Articles and Features

Dave Barry

Week of July 5, 1998

I should be focusing on an article on Independence Day and how proud I am to be an American, but I received a disturbing email that distracted me. It read: "I loved your page, especially the Dave Barry quotations. I would like to read more of his stuff. Can you help me on this? Is there a book containing his artciles [sic] or a particular magazine? All information gratefully received."

It struck me with terror to think that the man who has earned the title "The Funniest Man In America" from The New York Times might be unknown to even one person. Dave Barry has been writing for The Miami Herald since 1983. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1988. What could be more patriotic than showing what American ingenuity can do? So, here is some of the best from Dave Barry.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"Look, in particular, at the people who, like you, are making average incomes for doing average jobs--bank vice presidents, insurance salesman, auditors, secretaries of defense--and you'll realize they all dress the same way, essentially the way the mannequins in the Sears mens wear department dress. Now look at the real successes, the people who make a lot more money than you--Elton John, Captain Kangaroo, anybody from Saudi Arabia, Big Bird, and so on. They all dress funny--and they all succeed. Are you catching on?"
Dave Barry, "How to Dress for Real Success"
"In fact, most home projects are impossible, which is why you should do them yourself. There is no point in paying other people to screw things up when you can easily screw them up yourself for far less money."
Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"
"Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lighting storm and received a serious electrical shock. This proved that lighting was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin's brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as 'A penny saved is a penny earned.' Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office."
Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"
"I realize that the MX missile is none of our concern. I realize that the whole point of living in a democracy is that we pay professional congresspersons to concern themselves with things like the MX missile so we can be free to concern ourselves with getting hold of the plumber. But from time to time, I feel I must address major public issues such as this, because in a free and open society, where the very future of the world hinges on decisions made by our elected leaders, you never win large cash journalism awards if you stick to the topics I usually write about, such as nose-picking."
Dave Barry, "At Last, the Ultimate Deterrent Against Political Fallout"
"I disapprove of the F-word, not because it's dirty, but because we use it as a substitute for thoughtful insults, and it frequently leads to violence. What we ought to do, when we anger each other, say, in traffic, is exchange phone numbers, so that later on, when we've had time to think of witty and learned insults or look them up in the library, we could call each other up: You: Hello? Bob? Bob: Yes? You: This is Ed. Remember? The person whose parking space you took last Thursday? Outside of Sears? Bob: Oh yes! Sure! How are you, Ed? You: Fine, thanks. Listen, Bob, the reason I'm calling is: 'Madam, you may be drunk, but I am ugly, and ...' No, wait. I mean: 'you may be ugly, but I am Winston Churchill and ...' No, wait. (Sound of reference book thudding onto the floor.) S-word. Excuse me. Look, Bob, I'm going to have to get back to you. Bob: Fine."
Dave Barry, "$#$##^#!^#&@#@!"
"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."
Dave Barry
"Ever since prehistoric times, wise men have tried to understand what, exactly, make people laugh. That's why they were called 'wise men.' All the other pre- historic people were out puncturing each other with spears, and the wise men were back in the cave saying: 'How about: Would you please take my wife? No. How about: Here is my wife, please take her right now. No How about: Would you like to take something? My wife is available. No. How about ...'"
Dave Barry, "Why Humor is Funny"
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For more information about Dave Barry, try these links:
  • Dave Barry at the Miami Herald - Dave Barry himself. An archive of his articles at the Miami Herald Online.
  • Quotes by Dave Barry - This is not the same collection as we have (it seems to be edited for content more than ours), but you can just sit down and read through the entire thing. This is an activity I don't recommend. The reason we limit the number of quotations that you can see at one time is because we don't want you to die laughing.
  • Altered States - My favorite of the Dave Barry articles available at the Miami Herald Archive. Dave Barry attends a Success Seminar. Considering my love for motivational quotes, you would think that I would be offended by this sort of thing. Instead, I laughed all the way through it.
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