Summer Reading for Dummies

I decided to make this a productive summer by reading some interesting and informative books. While researching what to read, I stumbled across the books for Dummies collection. “For Dummies” is an extensive series of informational / research books which are intended to present non-intimidating guides on a wide range of subjects. The series began in 1991 and today there are over 2500 books in the collection and the number keeps growing. I thought this might be a good place to find some great literature, so I went to the “For Dummies” on line store and began browsing.

This is the most basic of their books.

Many of the offerings relate to computers and computer software and seem rather complex. Even though the titles sound like they were written for boneheads, I don’t believe that your typical moron could get through any of these computer software books.

Other publications that looked daunting included:
• Nanotechnology For Dummies,
• Differential Equations For Dummies, and
• String Theory for Dummies

But I also found books covering: science, history, health, sports, religion and politics, as you might expect. Then there are other more obscure subjects such as: butchery and sausage making, Mom blogging, cosmetic surgery (I hope this is for the patient and not the doctor), Wicca and Witchcraft (but nothing on Satanic orgies) and self-hypnosis. I was amazed. There was a book on almost every conceivable subject.

Early on in my search I stumbled across, Congress for Dummies which explains what Congress does on a day to day basis (or is supposed to do since these days they do nothing, except point fingers). The book was not particularly interesting to me but I know 535 senators and members of the House of Representatives that could use it. There is also Twitter for Dummies. I think I know who bought the first copy. This guide explains how to use the social media tool and would no doubt have been a best seller if only there was a chapter on how to STOP someone from using it! Another timely book is Hacking for Dummies. The U.S. version is available but the Russian version is currently on back order.

There’s another one for taking a dump.

More my speed was, Bowling for Dummies. It has fascinating sounding chapters such as: “Heading for the Center”, “Throwing the ball” and “Knocking em all down.” The handbook gives you “expert tips and advice to take you through every step of the game from selecting the right shoes to the proper way to yell, strike.” Although in my opinion you never yell strike, you just give a look that says, what did you expect? It undoubtedly also gives you advice on how to play the sport after downing your sixth beer and how to pick out your team’s bowling shirt.

I was also intrigued by, Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy for Dummies. There is an Australian and New Zealand edition too. Curiously, the standard version was 384 pages while the Oceana edition had only 220 pages. I don’t know why theirs is shorter. I don’t think the men down under have more knowledge about the subject especially since chapter 2 of their edition is “How to make a baby.” It sounds like they are starting with a disadvantage. Perhaps Sex for Dummies would be a good prerequisite for them. I noticed that Sex for Dummies has a Part 1- Getting Ready for Sex which most men probably just skim and then jump right into Part 2- Doing It. Sales would be better if it were a picture book.
A somewhat related book is Breastfeeding for Dummies (I told you there was a book for every conceivable subject). Does anyone really need a 360 page book to “guide you from first latch-on through weaning”? It just doesn’t look that difficult to me. But the book does claim to help you gain confidence and enjoy breastfeeding.” It even comes with a tear out cheat sheet.

Interestingly, I found two books about being the best man at a wedding. I’m not sure why anyone would need to read a book on this subject. There are only four things you need to do:
1. Try to talk the potential groom out of it,
2. If that doesn’t work, then throw him an awesome stag party,
3. Give a heartfelt speech at the reception without slurring your words, and
4. Don’t hit on the bride or her mother.

By the way, both books had a chapter on stag party dos and don’ts despite the fact that every guy knows that there are no don’ts at a stag party.

If you’re too dummy for marriage, you can get this one.

Then there was Bipolar Disorder for Dummies. The typical review of this book must go something like this, “I read it and loved it. It was very informative and useful. I hated this book. It was dull and pointless. It was so good I’m recommending it to all my friends. I returned it.”

Of particular interest to me was Hair Loss and Replacement for Dummies. It wouldn’t help me in Jeopardy but was still something for me to consider. I planned to skip the part about hair loss, as I already know plenty about that, and jump right into the replacement section. But in the end I just settled for wearing a baseball cap all the time. It’s a little awkward at church but I’m sure that God understands. It’s his fault anyway.

I was disappointed to see that there wasn’t a Picking up after your Dog for Dummies as there are a lot of people who need this guidance, especially in my neighborhood (you know who you are). We could also benefit from, How to; use your turn signal, stop at stop signs and drive at a reasonable speed in the fast lane for Dummies. But at least there wasn’t a Pilot’s Guide to Take-offs and Landings for Dummies. That would have spooked me.

In the end I didn’t purchase any of the “For Dummies” books. But I did buy one for my wife from the “For Idiots” guide book series entitled, “The Complete Idiots Guide to Pleasing Your Man.” She made me return it.

It’s not really a joke.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.

Want more Unhinged stuff from John Wade? Read his take on reincarnation.

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published with permission of the author