Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A Carolina Parrothead Book Review
"A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean"
by Gary Buslik
Dear God in heaven I have about come to the conclusion that I have fallen through some hole in the space-time continuum and at best landed in an outlying area of Purgatory. I would say I have set down in hell but while the politicians on television hint that is the case only a few actually seem demonic, they rest are just incompetent while possessing enormous egos suggesting reality has become some sort of zany cartoon or bad Twilight Zone episode. Still though, the oppressive summer heat and humidity, being trapped in a soulless suburb filled with pod people hours away from the ocean, and the near constant chore of driving my children around to their activities and social functions has all conspired to suck the life out of me.
Anyone who enjoys the life of a suburbia pod person all I can say, with all due respect, is more power to you. But I view dithering over such asinine things like concern over the proper shade of green for their lawn, whether the new furniture clashes with the old wallpaper, or if the family needs a new SUV because the neighbor next door bought one as a form of hell. Not that I interact with the neighbors, to them at the very least I am an odd alien from another dimension that it is far better ignored. At worst I am budding terrorist out to destroy the pod and corrupt the hive mind. My wife does intermingle with those people and I must admit that I do have some sympathy for the embarrassment she has to suffer putting up with my antisocial ways. That does not stop me from taking a blood sample from her for analysis after she returns from any visit in the neighborhood. Dragonwife has pod person leanings already and I do not need her infecting the children who are both showing strong signs of original thought and behavior but not my disagreeable inclinations.
Stuck for the foreseeable future in such an environment keeping what little bit of sanity I have is a prime concern. I have developed several tactics to alleviate my stress and frustrations, most of which are family friendly and do not involve nakedness. The most extreme, but still being fully clothed, has me dressing up for a beach party complete with loud Hawaiian shirt, baggy cargo shorts, straw hat, sandals, and sunglasses then sticking my feet in my daughters old sandbox while I hold a beer in one hand and conch shell to my ear with the other. With my eyes closed I listen to the ocean through the conch shell while Jimmy Buffett plays in the background and an open bottle of sunscreen provides a needed olfactory angle to the simulation. What would really seal the deal would be the feel of both pieces of a bikini lying in my lap casually tossed there by a now naked nymph who with her come-hither look beckons me to join her for a swim. But for reasons I will not go into such a thing just isn’t possible.
The other method is to immerse myself into some book with a strong Caribbean panache that can transport me away from my mutated American Dream. That brings me to the point of yet another rancid post and the wasting of my reader’s valuable time.
Cruising around Amazon a few months ago Gary Buslik’s “A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean” popped up in my recommended list and it looked like just the book to help me survive these dreadful summer days. It is a collection of short stories as the hero, the author himself, travels the Caribbean surviving all manner of misadventures and colorful characters one of them being his wife. Along the way he tells us about cockfighting in Grenada; surviving a trip to Castro’s Cuba while sneaking a manuscript out of the country under the nose of a commie informer as a favor to a fearful Cuban author; and smuggling illegal stogies out of St. Martin among many other extremely funny and irreverent adventures. My favorite stories involve him urinating on Idi Amin and the explanation of why chicken rectums are more relevant than you might think.
The most amazing thing for me about this very talented professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago is that he makes it clear he is a political conservative but never once does he beat the reader over the head with it. Pardon my bipartisan spirit here but this is a fellow for whom I could sit down on a sandy beach with and, if endowed with the proper political power, could find compromises that could straighten out the cluster fuck called the United States. All the while getting totally wasted drinking beer and watching the hot babes walk past in skimpy swimsuits.
For anyone suffering through similar suburban induced trials and tribulations or for anyone just wanting a well written and funny book I highly recommend this one.