Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life
  • Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life
  • Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life

Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life

4.6 6
by Bill Engvall, Alan Eisenstock

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"His folksy humor...has made him a hit in the heartland...Don't bet a little plain ol' charm won't work just as well on the rest of the country."--Philadelphia Inquirer

For the record, here's the official definition of a guy: A person who doesn't think before he speaks. He can't. He's not that deep. Because a guy has only three basic needs:

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"His folksy humor...has made him a hit in the heartland...Don't bet a little plain ol' charm won't work just as well on the rest of the country."--Philadelphia Inquirer

For the record, here's the official definition of a guy: A person who doesn't think before he speaks. He can't. He's not that deep. Because a guy has only three basic needs: eating, sleeping, and sex. That's it. Just a Guy chronicles a lifetime in pursuit of those needs.

In this hilarious and heartfelt memoir, Bill Engvall takes you on the rollicking ride of his life, beginning with his childhood in Texas and adolescence in Arizona, becoming a fixture in local emergency rooms, the result of massive amounts of non-thinking behavior trying to impress girls or torture his sisters; to high school in Dallas where he dabbled in an array of truly odd jobs and came of age; to college and his tenure as his fraternity's social chairman, where he masterminded a series of legendary parties; to following his dream as a standup comic and, gulp, singer; to his bumbling and riotous courtship, then marriage to Gail, the love of his life; and, finally, fatherhood, where he remains, to this day, a well-meaning, but flawed parent.

Through it all, Bill gamely stumbles along, struggling to maintain a façade of confidence and control. Far from a superhero, Bill Engvall is an everyday Everyman, the poster boy for normal. The result is just a guy who is disarming, perceptive, wildly funny, and unexpectedly moving.

"The sensitive parts of the book...truly stand out."--Publishers Weekly

"Bottom line: if you like Blue Collar TV or are just looking for some good comedy, this is a great book to pick up."--Blogcritics.org

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this rather bland attempt at the humorous sensitive-man memoir that seems to be a prerequisite for a certain type of middle-aged comic (e.g., Cosby, Reiser, Romano), Engvall tries to cram his whole life into one book rather than stick to one theme (marriage, fatherhood, etc.). The end result is 46 micro-chapters that never really deliver the same laughs that have made him a part of the successful Blue Collar comedy quartet. But there is interesting material: Engvall reminisces about starting at the bottom of the entertainment business, first as a stand-in and extra on movie sets and later playing chauffeur to some of the biggest names of comedy. But these tales are given short shrift so Engvall can focus on his childhood love of baseball, his favorite car as a teenager and his partying a lot in college. In the end, Engvall realizes that "all guys are the same," and that's why the sensitive parts of the book—Engvall's parents' divorce or the pain of leaving his family to go on the road—are the ones that truly stand out. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.94(w) x 4.90(h) x 0.62(d)

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Chapter One

Welcome to the story of my life.

Let's start with the basics.

Like who am I?

Oh, I know you know that I'm the comedian who came up with "Here's Your Sign" and that I'm a member of the cast of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Blue Collar TV. I'm the one who's not Jeff, Ron, or Larry the Cable Guy. Yeah. That one. That's me.

But who am I really?

That's what I'm about to tell you. I'm a little nervous because I know what's coming. I'm about to reveal some stuff that's very personal, a little bit embarrassing, and sometimes kind of strange. I think there's a decent chance you'll chuckle once or twice. You might even tear up. Hopefully not at the same time.

Now, a couple things you should know about me before we get started.

First, I'm unbelievably normal. Unlike many comedians and serial killers, which my dad considers the same thing, I don't come from a screwed-up, crazy family. I was never smacked around, molested, or locked in a fruit cellar. Sorry. I'm pretty much the boy next door, the kid riding his bike down the street, the guy on the other side of the classroom. Okay, I'm the one with the chalk up my nose, but only because the teacher's putting me to sleep and I'm trying to amuse myself until the bell rings. So that's me. You know me well. You've hung out with me after school, gone to the movies with me, played ball against me—and if you're a girl, you've probably ignored me.

