4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People
As a collector of the strange, I own enough books about homemade bombs that I won't have any fingers by the time I figure out which one is right. I have an academic understanding of how to perform anal or kill someone from a wheelchair. I know over 700,000 ways to be happy, and all of them are depressing. And if I've followed these instructions correctly, I am currently invisible by both magician and ninja standards.
Despite all these bizarre books for bizarre people, some of the stupidest ones I own are for a group everyone eventually joins -- the elderly. Here are four books for the extremely old and extremlier dumb.
1,003 Great Things About Getting Older by Lisa Birnbach, Patricia Marx, David Owen, Ann Hodgman (1997)
As I've discovered from my unanticipated scrutiny of these books, no single author can come up with 1,000 ways to do or be anything. Around 17 or 18, they run out of ideas and start typing anything that pops into their head like an asshole tweeting their lunch. To solve this problem, 1,003 Great Things About Getting Older was written by four people. Four lazy, moronic, insane people.
What makes this collaboration special is that each author has a distinctive voice. Among Lisa, Patricia, David, and Ann, one of them is absolutely a rapist, and one of them is absolutely a murderer. One of them is just some idiot watching TV, and one of them is a barely literate waste of medicine. Let's see if you can guess who wrote each of these!
I can't emphasize enough the fucking craziness of this book.
And if a box is labeled "toxic metals," no one expects you to eat it. Yet here you are, demented and trying to convince everyone that umbrellas and civic duty are a young man's game.
It seems like the cute, joke part of this one got left out. Or maybe this self-help author was simply in a lot of pain and wished they would die. That's understandable, but it also may be the worst anyone has ever been at their job.
It's my natural instinct to make fun of someone shitting in their own pants, but not when they write this well. Terrific job, author.
Whoa, two pages ago, this author watched the last of his or her enemies die. Have they killed again so soon, or has one of the other three writers taken up murder? Shouldn't all of these similar entries about dead people have been caught by the book's editor? Unless ... my God, they killed him.
So you're saying that when men get to a certain age, they instinctively know when someone wants to get raped? I'm not comfortable that you chose to call that "great."
Troublesome for whom, rapist?
Especially with you standing over her bed, sharpening your breast knife.
Jesus Christ, did someone mislabel a book of necromancer spells? I was expecting to read bad jokes about early dinner times and senior discounts, and now I'm expecting to read passages that will invite Cthugha unto our plane.
A lot of comedy is about context and timing, so when you're writing a joke, you want to immediately mention your dead parents and then nothing else.
I wish I was a psychologist so I could tell if an author was crazy for talking only about dead bodies and beating up their parents.
That's a great point, but I'm worried you might actually be chewing on rectal thermometers.
I'm shocked that among a murderer, a rapist, and two idiots, one of them has had frankly more than enough of all this damn Jewish talk.
Is that because of your age, or because no one today remembers how to destroy a warlock?
In any other book, I'd assume that this was only a stupid observation from a stupid person. In this book, it almost certainly means that beloved star Julie Andrews managed to fight off the author's sexual assault.
I'm guessing that's because police would shoot to kill if they ever saw you.
This idiot sure wrote a lot of entries about how difficult it is for him or her to be prosecuted. Maybe they think that after 50 percent of your body is made up of swallowed chewing gum, human laws no longer apply to you.
Most writers type and retype a sentence dozens of times before they perfect it. For example, before I decided that that previous inhuman idiot was swallowing chewing gum, I had them filled with everything from horse semen to stray cat blood. The point is, for every line you read, there are five or six lines you don't, most of them involving semen. Does this author do that? Was there a worse version of "There are lots of interesting nature programs on public television"? And if so, what could that have been? "My favorite color of poop is seven"? Maybe just the words "Paul Newman"?
Oh, come on.
What an oddly specific yet oddly unhelpful tip. I'm guessing the barely literate waste of medicine wrote this one, because if you took a CAT scan of this author's brain, it would generate an image of two tiny wheelchairs crashing into each other.
They're probably too busy explaining to you why your mother shouldn't have used lead paint as homemade ultrasound gel.
If you spent five years teaching an ape sign language and it said anything close to this stupid, the other primatologists would mock you for wasting everyone's time.
I hope when I'm elderly I spend less time than these authors masturbating to the obituaries.
But that jar of her teeth and finger bones will last forever.
I've said some rude things about the authors of this book, but to their credit, they went 935 entries before complaining that they should have spent their youth being harder on their slaves.
Things to Do Now That You're ... 50 by Robert Allen (2005)
Most of this book is a list of famous tourist attractions. If you asked the world's most ordinary, uninspired person to write down 50 destination spots, it would be a word-for-word copy of the first 50 pages of this piece of trash. I'm not saying it's useless, I'm simply saying that if you need a book to remind you what a France is, you'll be just as happy climbing into that old refrigerator you found.
Luckily for this article, author Robert Allen starts to lose his mind shortly after he's done listing his boring girlfriend's dream vacations.
When you see how easy it is, you'll go from thinking you wasted $6.50 on a book to knowing it.
You might as well try it, but I think the other X-Men are going to call you a pussy, Captain Aging Spoon Bender.
Robert is both a senior citizen and an idiot, so try to be understanding when he forgets that we tested our psychic powers for free at home 20 pages ago.
This potion recipe is missing a lot of details, but don't worry about it. If I'm fussing over bedsores and gangrene at 50, following sensible advice probably isn't my thing.
I'd need a dentist to check these figures, but wouldn't someone trying this have way too many penises in his mouth to yell?
Oh crap, I already used the perfect response to this one.
Sometimes I worry about hurting people's feelings when I say things like author Robert Allen writes with all the skill and wit of a man accidentally peeing on a hornet hive. Lucky for Robert that it looks like he won't remember it.
