Dave Barry Quotations

Dave Barry

A Leader Who Will Lead, by Leading (His 2004 Presidential campaign theme)

All other nations are drinking Ray Charles beer and we are drinking Barry Manilow.

Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.

And as Americans, we must ask ourselves: Are we really so different? Must we stereotype those who disagree with us? Do we truly believe that ALL red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying roadkill-eating tobacco-juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that ALL blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing communist latte-sucking tofu-chomping holistic-wacko neurotic vegan weenie perverts? Yes. This is called "diversity," and it is why we are such a great nation -- a nation that has given the world both nuclear weapons AND SpongeBob Squarepants.

And, of course, you have the commercials where savvy businesspeople Get Ahead by using their MacIntosh computers to create the ultimate American business product: a really sharp-looking report.

A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

At least once per year, some group of scientists will become very excited and announce that:

But Edison's greatest achievement came in 1879, when he invented the electric company. Edison's design was a brilliant adaptation of the simple electrical circuit: the electric company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then immediately gets the electricity back through another wire, then (this is the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again. This means that an electric company can sell a customer the same batch of electricity thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few customers take the time to examine their electricity closely.

By the eighties, a lot of radio stations had started playing Sixties' music. They called it "classic rock," because they knew we'd be upset if they came right out and called it what it is, namely, "middle-aged person nostalgia music."

Camp Sharparoon was a camp for youths from inner-city New York who were popularly known at the time as "disadvantaged," which meant they knew a LOT more about sex than I did. I was in charge of a group of 12- and 13-year-old boys, and when they'd get to talking about sex, I, the counselor, the Voice of Maturity, the Father Figure for these Troubled Children, would listen intently, occasionally contributing helpful words of guidance such as: "Really?" And: "Gosh!" There were times when I would have given my right arm to be a disadvantaged youth.

Cigarette sales would drop to zero overnight if the warning said "CIGARETTES CONTAIN FAT."

Computers are getting smarter all the time: scientists tell us that soon they will be able to talk to us. (By "they" I mean "computers": I doubt scientists will ever be able to talk to us.)


Congress is thinking about eliminating a federal program under which scientists broadcast signals to alien beings. This would be a large mistake. Alien beings have nuclear blaster death cannons. You cannot cut off their federal programs as if they were merely poor people.

Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.

Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.

English cuisine has received a lot of unfair criticism over the years, but the truth is that it can be a very pleasant surprise to the connoisseur of severely overcooked livestock organs served in lukewarm puddles of congealed grease. England manufactures most of the world's airline food, as well as all the food you ever ate in your junior-high-school cafeteria.

Every day literally hundreds of ordinary Americans -- people just like you, except that they are imaginary -- ask me: "Dave, are you running for president again?"

Experts agree that the best type of computer for your individual needs is one that comes on the market about two days after you actually purchase some other computer.

For my son, Robert, this is proving to be the high-point of his entire life to date. He has had his pajamas on for two, maybe three days now. He has the sense of joyful independence a 5-year-old child gets when he suddenly realizes that he could be operating an acetylene torch in the coat closet and neither parent [because of the flu] would have the strength to object. He has been foraging for his own food, which means his diet consists entirely of "food" substances which are advertised only on Saturday-morning cartoon shows; substances that are the color of jukebox lights and that, for legal reasons, have their names spelled wrong, as in New Creemy Chok-'n'-Cheez Lumps o' Froot ("part of this complete breakfast").

For the record, the other candidates with strong hair are John Kerry and John Edwards. They both have what I would describe as Ken hair, as in Barbie and Ken, although Kerry is more Lumberjack Ken, while Edwards is more Star Trek Ken. The other contenders all have average hair, except Dennis Kucinich, who appears to be using some kind of tofu-based mousse.

Hi, I'm Preston A. Mantis, president of Consumers Retail Law Outlet. As you can see by my suit and the fact that I have all these books of equal height on the shelves behind me, I am a trained legal attorney. Do you have a car or a job? Do you ever walk around? If so, you probably have the makings of an excellent legal case. Although of course every case is different, I would definitely say that based on my experience and training, there's no reason why you shouldn't come out of this thing with at least a cabin cruiser.

Remember, at the Preston A. Mantis Consumers Retail Law Outlet, our motto is: 'It is very difficult to disprove certain kinds of pain.'

Human skin is actually made up of billions of tiny units of protoplasm, called "cells"! And what is even more interesting, the ones on the outside are all dying! This is a fact. Your skin is like an aggressive modern corporation, where the older veteran cells, who have finally worked their way to the top and obtained offices with nice views, are constantly being shoved out the window head first, without so much as a pension plan, by younger hotshot cells moving up from below.

