In the Event of My Untimely Demise: Twenty Things My Son Needs to Know

Overview

In the form of letters written to his son, Brian Sack gets right to the heart of what ultimately matters most. While some insights might seem obvious (high school is probably going to suck), others are refreshingly unconventional, and all are presented with a wit that is self-deprecating, sharp, and addictive.

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In the Event of My Untimely Demise: Twenty Things My Son Needs to Know

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Overview

In the form of letters written to his son, Brian Sack gets right to the heart of what ultimately matters most. While some insights might seem obvious (high school is probably going to suck), others are refreshingly unconventional, and all are presented with a wit that is self-deprecating, sharp, and addictive.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Chris Regan
“Brian Sack’s In The Event of my Untimely Demise is a very funny book--let’s keep him alive so that he may write some more!”
Neal Pollack
“A strange and hilarious compendium of parenting wisdom for an age when no one knows anything.”
Glenn Beck
“Unlike his “Public Viewer” appearances on my television show, Brian Sack’s new book is heartwarming, sincere and exceptionally funny.”
Alisa Kwitney
“I like my life wisdom sardonic, salty and refreshingly dry, just the way Brian Sack serves it in his charming and insightful collection of essays.”
David Giffels
“Part witty memoir, part common-sense guide and part social commentary, In the Event of My Untimely Demise is an owner’s manual for the late-model human heart.”
Grant Stoddard
“Brian Sack’s book In the Event of my Untimely Demise had me laughing, crying with laughter, and seriously considering a vasectomy, often in the same paragraph.”
Vanity Fair
“A book that covers almost everything that a human being in the modern world needs to know... It’s the kind of advice that, if we’re being honest, we all kinda wish our fathers had bothered to tell us.”
Fusion Magazine
“An addictive read. You might come for the laughs, but you stay for the undeniable honesty of it all. In the end, it reminds us all of why it’s so great to be a parent - and that’s worth a lot more than the price of this book.”
Fusion Magazine
“An addictive read. You might come for the laughs, but you stay for the undeniable honesty of it all. In the end, it reminds us all of why it’s so great to be a parent - and that’s worth a lot more than the price of this book.”
Vanity Fair
“A book that covers almost everything that a human being in the modern world needs to know... It’s the kind of advice that, if we’re being honest, we all kinda wish our fathers had bothered to tell us.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061671722
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Sack offers humorous commentary on the Glenn Beck Show and Not Just Another Cable News Show, as well as on his award-winning blog, banterist.com, and in publications such as McSweeney's, The Independent, and Glamour.

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Read an Excerpt

In the Event of My Untimely Demise
Twenty Things My Son Needs to Know

Chapter One

Change Starts at Conception

To preserve yourself as the center of the world, to stay your own best authority on everything, your own expert on all topics, infallible, omniscient. Always, every time of the month, forever: Use birth control.

Chuck Palahniuk

Any dad will tell you the birth of their first child is one of the most incredible, momentous events of their lives. It's an unforgettable milestone, not only because it signifies his transition into fatherhood, but because he sees a tiny shrieking head coming out of his wife's vagina.

Until that defining moment, a father-to-be has spent nine months hearing from everyone who has ever had a child. New parents, old parents, it doesn't matter. The fact that they have already entered the realm of parenthood entitles them, obligates them, to share their little secret. It goes pretty much, actually exactly, like this:

"First kid?"

"Yup."

"Things are going to change."

So, take it from me, another parent with a secret to share: things are going to change. Hopefully you will have already been aware of this.

It should not be news to an expecting parent that a baby is at the very least a major lifestyle disruption. It's one of only a few occasions, such as a first wedding or domicile relocation, that warrant a mass announcement. Even photo cards. It's an event so momentous it qualifies you for tax breaks. It gives you the right to unapologetically miss work. It is, in most every way, an extremelyimportant event followed by approximately eighteen years of other, not insignificant, events. It is the beginning of an amazing adventure; like Homer's Odyssey, but with less sailing.

You should certainly be well aware of this by the pregnancy's third trimester—in layman's terms, the time right before all hell breaks loose. By this time, your wife has a studio apartment where her stomach was. Even being tired exhausts her. If watching your waddling, uncomfortable, ragged wife moan down the hallway doesn't suggest even vaguely that your life is going to change, you probably shouldn't be having a baby. The cruel irony, of course, being that by then it's far too late to have reached that conclusion.

