Sunday, February 7, 2010

PJ O'Rourke Taught Me How to Drive Fast While Getting My Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill My Drink

When I was in Junior high school, I was given a copy of National Lampoon. If you are not familiar with the publication, it is a lot like Saturday Night Live in printed format. There is a lot of satire, sexual innuendo, and general silliness all of which is perfect for the pre-adolescent or adolescent teenage male. Among my favorite writers was a guy by the name of PJ O'Rourke.

I like PJ's writing style but what hooked me were the titles of his stories. Many times they actually had something to do with what the story was about, but on some occasions, I could never figure out the connection between the title and the actual story. What the titles did do was to pique my interest enough to read what he had written. And I did.

PJ is one of few authors who I looked for whenever I got a new copy of the magazine; I wanted to see what words of wisdom he was going to pass on that month. Many of these articles formed the basis of opinions that I would later solidify with my own beliefs. I recall that one of the first articles of his that I ever read by him was How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink. That article was how PJ earned my gratitude -- because later in life I did drive fast and even though I never did drugs, I did get my wing-wang squeezed and managed not spill my drink. It might not be the kind of thing that get you nominated for a Nobel Prize, but it is the sort of stuff that keeps life interesting.

As I got older, I stopped reading National Lampoon and moved on to other periodicals and books. I would catch the occasional article by PJ O'Rourke that was published in Esquire, Rolling Stone or other magazines. As he got older and a little less wild and more conservative, so did I. He recently released Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-bending, Celebrating America the Way It's Supposed To Be which includes the story I mentioned above as well as many other reprints and some new words as well, including How to Drive Fast When the Drugs Are Mostly Lipitor, the Wing-Wang Needs More Squeezing Than It Used to Before It Gets the Idea, and Spilling Your Drink Is No Problem If You Keep the Sippy Cups from When Your Kids Were Toddlers and Leave the Baby Seat in the Back Seat so that When You Get Pulled Over You Look Like a Perfectly Innocent Grandparent. Very enjoyable. There are even a couple of tales about motorcycles.

So why do I bring a PJ O'Rourke at this point in my blog? Well, it's because I get e-mails. Most of the e-mails either mention or are about the titles of my entries and what I am trying to do by making them less than a boring. I am simply showing off a lesson that I learned many years ago from an author I will never meet named PJ O'Rourke. If it hadn't been for his titles, I might never have discovered his humor. For that lesson, I say thanks PJ. (BTW I don't think I will ever use the words wing-wang ever again in this blog.)


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