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.

I do not mean to be the slightest bit critical of TV newspeople, who do a superb job, considering that they operate under severe time constraints and have the intellectual depth of hamsters. But TV news can only present the "bare bones" of a story; it takes a newspaper, with its capability to present vast amounts of information, to render the story truly boring.

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life -- without even considering if there are men on base.

If God had wanted us to be concerned for the plight of the toads, he would have made them cute and furry.

[I]f he had talked to me, he might lose his concentration, which would be very bad because the taxi has some kind of problem with the steering, probably dead pedestrians lodged in the mechanism, the result being that there is a delay of 8 to 10 seconds between the time the driver turns the wheel and the time the taxi actually changes direction, a handicap that the driver is compensating for by going 175 miles per hour, at which velocity we are able to remain airborne almost to the far rim of some of the smaller potholes. (describing a New York City cab ride)

If people of all different faiths -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Yankee fans -- spent some time together, talking AND listening, maybe... we'd all begin to see that, despite our differences, deep down inside all of us, except for some Yankee fans, are human beings, riding together in the buggy of life.

If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.

If you asked me to name the three scariest threats facing the human race, I would give the same answer that most people would: nuclear war, global warming, and Windows.

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

If your child thinks he wants 'Murderous Bob, the Doll with the Face you can Rip Right Off,' you'd better get it. You may be worried that it might help to encourage your child's antisocial tendencies, but believe me, you have not seen anti- social tendencies until you've seen a child who is convinced that he or she did not get the right gift.

If you're apprehensive about flying, let me assure you, as a frequent flier, that few experiences are more enjoyable than being seven miles above the Earth's surface in a crowded aging piece of machinery held aloft by principles of physics that you do not even dimly grasp while giant invisible gravity rays pound relentlessly on the roof.

If you want to give a man something practical, consider tires. More than once, I would have gladly traded all the gifts I got for a new set of tires.

I had no shoes and I pitied myself. Then I met a man who had no feet, so I took his shoes.

I have always dressed according to certain Basic Guy Fashion Rules, including: -- Both of your socks should always be the same color. -- Or they should at least both be fairly dark. If, when you appear at the breakfast table, your wife laughs so hard that she spits out her toast, you should consider wearing a different tie.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of good grammar.
What a crock. I could easily overemphasize the importance of good grammar. For example, I could say: "Bad grammar is the leading cause of slow, painful death in North America," or "Without good grammar, the United States would have lost World War II."

I live in Florida, where we have BIG cockroaches. ...They are so big that, when they back up, they are required by law to emit warning beeps. These cockroaches could harm Florida's image. But we Floridians solved that problem by giving them a new name, 'palmetto bugs,' which makes them sound cute and harmless. So when a guest walks into a Florida kitchen and screams at the sight of an insect the size of Charles Barkley, we say: 'Don't worry! It's just a palmetto bug!' And then we and our guest have a hearty laugh, because we know there's nothing to worry about, as long as we do not make any sudden moves toward the palmetto bug's sandwich. So changing names is a sound idea, an idea based on the scientific principle that underlies the field of marketing, which is: People are stupid. Marketing experts know that if you call something by a different name, people will believe it's a different thing. That's how 'undertakers' became 'funeral directors.' That's how 'trailers' became 'manufactured housing.' That's how 'We're putting you on hold for the next decade' became 'Your call is important to us'.

I'm not the only taxpayer who has no idea what he's sending to the IRS. This year, only 28 percent of all Americans will prepare their own tax returns, according to a voice in my head that invents accurate-sounding statistics.

I'm sure most of you have seen the movie E.T., which is the story of an alien who almost dies when he falls into the clutches of the American medical-care establishment, but is saved by pre-adolescent boys. Everybody believes that the alien is a fake, a triumph of special effects. But watch the movie closely next time. The alien is real! The boys are fakes! Real preadolescent boys would have beaten the alien to death with rocks.

In Los Angeles, the jury in the Reginald Denny Beating trial, after much thinking, concludes, that Person A is not necessarily trying to kill Person B just because Person A happens to very deliberately bash Person B's skull in with a brick. The verdict is applauded by scientists at the Tobacco Institute.

In most nations, when people say "football", they mean "soccer", which is a completely different game in which smallish persons whiz about on a field while the spectators beat each other up and eventually overthrow the government. I don't know why the other nations call soccer "football," but I suspect it has something to do with the metric system and I say the hell with it.