If you want to get someone to hate you with your socks, this works even better than putting them on your hands and punching his wife.
When a man tells you to get nude at a baseball game, spontaneously tickle children, and bathe in donkey milk, follow his advice. After all, who could be wrong in that many directions at once?
Hot-air balloon rides are a terrific way to combine danger and boredom. That's probably why so many people refer to the hot-air balloon as "the unprotected sex while watching Cloud Atlas of the sky."
What a great tip! Robert Allen gets all his best ideas when he's in a hot-air balloon, and every single one of them is "hot-air balloon." You know, until I came along to make fun of it, I bet no one ever read this book, including the man writing it.
Buddy, by this point I think your family is going to see the whole hot-air-balloon thing coming.
I imagine participating in something like that created a truly lasting memory for this book's author.
1,003 Ways to Stay Young by Ann Hodgman (2007)
Ten years after 1,003 Great Things About Getting Older was published, one of the elderly authors still lived -- Ann Hodgman. Working solo, she put together her own collection of tidbitty advice for old people that ranged from useless to wrong to the desperate flailings of a senile mind. Of her previous writing team, I'm still not sure who the sex offender or the murderer were, but Ann was definitely one of the stupid ones.
1,003 Ways to Stay Young seems to have been written in a world where pretending to be a baby is the highest form of comedy. How it got to our Earth is unclear, but whatever interdimensional beasts brought it to us are assholes. At least 300 of the suggestions are "jokes" like this:
Every childish behavior Ann could think of makes an appearance in the book. Not eating vegetables, not cleaning your room ... behaving like a baby is apparently a convincing way to show off your youthful vigor. When Ann Hodgman accidentally craps into her diaper, the other people in the assisted living center are like, "Well, la dee da! Look at Miss Teen USA!"
Without the other three writers to help with all 1,003 witticisms, Ann ran out of ideas somewhere in the teens. She started filling space in her manuscript with literally anything. This came from a long, long section where Ann rewrote single lines from nursery rhymes with references to old people and their imminent death. Why? Because this book was written by someone who stopped making fresh brain cells long before irony was invented. Her sense of humor is so old, it died of Spanish flu.
After three pages, the nursery rhymes stopped rhyming. And this would be fine if there were no consequences, but every time Ann Hodgman types, a pediatrician has to explain to a mother that there's no scientific explanation why her baby no longer smiles -- it's simply as if some dark force peeled the joy from it. Ann swings and misses at cute on a supernatural scale. If she tried to tell her grandchildren about a new puppy, her mouth would wordlessly spray diarrhea.
Yes, this is tragic, but you wouldn't be funny either if Death sat in front of you all day, watching you chew. Ann Hodgman's idea of a joke is random letters placed near the word "wrinkles," and her idea of advice is biting shapes into the flesh of the living.
Ann's solo attempt at writing a book is so awful that I kind of miss the rapist.
Ann Hodgman is the reason parents can no longer administer home schooling directly to a child's brain with a hammer.
Ann really rode that train of logic all the way to the end. I wonder if thinking that hard wakes up the raccoons that made a nest in her skull.
At some point every elderly advice author has to deal with the tough issue of whether or not to touch poison ivy. I wonder if this is why convalescent homes have bingo halls and not science labs.
To Ann's credit, if you were a dying dementia patient with only one teaspoon of cerebrospinal fluid left, you wouldn't know how to do medical research either.
Ann is still waiting on some test results, but I think she's onto something. Before this, her only concept of respiratory health was turning her gaping mummy mouth away from incoming locust swarms.
Everyone feels young when there's a clown closing in on them. Plus, after all that birthday cake, a clown attack is a great way to shed a few ax-shaped chunks of pounds.
That doesn't sound right to me, but Ann's the one who stayed awake through her last 22 clinical deaths, so I defer to her judgment.
Wait, what? You have to explain to your readers about touching poison ivy and now you're daring them to skitter into traffic and dodge cars? Is Ann actually some kind of amalgamation of government agencies trying to get out of paying Social Security checks?
Out of 1,003 pieces of advice about staying young, only about four mention sex. This isn't one of them, though. Astroglide is how Ann gave herself a hysterectomy. The moment her reproductive system spotted a lubricated hole, it squeezed itself through and scuttled into the night. Villagers jabbed it with torches for hours before it stopped screaming.
I think an elderly man who tells everyone how much he loves Justin Bieber is what you call "lead suspect," not "youthful." This book should have been called 1,003 Reasons Stupid Dingbats Should Hit Backspace. The editor was worse at his job than the vampire hunters Ann Hodgman keeps defeating.
If you want your reader to feel young, maybe try sentences that aren't made entirely out of words that no longer exist.
You might be right, Ann, but the life cycle of your mouth flies can give us a pretty accurate assessment of when you died.
Easy Crosswords for Seniors FOR DUMMIES by Timothy E. Parker (2011)
Despite all the embarrassing ailments of the elderly, it's hard to picture anyone with self-esteem low enough to buy something called Easy Crosswords for Seniors FOR DUMMIES. These crosswords are so simple that the solution section is just a reminder that candy is fun. It respects that the reader was educated before the invention of five-letter words, and if you tear out the pages and use them to line your bird cage, that alone solves over half the clues.
These books for and by the elderly have taught me so much about them. I now know that they suffer from both humorlessness and bladder control problems during sex -- a combination that, to me, seems paradoxical. More than that, it's taught me that no matter how feeble-minded and fluid-squirting we become in our twilight years, we'll always have a job waiting for us in book publishing.
For more of his literature-themed hilarity, try Your Best Friend Robot and the Chamber of Spectacular Death or 5 Baffling Perspectives on Boning.