Tough Sh*t – A Review

Ladies and gentlemen, in a pure and uninterrupted display of irony, I participated in metaphor this morning. I didn’t even do it on purpose.

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Come to think of it, participation in a metaphor is rarely a willful act.

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It all started at a particular moment this morning where I sat there donned in my sleeping shorts (which had been lowered to my ankles just moments before) with my glasses weighing on my nose and my e-reader in hand, the idea occurred to me that it was just about time to write a book review.

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The initial challenge here is to determine which book I should review. I don’t read as much as I used to for a variety of reasons. One thing I’ve tried to do in the last several weeks is to spend my Saturday mornings in the backyard starter kit with my pit bull Hope, a bowl of Corn Chex, a glass of cranberry grape juice, and my e-reader. Since the “new” hasn’t worn off of the e-reader yet, it still has my attention and the ability to keep me reading it. Whether you’re aware of it or not, I’m currently reading the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series of books which just happens to be all wrapped up into one electronic compilation and the first purchase made on my Nook Tablet.

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I’ve talked about that series of books enough here on TharpSter.Org before, and I would rather review something else. Even though I’ve read the series before, I’m not done reading the series a second time around.

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I’m not really up on all the hot new commodities which are on the bookshelves these days. I keep seeing references to Fifty Shades of Grey, but something tells me that I would consider the book to be litterature versus literature.

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There’s one book I’ve heard of recently which I believe I want to read. That book is called Tough sh*t: life advice from a fat, lazy slob who did good by Kevin Smith (@ThatKevinSmith).

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The title speaks to me.

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Pause for effect.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the work of Kevin Smith, look no further than the actor/director behind such cinematic efforts as Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Zack & Miri Make A Porno, Red State, and a host of other films designed to enlighten and entertain. In addition to his work in the film industry, Smith has managed to corner the market on podcasts, having achieved a presence in every single podcast currently available on the iTunes store.

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Having spent the last ten years or so either watching this man’s movies, or listening to his podcasts, it’s only now a natural progression of things that I should read a thing or two that he’s put to paper. It’s a foregone conclusion that Smith and I have different outlooks on life. When I think about how much money the man has made on jokes that I tend to filter out of my own writing, I can’t help but to conclude that perhaps the guy has a thing or two figured out. Perhaps I can gleam some intelligence on cashing in on my writing abilities or lack thereof by reading what he has to say.

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So this morning, I proceeded to continue my Saturday morning ritual in my favorite chair with my feet propped up on a bucket of baseballs. I don’t coach anymore since Junior retired from the sport, so the bucket makes for a good outdoor ottoman. If a squirrel or cat just happens to walk on the back fence and toss racial epithet (or epitaphs) at my beloved pit bull, the ottoman serves as a wonderful storage container for the projectiles I choose to huck at the unwanted varmint.

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As I sat there, I paged through the online book store featured on the e-reader looking for Smith’s latest book. Upon finding it, I found that there was a free sample of the book available to read.

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Sure, why not?

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I’m a cheap bastard, and have no problem with kicking a tire or two before actually buying something. If I’m going to review Smith’s new book, I’d better make sure his writing doesn’t bring out the attention deficit disorder that other tomes have achieved in yours truly.

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The free sample showed to be 19 pages. I figured that would be enough for me to get a good feel for the read. It would also give Hope enough time to wander around the backyard and do her thing in the name alimentary fertilization.

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I proceeded to read.

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Naturally, there were the assorted title pages, copyright pages, a table of contents, and a dedication page. Reading the dedication made me shudder a bit. Given that I’ve been exposed to a lot of Smith’s work, it didn’t make me shudder so much that I had to go find a local book burning in which to make a contribution to the flame though. Perish the thought with my new Nook anyway. I’ll just delete the file if I need to. There’s no need to use combustibles here.

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Having negotiated my way past the dedication, I was then free and clear to partake in what I had guessed would be the first chapter of the book. For whatever silly reason I had in mind, I believed that a free sample such as this would at least have a free chapter. Don’t you think?