In summary, then, we see that, because of the location and nature of their respective organs, women tend to have a more serious, thoughtful, and responsible attitude towards relationships than men do. I realize this is an absurd generalization, but my feeling is that if we can't have absurd generalizations, we might as well not even bother to write books.

In terms of appearance, hair is one of the most the most important features of a woman's entire body. In a recent, the Gallup organization asked 1,500 men what part of a woman they look at first, and they denied that they look at women at all, because their wives were standing right next to them. But they were lying. They definitely look at women, and one of the things they notice is hair. "Yes, that woman probably had hair," they'll say, if questioned.

It is difficult to predict exactly what the doctor's bill for your pregnancy will be, because every situation is different. If your doctor's Mercedes-Benz is running well, he may charge you as little as $2,000; if there are complications, such as that he has been hearing a little ticking sound in the transmission lately, then he may be forced to charge you much more. It is a good idea to "shop around" before you settle on a doctor. Ask about the condition of his Mercedes. Ask about the competence of his mechanic. Don't be shy! After all, you're paying for it.

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. I bet this kind of thing does not happen to heroin addicts. I bet that when serious heroin addicts go to purchase their heroin, they do not tolerate waiting in line while some dilettante in front of them orders a hazelnut smack-a-cino with cinnamon sprinkles.

It's tax time. I know this because I'm staring at documents that make no sense to me, no matter how many beers I drink.

I've known Sen. Graham for more than 20 years, during which I've interviewed him on a number of issues, and I've always found his answers to be thought provoking. The specific thought they provoke is 'Huh?'

I would not know how I am supposed to feel about many stories if not for the fact that the TV news personalities make sad faces for sad stories and happy faces for happy stories.

Karate is a form of martial arts in which people who have had years and years of training can, using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.

Last year, the Treasury Department discovered -- I am still not making this up -- that the IRS paid out more than $30 million to people who filed for the slavery tax credit. Yes! Thirty million dollars! Only guess what? It turns out there IS no slavery tax credit! Whoops!

Many people have trouble sticking to their resolutions, and there is a simple scientific explanation for this. In 1987, a team of psychologists conducted a study in which they monitored the New Year's resolutions of 275 people. After one week the psychologists found that 92 percent of the people were keeping their resolutions; after two weeks we have no idea what happened because the psychologists had quit monitoring.

Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate.

Most of the... candidates' economic packages involve 'tax breaks,' which is when the government, amid great fanfare, generously decides to take not quite so much of your income.

Mousse was a Labrador retriever, which is a large enthusiastic bulletproof species of dog. This is the kind of dog that, if it takes an interest in your personal regions (which of course it does) you cannot fend it off with a blowtorch.

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.

One swell thing about the United States is the that newspapers can print whatever stories they want. Another one is that nobody has to read them.

Our dogs' most important duty, of course, is barking. They use the energy-conserving Two-Dog Alternating Bark Procedure: a deep BARK from Earnest, followed immediately by a high, irritating yip! from Zippy, followed immediately by another BARK, and so on BARK yip! BARK yip! for several days, if necessary. They implement this procedure whenever their keen senses detect that one of the following Danger Red Alert situations has occurred:

  1. Somebody is at the door.
  2. Nobody is at the door.
  3. Another dog -- any dog, anywhere in the universe -- is barking.
  4. None of the above.

People in the computer industry use the word "user," which to them means "idiot."

People often ask me, "Dave, what's the biggest advantage of working at home, other than that you don't have to get dressed until 4:30 p.m., when the pizza-delivery person arrives with breakfast?"

People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor.

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take their shirts off during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent.

Sometimes people ask me: 'Dave, what is the essence of parenthood?' I always answer: 'Lowering your standards.'

Speaking of food, English cuisine has received a lot of unfair criticism over the years, but the truth is that it can be a very pleasant surprise to the connoisseur of severely overcooked livestock organs served in lukewarm puddles of congealed grease. England manufactures most of the world's airline food, as well as all the food you ever ate in your junior-high-school cafeteria.

Summer vacation season is almost here, and if you have kids, you know what that means! It's time to put them up for adoption.

The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.

The easiest way to make a fruitcake is to buy a darkish cake, then pound some old, hard fruit into it with a mallet. Be sure to wear safety glasses.

