By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
All you need to know about Dave Barry’s South Florida ethos is condensed into the top corner of davebarry.com (I’m assuming booger.com was taken).
There, in the style of a touristy website, resides a local weather outlook that never changes: “Currently: Crazy. Forecast: Insane … it’s Miami.”
Since 1983, taking the temperature of the Sunshine State has been very good for Dave Barry … and his readers. Having written over two decades’ worth of nationally syndicated columns for The Miami Herald and more than 30 books, such as his recent Best. State. Ever., Barry is Florida’s unofficial emissary of silly.
With a degree from the Mad Libs School of Literary Writing, Barry is quite simply one of the most consistently funny people to ever appear in newsprint, or even on nice paper, and perhaps the only one to have had a hit sitcom, Dave’s World, based on his life. Don’t take it from me — no less than The New York Times has anointed him “the funniest man in America.”
At 71, the Coral Gables resident digs up some canine comedy with his next book, due out Oct. 23. In Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog, Barry takes his cues on aging gracefully from his beloved and intelligent pet, whom he also consulted for the following answers to our standard Quote Unquote interview.
Aside from the weather, what do you enjoy most about life in South Florida?
It’s not boring. Sometimes — when a hurricane is coming, for example, or I’m driving on the Palmetto — it’s not boring to the point of being terrifying. But usually it’s a good kind of not boring. Things keep happening here.
Aside from the weather, what do you dislike most about life in South Florida?
The drivers. Would it kill these people to signal their turns? Or, when they stop at a red light, to occasionally glance up from their phones to see if — you never know! — the light has turned green?
I am also not crazy about the South Florida insect population. In my ideal environment, no cockroach would ever grow larger than a standard Yorkshire terrier.
Are you a beach person or a pool person?
I’m a pool person, because the beach is located next to the ocean, which I have reason to believe contains live sharks.
When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?
Usually when I’ve just finished writing something. This answer, for example. Done! I’m happy!
What do you do when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95?
I find the best solution is to take a deep breath, exhale slowly, then ingest a massive quantity of narcotics.
What music are you listening to now?
The same music I was listening to in the Sixties. Because THAT WAS MUSIC, DAMMIT. Now you kids GET OFF MY LAWN.
Are you a fan, and if so, of what?
I assume you mean sports. I am loyal to the Dolphins, because I know I can count on them, year after year, to suck. I’m a big fan of soccer, although I will never really understand ‘offside.’
Do you do social media?
I have a blog at blogs.herald.com. It’s very random. I also am sporadically on Twitter as @rayadverb.
Who is your real-life hero or heroine?
My wife, Michelle Kaufman, because she’s smart and beautiful and — above all — likely to read this.
If you had to choose: Rocky or
What car are you driving now?
A 2010 Lexus. It’s a convertible, but I rarely put the top down because of the danger of being carried off by mosquitos.
What do you like most about yourself?
I’ve never been convicted.
What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out-of-town?
I send them to South Beach. That way they spend the rest of their time here looking for parking, so they’re out of my hair.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t mind being 80 or 90 years younger.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’ve never been convicted.