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So I read about how Smith attributed his presence here as a glorious result of the testicular fortitude (and the contents therein) of his father, and the wonderful things his mother most likely did for his father and his fortitude.

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As I started to read this chapter, I found I couldn’t ignore the olfactory assault Hope was producing just up wind in the form of a freshly laid pile of crap.

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For what it’s worth, I believe there is a difference between crap, poop, shit, and turds. I’m sure there are plenty of dictionaries and thesauruses which view these terms as synonymous. Make no mistake no. There is a difference between these elements. Distinctions between these substances are made in the size, shape, consistency, color, and even the aura. Flavor is optional, but I’ve never had to rely on that particular test to make an assessment on fecal matter. Conversely so, flavor does come in to play when making a distinction between breasts, boobs, knockers, and sweater meat.

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I’ll have you know that the aura alone of Hope’s colonic output gave me plenty of evidence that I was smelling crap.

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Where was I?

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Oh, right. Kevin Smith’s latest book.

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As I sat there reading about the nether regions of Smith’s father and smelling pit bull crap, the text in the book just stopped. Right there on the first page of the first chapter, the dreaded [End of sample] message appeared.

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The page number had me on 17 of 19 and wouldn’t allow me to go any further.

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Well That’s Fantastic.

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What was I to do now? Would I actually have to shell out the $12 – $13 to actually *ahem* buy the book so that I could review it?

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If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ve just participated in the metaphor I alluded (or eluded, take your pick) to earlier. In order to get something I wanted, I smelled some crap and tried to read a book for free without doing anything else for it. Granted, voluntarily smelling crap wasn’t part of the equation as much as it was an occupational hazard.

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“Tough sh*t, that ain’t gonna happen,” responded Kevin Smith, “you’ll need to cough up some more cash if you want to continue to read about my Dad’s balls and other amusing anecdotes I have to offer.”

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Well That’s Fantastic.

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Of course, I’m not angry or anything like that. Kevin Smith has just as much right to earn a buck in this country as anyone else does. I’ll most likely purchase and read his book next when I’m done reading about the meaning of the number 42. Rest assured, I will continue to read the Smith book out in the backyard, and when I smell crap it won’t only be because I’m reading something Kevin Smith wrote.

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But that’s not really a book review now is it?

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With that, I’ll offer up a review of Tough sh*t: life advice from a fat, lazy slob who did good by Kevin Smith. Since my exposure to this piece of literary magnificence is limited to the very beginning of what I can only assume is a rags to riches story, I’ll review only what I’ve read so far and leave the rest to the promises of the table of contents.

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First of all, let’s talk about three different title pages. Arrogant much? I can only quote Peter Griffin at this point when he talked about The Godfather. “It insists upon itself.”

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Yeah I don’t know what that really means, but it seems to apply here.

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I found the copyright page to be disappointing. The primary reason for that is because it admonished me to not share any portion of the book electronically without permission. I was going to film the pages I had access to read and put a video up on YouTube as a companion to this piece, but that appears to be a no-no.

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The next page offers a note from the publisher advising that it’s all about providing books of quality and integrity to it’s readers. Given what I know of this author and the fact that this man has capitalized on dick and fart jokes for a majority of his career, I couldn’t help but to guffaw at the very notion. Granted, Smith hides no bones (or boners) about his life, which is more than I can say about others in the literary limelight who unashamedly lie their asses off and receive accolades for their efforts.

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I’ve already discussed the dedication page.

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The table of contents rock. It’s loaded up with hypertext links which would take me to any one of Smith’s brilliant stories if I had only purchased the book. None the less, it shows a great deal of promise.

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What book review would be complete without a mention to the four and half paragraphs which provided me with an optical orgasm of delight as I read it?

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With that ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached the crux of this, my first literary review. I can only sum up Tough sh*t: life advice from a fat, lazy slob who did good by Kevin Smith with one phrase which pretty much nails it all down and succinctly describes Smith’s writing as something to keep on that bookshelf in front of your toilet with the old issues of Good Housekeeping, the hand held poker games, the books with baseball statistics, and the collection of various hygiene products. That phrase is [End of Blog].

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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