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runs three times a week in the Sarasota HeraldTribune and also appears occasionally in other
papers around the world when they can't find
anything better to fill the space.
He has won many awards, including the
coveted Tin Kazoo from the Venice Community
Center and a rubber chicken from Sarasota
magazine. Dave Barry, on the other hand, has
only one Pulitzer to show for his work.
David began writing his humor column in
1985 when it became clear he had no talent for
other, more useful, jobs at the paper. David
knew he was going nowhere when his first
story for the newspaper, a 1500-word "investigative" piece on a local adult bookstore, was
trimmed to 50 words. He has been heavily edited ever since.
Somehow the rumor got started that David
has an anti-Canadian bias. Nothing could be further from the truth. During the course of a year,
only a small fraction (22 percent) of David’s
columns make any reference whatsoever to
Canadians, and many times his remarks are flattering, sympathetic, or, at the very least, nonlibelous. In fact, given the choice, he would much
rather write nasty things about the French.

shirt) and Buster think
of nice things to say
about Canadians. Or
perhaps they are merely
contemplating an early
lunch.

Grimes

Pineapple
Press, Inc.

David Grimes (in the red

Tourists, Retirees, and Other Reasons to Stay in Bed

Author photo by Thomas E. Bender, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

David Grimes’ humor column

Sarasota, Florida

Cover by Steve Weaver and ospreydesign
Pineapple
Press, Inc.

David Grimes

TOURISTS,
RETIREES, AND
OTHER REASONS
TO STAY IN BED
David Grimes

Pineapple Press, Inc.
S ar a s ot a ,

F lorida

Copyright © 2000 by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. David Grimes’ columns
originally appeared in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and are being reprinted
with the permission of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or
by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publisher.
Inquiries should be addressed to:
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3899
Sarasota, Florida 34230
www.pineapplepress.com.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Grimes, David.
Tourists, retirees, and other reasons to stay in bed / by David Grimes.—
1st ed.
p. cm.
ISBN 1-56164-207-X (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. American wit and humor.
PN6162 .G75 2000
814’.54—dc21
00-031355

First Edition
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Design by ospreydesign
Printed and bound by Versa Press, East Peoria, Illinois

To MOM, the tireless typist

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tourists, Retirees and Other Good Reasons to Stay in Bed
Are Our Retirees in Retreat? 3
Be Kind to the Canadians 6
Canadian Radio Redux 10
Granny Sweat Boosts Health 13
Endless Summer Begins Again 17
Forecast: Panic in Florida 19
How to Read a Real Estate Guide 22
Though Often Confused, Retirees, Love Bugs Differ 26
Too Slow, Too Ugly, Too Many Tourists 29
Life in Florida
Best to Just Say Nothing 34
Church Bulletin Writers Need Forgiveness 37
Bonding Over Garlic Bread 40
Drowning in a Sea of Juice 43
Fending Off Fruit Fiends 46
How to Write a Juicy Story 49
Let the Feds Cut Your Grass 52
Mickey’s Little Secret 55
Oranges on Plates a Fruitless Idea 58
Oldsters Flock to West Virginia 61
No. 2 Whines Harder 64

Critters
Along Came a Spider 68
Gators Got It Rough 71
Here, Lizard, Lizard 74
Hey, Buddy, Wanna Buy a Beetle? 77
“Pest” Is a Four-Letter Word 80
Scratch Another Mascot 83
This Is Your Dog on Drugs 86
Weighing In on Snooty 89
A Real Dog of a Lawsuit 92
Alarming Medical News
Bad Hair Days Not So Bad 96
Columns Pose a Health Hazard 99
Go Ahead, America, Blow Those Noses! 102
Stop Watching Martha Stewart 105
Thanks for the Intestines 108
The Dirt on Office Bathrooms 113
What Ice Cream Says About You 116
Holidaze
Accidents Happen on Valentine’s Day 120
Gobble, Gobble, Bow-Wow-Wow 123
Have a Jolly Gourd Time 126
Holiday Lights to Laugh At 129
How to Increase Holiday Bickering 132
Nothing Like the Real Thing 135
Party On, Pilgrim Dudes 138
Santa Says Take This Quiz 141
The Big Flying Reindeer Debate 145
Trick or Treat Trauma 148
Valentine’s Day is Scarier Than Halloween 151
What Lassie Wants for Christmas 154

