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!

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

I can't emphasize enough the fucking craziness of this book.

135 SSed WHO WROTE THIS ONE? Ifit's raining, no one A. Rapist O B Murderer expects to vote. O C. Some Idiot Watching TV you D. Barely Literate Waste o

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.

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

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.

328 oniont Adult diapers actually WHO WROTE THIS ONE? lS.soody are A. Rapist 05ay O B Murderer kind of convenient. C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Barely

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.

144 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? More and more people A. Rapist O B Murderer hate dead. O C. Some Idiot Watching TV P you are D. Barely Literate Waste of Medic

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.

211. THINGS THAT AREN'T SO GREAT ABOUT BEING YOUNG: WHO WROTE THIS ONE? A. Rapist Having to figure out whether O B. Murderer no means yes C. Some Idio

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."

212. THINGS THAT AREN'T SO GREAT ABOUT BEING YOUNG: WHO WROTE THIS ONE? A. Rapist Troublesome erections O B Murderer o C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Ba

Troublesome for whom, rapist?

214. THINGS THAT AREN'T SO GREAT ABOUT BEING YOUNG: WHO WROTE THIS ONE? A. Rapist Firm, firm breasts: How B. Murderer are you supposed to sleep? O C.

Especially with you standing over her bed, sharpening your breast knife.

217. THINGS THAT AREN'T SO GREAT ABOUT BEING YOUNG: WHO WROTE THIS ONE? A. Rapist Twenty B. Murderer twenty vision: better to see the horrors of life

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.

219. THINGS THAT AREN'T SO GREAT ABOUT BEING YOUNG: WHO WROTE THIS ONE? Having A. Rapist parents O B Murderer o C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Barely Li

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.

222 mapo WHO WROTE THIS ONE? LYe You can probably A. Rapist di O B Murderer beat C. Some Idiot Watching TV up your father. O D. Barely Literate Waste

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.

865 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? Cough drops come in many A. Rapist O B Murderer interesting flavors. C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Barely Literate Waste of Med

That's a great point, but I'm worried you might actually be chewing on rectal thermometers.

229 SSed WHO WROTE THIS ONE? You know than more A. Rapist O B Murderer enough Hebrew. O C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Barely Literate Waste of Medicine

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.

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

Is that because of your age, or because no one today remembers how to destroy a warlock?

765 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? Julie Andrews still A. Rapist O B Murderer packs wallop. O C. Some Idiot Watching TV 1 a D. Barely Literate Waste of Medicine

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.

320 oonnon WHO WROTE THIS ONE? S.seoy No police 05ay more A. Rapist O B Murderer lineups. O C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Barely Literate Waste of Medi

I'm guessing that's because police would shoot to kill if they ever saw you.

404 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? It's harder and harder to make those A. Rapist O B Murderer sexual harassment charges stick. C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Bare

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.

567 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? There lots of are interesting A. Rapist O B Murderer nature C. Some Idiot Watching TV programs on public television. O D. Bare

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"?

600 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? O A. Rapist Paul Newman. O B Murderer O C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Barely Literate Waste of Medicine

Oh, come on.

888 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? Senior citizens ride the buses free at A. Rapist O B Murderer certain times of the day in Philadelphia. O C. Some Idiot Watchi

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.

396 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? No has explain Rapist one to to why A. you O B Murderer Sean Connery is celebrity. O C. Some Idiot Watching TV a D. Barely Lit

They're probably too busy explaining to you why your mother shouldn't have used lead paint as homemade ultrasound gel.

901 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? Peter Jennings like A. Rapist seems O B Murderer such C. TV nice Some Idiot Watching a man. D. Barely Literate Waste of Medici

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.

763 WHO WROTE THIS ONE? You the first A. were not person Rapist O B Murderer in college class O Some Idiot to die. C. Watching TV your D. Barely Liter

I hope when I'm elderly I spend less time than these authors masturbating to the obituaries.

932 oniont WHO WROTE THIS ONE? lS.soody The statute of limitations A. Rapist 05ay O B Murderer has probably expired. C. Some Idiot Watching TV D. Bare

But that jar of her teeth and finger bones will last forever.