However, you can be forgiven for not having the slightest clue as to how your life will change. That particular wisdom only comes from experience, from baptism by fire.

Though I will endeavor to shed some light on what one can expect with the creation and introduction of a dependent life form, please be aware that the reality of parenthood is terribly difficult to express, and I can't truly do it justice. It does not lend itself easily to words, nor can it be better explained through songs and gesticulating. Like weightlessness and Tommy Lee driving a boat with an erection, parenting is something that demands it be experienced firsthand to be fully appreciated. Trying to explain parenthood to a nonparent is like trying to explain the sun to a drunken hillbilly. Sure, they'll nod and smile and stagger away with the basics—big and hot—but they won't really grasp the sheer magnitude.

To force an analogy that needlessly incorporates Australia: Parenting is like emigrating to Australia in the 1800s. A person heard about it through word of mouth and written accounts and was vaguely aware of an exciting, interesting, and challenging new environment. But he wouldn't think much of it until one day he found himself headed there. After a long, tiresome journey, he'd arrive, and only then realize that he had absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into. The animals bounce, the seasons are backward, and everyone around him speaks the same language but uses totally different words. And there's really no going back because it was a one-way trip.

Nevertheless, I feel it's important you have some perspective on the changes brought by parenthood and how something that does nothing but soil itself and weep at odd hours can have such an absolutely staggering impact on your life. There are many roads to having a baby, especially in this day and age, but to facilitate matters we'll stick with the traditional one: You find someone you want to marry, they feel the same way, and sooner or later you decide to have a baby. You will then do your thing, with the knowledge that if you are successful, you will wind up adding a baby to the equation—thus changing your life in some fashion. There are no major changes yet, aside from the meticulous planning of coitus—because at that point you're merely trying to have a baby. That endeavor can range from a laborious undertaking to, in my case, a terrifyingly effortless three minutes. But there is no actual baby. It remains a distant notion. Just as a bepimpled pubescent teen imagines how one day he'll lose his virginity, a maturing man imagines how he'll one day become a father. But losing one's virginity seldom comes to pass as one had imagined. The fantasy is a swollen-lipped, airbrushed Playmate swimming in satin sheets. The reality is your bum on cold vinyl and Maggie whacking her head on the rearview mirror as she steals your innocence in the passenger seat of a Scirocco; your rapid heartbeat the result not of passion, but terror that every passing vehicle's headlights will somehow illuminate you through the frosted windows.

In that same manner, becoming a parent is also something you can't possibly fathom—like being attacked by an enraged neon monkey in a top hat.

Though subtle, change starts at conception. Your wife, having peed on an expensive plastic stick, emerges from the bathroom with an expression of glee, one hopes, and waves the stick in your face. You consult the box it came in to make sure you're reading the stick correctly. If you have, congratulations are in order. Still, there are variables. The pregnancy could fail. And anyway, the real change is nine months away. Nine months is nearly a year, and a year seems like forever. Granted, the older you get, the less like forever it seems—but it's still significantly down the road. The only immediate change this early into the game is that mom-to-be cannot continue drinking and smoking like she used to. If she didn't know that, she probably shouldn't be having a baby, either.

In the Event of My Untimely Demise
Twenty Things My Son Needs to Know
. Copyright © by Brian Sack. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     1
Prologue: Dear Son     5
Change Starts at Conception     9
High, Reasonable Hopes     19
Trust Your Gut     27
Fight, Cub     37
We'll Need to Talk     51
There Is a Light at the End of the Tunnel     59
Your Career     69
You Can't Take It with You     77
Get Up, Get Out, and Go Where the Toilets Are Different     87
Gray Is Good     95
Deferred Pay     105
On Knots     117
Meet the Parents     127
Respect Your Elders, Wisely     139
Friends, Indeed     149
How I Am Different     161
Mortality's in the House     171
What Old People Can Offer Us     179
Nobody Likes an Enemy     189
Live to Be Missed     199
Epilogue: Dear Son     207
Acknowledgments     209
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    This is a very good book. Very funny.

    This is a very good book. Very funny.

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    Posted February 15, 2010

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