FOREWORD

I

’ve known David Grimes for over fifteen years now, so I
feel it’s my duty, in this short introduction to his
extraordinary oeuvre, to let the oeuvre speak for itself
and describe instead David Grimes the person.
It is not an easy task. Take, for example, that party I went
to in his garage. Yes, David Grimes entertains in his garage.
He moved an old couch in there, plus a braided rug, and he
sits with a bag of potato chips in one hand and can of beer
in the other and receives visitors. He offered no excuse for

vii

viii

FOREWORD

this odd behavior, which leads me to believe he does it all the
time.
Now, about the car. He parks it in the driveway, and you
should see it. It’s always different but always the same — some
enormous old clunker with 150,000 miles, belching smoke and
fishtailing down the road. I don’t know where he gets these
things, some particularly inexpensive dealership in Oneco no
doubt, but in a way they perfectly reflect their owner — bloated, thirsty, and needing to go through the car wash not once
but three times.
Yes, David Grimes leads a very strange life. He sits home all
day being funny in his head, or, more precisely, raging against
Canadians in his head. Needless to say, this has taken its toll
and he can often be seen wandering around the area golf
courses talking to himself.
He has an overweight pug rumored to have mental problems
and a son, Michael, who is getting so big these days we fear that
next time he may be tried as an adult. He also has a lovely wife,
Teri, whom, when discussing her marriage looks up at you with
limpid blue eyes that seem to cry out “Save me!”
Some say he’s a Sarasota institution. Some say he belongs
in a Sarasota institution.
Here in your hands is the evidence.
Don’t judge him too harshly—unless you’re Canadian.
Bob Plunket
Bob Plunket is a Sarasota author and part-time
actor. His most recent book is Walker Evans:
Florida. He claims to have actually met Madonna.

I.
TOURISTS, RETIREES,
AND OTHER REASONS TO
STAY IN BED

ARE OUR RETIREES
IN RETREAT?

I

read in the newspaper that St. Petersburg’s nicknames of
“Wrinkle City” and “God’s Waiting Room” are no longer
accurate. The population of this famous retirement
haven is getting younger and the percentage of senior citizens
who live there is going down. The same thing is happening in
other Florida cities as more young people move in and retirees
scatter to other states such as South Carolina and Arizona.
The article in USA Today said the St. Petersburg
Shuffleboard Club, once the world’s largest with 5,000 mem-

3

4

DAV I D GR I MES

bers, now has only a hundred. The downtown area, once a
place of wig shops and discount pharmacies offering free
blood pressure testing, now is overrun with Generation Xers
milling about art galleries and cafés.
I find all of this to be terribly depressing, and not just
because I am plummeting toward retirement age at a rate one
normally associates with incoming asteroids.
Florida simply would not be Florida without its senior citizens. They are as much a part of our way of life as love bugs
and humidity, and I can’t imagine the place without them.
Senior citizens contribute a lot to our society, and I am not
just talking about early bird specials and slow driving. Without
senior citizens, we would not have the famous bumper stickers
“Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren,” “I’m Out
Spending My Children’s Inheritance,” and the immortal “If I
Knew How Much Fun Grandchildren Were, I Would Have Had
Them First.”
Senior citizens have a huge impact on the economy over
and above laxative sales and denture adhesive. Many golf
courses would go out of business if it weren’t for senior citizens, not to mention the clothing companies that make those
red-and-yellow checked slacks and floppy hats that look like
inverted bait buckets.
The entertainment industry would also suffer terrible losses if our senior citizens packed up and went somewhere else.
For one thing, we would never again see that medical alarm
commercial with the famous line, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t
get up!” Ed McMahon would have to quit pitching life insurance and get a real job, perhaps as a Chippendale dancer or
racquetball instructor.
It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun going to the movies
without our senior citizens. I’ve often found the constant, loud
chatter of the elderly couple seated behind me more entertaining than whatever was happening on the screen. Shouted

TOURISTS, RETIREES, AND …

5

questions such as “Who’s that?” and “What did he say?” also
help drown out those slow parts of the movie where all the
characters are doing is talking to one another.
Traveling would also be more challenging in the absence of
our senior citizens. Whenever I’m flying back to Florida, I can
always tell my gate by the crowd of silver-haired ladies and
gentlemen waiting patiently for their flight. Without these
people to show me the way, there’s no telling where I might
end up.
Phoenix, perhaps. . . .

Tourists, Retirees, and Other
Reasons to Stay in Bed
by
David Grimes

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