936 SSed WHO WROTE THIS ONE? At last you're old enough to A. Rapist O B Murderer like C. Some Idiot Watching TV treat servants servants. D. Barely Lit

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)

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

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.

#614: Write your own list of things you want to do now you're fifty.

When you see how easy it is, you'll go from thinking you wasted $6.50 on a book to knowing it.

#628: Cultivate your psychic powers. See if you can bend spoons using only the power of your mind.

You might as well try it, but I think the other X-Men are going to call you a pussy, Captain Aging Spoon Bender.

#877: Take an ESP (extrasensory perception) test. Do you have psychic powers? You'll never know unless you do a test.

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.

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

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.

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

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?

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

Oh crap, I already used the perfect response to this one.

#494: If you can't use in-line skates, get your kids to teach you. You'll enjoy it after the bruises have worn off.

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.

#172: Wear odd socks and wait for someone to remark on them. Then say, Strangely enough I have another pair exactly like them at home!

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.

#480: If you've never streaked at a major sporting event, maybe you should consider it. Indulge the exhibitionist in you! #497: If you have young kids

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?

#256: Everybody should take at least one trip in a hot-air balloon.

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."

#653: Take a hot-air balloon flight and get an aerial photo of the place where you live.

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.

#510: Arrange a hot-air balloon flight for the whole family but don't tell them until just before they are due to go.

Buddy, by this point I think your family is going to see the whole hot-air-balloon thing coming.

#580: Do a sponsored parachute jump for charity.

I imagine participating in something like that created a truly lasting memory for this book's author.

#971: For the ultimate thrill, why not try skydiving?

Or not.

1,003 Ways to Stay Young by Ann Hodgman (2007)

1,003 Ways to Stay Young Ann Hougman

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:

#849 One way to seem younger: Shriek THAT'S MINE! whenever someone touches anything of yours. YIDEE!

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!"

#39 Hickory dickory dock, Time's running out on your clock... YIDEE!

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.

#50 This Old man, he played one, Uh-oh, time for the home! YIDEE!

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.

#4 Sorry, but holding your breath will not make you younger. #S Nor will trying to erase your wrinkles with Wite-Out. #f Or vaccuuming them. YIDEE!

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.

#35 Have a PIZZO.. #36 with everything on it. YIDEE!

Ann's solo attempt at writing a book is so awful that I kind of miss the rapist.

#S12 Buy an incubator and hatch some quail eggs. It won't make you younger, but haven't you always wanted to try it! Yioee!

Ann Hodgman is the reason parents can no longer administer home schooling directly to a child's brain with a hammer.

#33 A sports deodorant may make you feel sportier. YIDEE!

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.

#693 Be even more careful about poison ivy as the years go by. The more often you're exposed to it, the worse its effects will be YIDEE!

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.

#64S For awhile, taking estrogen after menopause was supposed to be the answer to everything. Then they said no, it was dangerous But now they're star

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.

#668 Vitamin E and exercise appear to help improve lung function. YIDEE!

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.

#17 Hire a down for your next birthday party. YIDEE!

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.

#402 Drink as much coffee as you want. It doesn't seem to hurt anything. YIDEE!

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.

#45 Remember: When the Don't Walk sign is flashing, it's OK to cross the street if no cars are coming. YIDEE!

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?

#672 How 'bout that Astroglide! YIDEE!

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.

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

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.

4 Hilarious Self-Help Books for Crazy Old People

If you want your reader to feel young, maybe try sentences that aren't made entirely out of words that no longer exist.

#1,001 At least people can't check how old you are by looking in your mouth, the way they do with horses. YIDEE!

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)

Moking Everyhing Easierf Easy Crosswords For Seniors FOR DUMMIES ar Learn SLDE to: GAILLYIX OIKILIA Salve A fan and easy Crossxor puzles aa BNATMIGE c

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.

Internet funnyman Seanbaby has a delightful pep and vigor. Visit him at GameGoon.com or follow him on Twitter.

For more of his literature-themed hilarity, try Your Best Friend Robot and the Chamber of Spectacular Death or 5 Baffling Perspectives on Boning.

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