The French view us as a bunch of fat, simplistic, SUV-driving, gum-chewing, gun-shooting, mall dwelling, John Wayne cowboys who put ketchup on everything we eat, including breath mints. Whereas we view the French as a bunch of snotty, hygiene-impaired, pseudo-intellectual, snail-slurping weenies whose sole military accomplishment in the past 100 years was inventing the tasseled combat boot. Sadly -- as is so often the case when people resort to vicious stereotypes -- both sides in this dispute are 100 percent correct.

The IRS spends God knows how much of your tax money on these toll-free information hot lines staffed by IRS employees, whose idea of a dynamite tax tip is that you should print neatly. If you ask them a real tax question, such as how you can cheat, they're useless.

The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates.

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.

The new Information Superhighway is just CB Radio with more typing.

The obvious and fair solution to the housework problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they'd never clean anything.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.

The only really good place to buy lumber is at a store where the lumber has already been cut and attached together in the form of furniture, finished, and put inside boxes.

The other major kind of computer is the "Apple," which I do not recommend, because it is a wuss-o-rama New-Age computer you basically just plug in and use.

There apparently exists, somewhere in Los Angeles, a computer that generates concepts for television sitcoms. When TV executives need a new concept, they turn on this computer; after sorting through millions of possible plot premises, it spits out, "THREE QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT," and the executives turn this concept into a show. The next time they need an idea, the computer spits out, "SIX QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT." Then the next time, it spits out, "FOUR QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT." And so on. We need to locate this computer and destroy it with hammers.

There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

The Salmon River is extremely cold, consisting primarily of recently melted snow rushing down from the mountains; this is nature's way of cleansing the slopes of deceased skiers.

The value of advertising is that it tells you the exact opposite of what the advertiser actually thinks. For example:

If the advertisement says "This is not your father's Oldsmobile," the advertiser is desperately concerned that this Oldsmobile, like all other Oldsmobiles, appeals primarily to old farts like your father.

If Coke and Pepsi spend billions of dollars to convince you that there are significant differences between these two products, both companies realize that Pepsi and Coke are virtually identical.

If the advertisement strongly suggests that Nike shoes enable athletes to perform amazing feats, Nike wants you to disregard the fact that shoe brand is unrelated to athletic ability.

If Budweiser runs an elaborate advertising campaign stressing the critical importance of a beer's "born-on" date, Budweiser knows this factor has virtually nothing to do with how good a beer tastes.

The Watergate Scandal, which gets its name from the fact that it was a scandal, began with a break in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters by a group of burglars so ludicrously incompetent that they obviously had to have some connection with the federal government.

They can hold all the peace talks they want, but there will never be peace in the Middle East. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the Sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms living in the Middle East will be bitter enemies.

Thus it was that the Vikings set off across the Atlantic in approximately the year 867--on October 8--to (a) try to locate North America and (b) see if it was flammable. Did these hardy adventurers reach the New World centuries before Columbus? More and more, historians argue that they did, because this would result in a new national holiday, which a lot of historians would get off.

Thus, the metric system did not really catch on in the United States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine millimeter bullet.

Today, of course, it is considered very poor taste to use the F-word except in major motion pictures.

Today's man knows that he's supposed to be a sensitive and caring relationship partner, and he's making radical life-style changes such as sometimes remembering to remove the used tissue wads from his pockets before depositing his pants on the floor to be picked up by the Laundry Fairy.

[Unlike cats] dogs NEVER scratch you when you wash them. They just become very sad and try to figure out what they did wrong.

We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.

What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad.

When I heated my home with oil, I used an average of 800 gallons a year. I have found that I can keep comfortably warm for an entire winter with slightly over half that quantity of beer.

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

When two people have been on enough dates, they generally fall in love. You can tell you're in love by the way you feel: your head becomes light, your heart leaps within you, you feel like you're walking on air, and the whole world seems like a wonderful and happy place. Unfortunately, these are also the four warning signs of colon disease, so it's always a good idea to check with your doctor.

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, "My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!"

You must remember that when you are pregnant, you are eating for two. But you must also remember that the other one of you is about the size of a golf ball, so let's not go overboard with it. I mean, a lot of pregnant women eat as though the other person they're eating for is Orson Welles.

You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

You should not use your fireplace, because scientists now believe that, contrary to popular opinion, fireplaces actually remove heat from houses. Really, that's what scientists believe. In fact, many scientists actually use their fireplaces to cool their houses in the summer. If you visit a scientist's house on a sultry August day, you'll find a cheerful fire roaring on the hearth and the scientist sitting nearby, remarking on how cool he is and drinking heavily.

You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-saving time.