. What the fuck does she have planned? What? Whoever this book owner is, we haven't heard the last of them. Some day the scope of their grand plans will all be explained, but probably only to the Super Friends after they are shrunken and helpless inside tiny jars. 2,002 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up Cyndi Haynes, 1998 $8.95 or 224 Gems per Dollar Every day, things fail and do the exact opposite of their intended purpose. Dirty sponges, land mines filled with medicine, fat girls stripping, a Kraken that buys everyone pizza when you release it... but this book takes it to the next level. This book is like a diaper that melts into shit when you pee on it. For page after page, Cyndi Haynes rewords "Give your life over to Christ!" and "Try frozen yogurt!" 1001 different ways each. It's 2,002 cries for help that your crushed soul can no longer can answer. Courage to what, put my head in a rope and jump? Picturing someone typing that really, really makes me want to cry. Fuck this, I have to stop reading this book before I press down on this razor. 2002 Ways to Say "I Love You" Cyndi Haynes and Dale Edwards, 1995 $5.95 or 336 Gems per Dollar Books that Cyndi Haynes writes with her husband Dale are more insane than depressing. The two of them wrote many 2002 Something or Other books together, and their love for each other... well, I'll let #1170 set the stage: "Invite her childhood friends and their dolls to an old-fashioned tea party in her honor." My point is, they're so open with their saccharine wuvvy duvvy that it feels like you're walking in on Care Bears fucking. They live in a world of surprise quilts, puns and scavenger hunts that lead to love letters. And they want you to come along. Be sure to do this in a book the two of you are co-writing together, you total whore. I have never dated a girl that let me call it that. I have gone out with girls that call it that, but never a second time. This really seems like basic human politeness rather than an act of love. It's a little scary that Dale's wife needs to remind herself to not say, "I bet your diseased-dick urine sample melted through the doctor's gloves. He's going to come out here screaming and holding up sizzling nubs that used to be his hands, melted away by your super AIDS. Shit, you make this whole waiting room smell like a herpe. I haven't had a date this bad since my last boyfriend took me to an STD clinic to dig for cans in the trash." "Sure, lady, I can build your husband a think tank. An abstract concept like that's going to cost you, though. Cannons and armor I can get my hands on, but human brains... I can't exactly walk into a schoolboy store and start lopping off heads, you know what I mean? Tell you what, lady, I'll blow my magic whistle five times in the elf tree tonight and if you're still a fuckin' nutbar tomorrow, come on in and we'll work out a price." "Hey, Dale, thanks for having us over to watch fights at your place, but I'm really tired of kissing you every time I have to take a piss. You got an alternate route to the bathroom, or are we going to sit around being homos all day?" Dale thought of this one just before the pounding surf pulled him to a cold grave. He'll be missed, the poor, brave bastard. But with 386 ways to say "I Love You" still left to write, could his widow carry on finishing the book? Here is the very next one: "1617. Put your out of season attire in storage to create more closet space for her clothes." She's... she's so strong. She's the real Mariah Carey's "Hero." Thanks for the generous act of charity, bitch. Seriously, what harpy beasts did this guy date before Cyndi that this would be notable? "Skreee!!! I don't care if you needed to get up at 7:30! My favorite number is noon! Plus, you know how clock buttons scratch my claws! Agh, look what you made me do! All this spraying stomach acid is ruining my lipstick! Caw!" This is probably a lot easier when you're a woman-shaped swarm of insects surrounding an enchanted pig's skull like Dale's wife. He probably took out an ad that said, "Shooting her does no good! Each part of my wife must be individually burned to destroy her! We're too late! Evacuate this bus!"