The second thing you need to know is that I'm a guy. Been one my whole life, which makes me an expert on the subject. As my wife, Gail, says, "You've been doing research for almost fifty years." True. My lab is my life.

So let me clear something up right here. This might shake your world if you're a woman, but I can't help it. This is an indisputable scientific fact:

All guys are the same.

Doesn't matter if you teach college or drive a forklift. A guy is a guy. Nothing we can do about it. Now, in case you're not a guy, here's the dictionary definition:

A person who doesn't think before he speaks.

We just don't. We can't. Our brains are not wired to think. The truth is we're not that deep.

A guy has only three basic needs: eating, sleeping, and sex. That's it. That's our whole day. I know a lot of women don't believe it, but it's true. If you see a guy thinking really hard, chances are two of his basic needs have been met and he's trying to figure out how to take care of number three.

"I ate, I slept . . . where can I get me some sex?"

The one thing we've got going for us is that we have an excuse when we do something dumb. If Gail catches me doing something lame, which has happened occasionally in the twenty-four years of our marriage, I'll just look at her and shrug.

"Sorry, honey, I'm just a guy."

Part of being a guy is that I don't care about the same things my wife does. Like balancing the checkbook. She reconciles it every month, and if it's off by one penny, she'll get out the calculator and go through the check register until she finds it. With me, if it's within a hundred bucks, cool, it's balanced. Next problem.

Sometimes being a guy makes us vulnerable. For one thing, the marketing people are on to us. They know we're guys, and they take advantage of us. It ticks me off. I know there's nothing I can do about it, but I try to fight my little battles by letting them know that I know what they're doing.

Like taking advantage of how we smell.

Let me ask a profound question.

What is the difference between cologne and aftershave? Take a moment.

Give up? I'll tell you.

There is no freaking difference.

Same stuff, different bottle. It's just marketing. It's like the difference between a comb and a brush. Which is? Not that much. They both do the same thing: move your hair from front to back, back to front, and back again.

What's amazing is that somehow we've been duped into buying both cologne and aftershave. Because as a group, guys just ain't that particular about grooming. My day is not ruined if I don't get a shower right off the bat. I can work out, come back, and shower later. Gail doesn't get this.

"How can you not shower? You just worked out."

"Well, yeah, but the sweat's dry."

I don't need to shower to go out to lunch. I'll just throw a ball cap on and go. Gail cannot be that spontaneous. If I say, "Hey, let's go out for lunch," she's lost.

"Now? I haven't done my hair."

"Put a ball cap on. Let's go."

"I can't—"

"You look great. Come on."

Naw, it ain't happening. It just can't. The first clue is inside the medicine cabinet. Just check out the difference between a woman's medicine cabinet and a guy's. I've got shaving cream, my razor, toothpaste, and cologne. That's it. Gail's got facial washes, powders, makeup, creams, hair sprays, mousses, gels, and body lotions. CVS has less stuff. It's astonishing. She always looks good and smells good, and I swear it's natural. To me, she doesn't need anything added to go out. But she feels she's gotta do a makeover to go out and get a sandwich.

The way Madison Avenue gets to us is to market stuff that makes us think we'll get sex. For instance:

There's this new body spray. You've seen the commercials. A guy sprays this stuff on and suddenly he's got dozens of girls climbing all over him. Yeah, right, I believe that.

I bought some.

On the off chance that the stuff works.

I sprayed it on and walked into the kitchen, where Gail was balancing the checkbook, agonizing over fourteen cents she couldn't find. She looked up, sniffed the air, and made a face like I'd dragged in a dead animal.

"Something smells."

"It could be my new body spray."

"Body spray?"

"Yeah," I said, edging closer to her. "It's supposed to make me hot to you."

She fanned her nose trying to kill the smell. "You're stinking up the kitchen. And get away from me. Whoo."

Not exactly the result I was hoping for.

But it does prove that guys will try anything to take care of our three basic needs. Actually, as you'll see, lathering myself up with body spray is mild compared to most of the stuff I've done in my life.

So sit back, relax, put your feet up, and come along for the read.

Copyright © 2007 by Bill Engvall. All rights reserved.

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