An old dog learns new tricks from his dog, Lucy.
Pulitzer Prize winner Barry (Best. State. Ever: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland, 2017, etc.), well-known for his countless humorous columns and books, tackles a topic that most of us don’t find funny: aging. Once the author hit 70, the same age in dog years as Lucy, he started thinking more about the brevity of life. “If our lives were movie credits, we’d be way down at the bottom, past the assistant gerbil wrangler. If our lives were Cheez-It bags,” he writes, “we’d be at the stage where you hold the bag up and tilt it into your mouth to get the last crumbs. In other words: the End Is in Sight.” Despite her age, Lucy was almost always happy. So Barry set out to learn from her, compiling seven basic “lessons” from his observations. The lessons are filled with the author’s signature brand of quirky, sometimes-sarcastic humor as he wanders from topic to topic: a hurricane bearing down on the Florida coast; having his DNA analyzed; waiting interminably in line at an ice cream shop; hitting puberty and suddenly finding girls attractive; and accumulating stuff, particularly camera equipment. His integration of informative tidbits about his life helps readers see him as an average guy confronting his own mortality. Few topics are off-limits, and each ministory relates back to the lesson at hand, whether it’s to have more fun, make new friends, or pay attention right now to the people you love (put down the cellphone). Even for those who are not as enamored by dogs as the author, his gentle wisdom seeps through the humor. He successfully pokes fun at the aging process without wallowing in overly long discussions of declining health and the wear and tear of body parts.
Astute advice about growing older rolled into a blanket of classic Barry humor.