MAY 2000 | VOL. 4, NO. 5
ALSO THIS MONTH
Those looking for some light, summertime reading, and are not put off by a bit of locker room humor, would do well to pick-up a copy of From The Boardroom To The Bathroom -- Ramblings On Life By A Typical 24-Year-Old Male by Jason Brenner. (The title itself may warn away those who would not find humorous that which a 24-year-old male would.) The book is fairly slim (155 pages) and consists of a series of short, and usually humorous, vignettes which address a variety of subjects ranging from "Corporate Men's Room Etiquette" to "Las Vegas."
The style is reminiscent of that of Dave Barry, a syndicated columnist at the Miami Herald who "writes about life and all its funny complexities." However, Brenner's attempt is stymied by his relative youth, and thus a limited amount of fodder for the book. Many of the vignettes seem hurried; just as you get wrapped-up in the tale, it's over. Most run about 900 words, or two pages; a little more meat would have been welcome.
For much of the book, Brenner, who writes a regular humor column in the Hartford Courant, latches on to two running themes: his "old" age and affected conceit (he actually dedicates the work to himself, "the one person without whom I could not have written this brilliant and thought-provoking magnum opus"). Both would have worked in smaller doses; however, their frequent reoccurrence led to distraction.
That said, everyone has to start somewhere. There are some genuinely funny segments here -- "The Barium Enema" ("Imagine that the Roto-Rooter man has come to your house to fix your toilet but mistakenly feeds his 30-foot-long plumbing snake into your backside instead of your john.") "My Toilet" ("cherish it, lavish attention upon it, thank it for being such a useful companion...I'll basically do anything but clean it") and "My High School Reunion," for example. While the book was not a howler, it did elicit more than a couple of chuckles. You could do much worse than From The Boardroom To The Bathroom when grabbing some light fare for the beach.
GREGORY RIDOLFI, a lieuntenant in the U.S. Navy, is a contributing writer for Renaissance Online Magazine.