The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-up [NOOK Book]


Available for the first time in eBook from the master of “Seinfeld-ian nothingness” (Time) a comic, not-so-coming-of-age tale of transitioning from his twenties to his thirties, recently optioned by Adam Sandler along with Dan Gets a Minivan.

Sooner or later, each of us must face the day we develop a disturbing new interest in lawn care; the day we order Sauvignon Blanc ...
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The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-up

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Available for the first time in eBook from the master of “Seinfeld-ian nothingness” (Time) a comic, not-so-coming-of-age tale of transitioning from his twenties to his thirties, recently optioned by Adam Sandler along with Dan Gets a Minivan.

Sooner or later, each of us must face the day we develop a disturbing new interest in lawn care; the day we order Sauvignon Blanc instead of Rolling Rock; the day we refuse to see any concert where we cannot sit down. Sooner or later, each of us must face the day we turn uncool.

Dan Zevin, who “was never exactly Fonz-like to begin with,” is having a hilariously hard time moving from his twenties to his thirties, and he confesses everything in these witty, self-deprecating tales. As he shamefully employs his first cleaning lady, becomes abnormally attached to his dog, and commits flagrant acts of home improvement, Dan’s headed for an early midlife crisis—and a better-late-than-never revelation: Growing up is really nothing to be reluctant about. In fact, it’s very cool.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Dan Zevin has chronicled the reluctant passage of Generation X from hip dissonance to cubicle conformity. His 1994 Entry-Level Life and 1998 Nearly-Wed Handbook have served as primers to former slackers now confronting new realities. In The Day I Turned Uncool, he reminds Gen-Xers of the Next Great Steps: Recreational sports. Home maintenance. Parenthood.
Henry Alford
Dan Zevin is so uncool he's cool. His cogent and hilarious self-deprecations are literature's answer to the elasticized waistband: They forgive.
Tom Perrotta
If Dan Zevin's so uncool, how come he's so funny? This is a witty, sharply observed book about the embarrassing compromises and guilty pleasures of adulthood.
Boston Globe
A shrewd and witty observer of Gen-X mores . . . Zevin has a prose style that's a blend of Dave Barry and P. J. O'Rourke.
P. J. O'Rourke
This is one of the great feel-good books of all time, if you're my age. If you're some punk of thirty-nine or less . . . suck it up, dude. It gets so worse.
Publishers Weekly
These likable, well-crafted Gen-X essays explore the surface disillusionment and middle-class compromises of growing older. With comic skill, Zevin (The Nearly-Wed Handbook; Entry-Level Life) takes a sentimental first-person approach to suburban adult dilemmas such as wine tastings, lawn care, the starter home and the contrast between the freewheeling college semester abroad and the fearful, sensible 30-something European vacation. Each chapter is a confession, e.g., I played golf; I joined a health club; and I have dabbled in the world of stress management. Zevin is simultaneously satisfied with his grown-up status and piqued about the changes it has brought: The way I figure it, all my friends were pretty much in the same economic boat when we were first starting out, falling into the tax bracket officially known as piss-poor.' Then some of us stopped being piss-poor. Some of us even stopped being cautiously comfortable.'Some of us actually become fabulously well-to-do.'Those of us who wrote this book do not fall into that last tax bracket, much to our chagrin. This has made it somewhat challenging to socialize with those of them who do. His book sticks mainly to the surface inconveniences endured by everyone he knows, and largely skips the scarier, more abstract questions that are sending his generational cohorts for an existential loop loneliness, mortality and the meaning of things. As in many works that come to terms with losing youth forever, there's an otherworldly sad song humming beneath the levity of the prose. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (On sale June 11) Forecast: Zevin is an established freelancer who has published in Rolling Stone, Details and Spy and is a comic correspondent for NPR's WBUR. His book should do well in Cambridge, Mass. where he lives and in young cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
With this new work, Zevin firmly positions himself as a humorist for the next generation in its doomed struggle to sidestep midlife. Zevin (The Nearly-Wed Handbook, Entry-Level Life) here documents exactly when he first realized that he was uncool (i.e., getting older). In 24 chapters, which are dubbed "confessions" and have titles such as "I Take Pride in My Lawn" and "I Am a Figure of Authority," Zevin lets us in on those epiphanic moments when he first realized that he was maturing. He surprises again and again with analogies and metaphors composed of completely unrelated (and hilarious) imagery. The Gen-Xers are out there, waiting for a book just like this to come along and explain this aging thing in the appropriately sardonic hue. More genteel readers may be put off by the less-than-socially-acceptable euphemisms ("the joy of getting baked," "the enjoyable afternoon handjob"), but these will only add to the enjoyment for most. We all know this guy: he's Dave Barry with an attitude, and he gives us one heck of a good time in 192 pages. A totally optional gotta-have, this will be one fun summer read. Recommended for all libraries. Angela M. Weiler, SUNY at Morrisville Lib. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Even the friskiest satirists of Gen X seem to have realized that they too are subject to aging, the raw material for every comic writer's stock in trade. Here, journeyman humorist, campus lecturer, and radio commentator Zevin takes his turn at trying on an ill-fitting mask of maturity. Acting grown up, Zevin (Entry-Level Life, not reviewed) has a wife, a dog, and long pants. Indeed, pants serve as the dominant theme in these antic essays. Sweat pants, corduroys, Levis, relaxed-fit jeans, and diverse trousers du jour are dropped, so to speak, at various opportunities in the text. And why not? Plural at one end and singular at the other, pants are admittedly funny. Zevin's diverting humor flows easily, from his efforts to prepare interesting material to present in sessions with his shrink to his plans to acquire a Roth IRA like all the other grown-ups . . . as soon as he figures out what a Roth IRA is. Like the other big kids, he tries his hand at golf, sailing on the Charles River, and even teaching. He attends a kiddy etiquette class. (Happily, it doesn't moderate his language, which remains boisterous Gen-X palaver.) He chronicles his coming of age in a series of confessions: his fondness for a home appliance, attendance at a wine-tasting, and similar nasty revelations. He's a coffee hound. He owns a Zagat Survey. He's learned not to eat a microwaved burrito before exercise class. He even considers (in a monologue that sounds like a demented version of "Soliloquy" from Carousel) how it might be to be a father. He claims, as "a professional shut-in, or ‘self-employed person' " to be "exempt from all dress codes." But that only brings us back to pants. A pointed guide to growing up thatwill be funny to those who have accomplished it (more or less), as well as those who have yet to attempt it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451698176
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 6/12/2012
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 158
  • Sales rank: 473,344
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Dan Zevin's latest book Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad (Scribner) is the winner of the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Dan has followed his readers through each phase of life, from post-college coping (Entry-Level Life) to tying the knot (The Nearly-wed Handbook) to developing a disturbing new interest in lawn care and wine tastings (The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grownup).

Dan has been a comic correspondent for National Public Radio's WBUR, the humor columnist for Boston Magazine and the Boston Phoenix, and a contributor to national publications including Rolling Stone, Details, The, Real Simple, and Parents. His last two books, Dan Gets a Minivan and The Day I Turned Uncool, have been optioned by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions.

Dan lives with his wife, kids, and pet rabbit in the suburbs of New York, where he has become an active member of his local Costco.

Visit his personal site, at, or his Facebook fan page, at
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Read an Excerpt

Confession: “I played golf.”

Hole in None
Like many reluctant grown-ups, I’ve always had an aversion to the activity of golf. As a kid, I didn’t even get what was so great about miniature golf, at least not until I figured out how to climb into the windmill and set off the hole-in-one bell. But normal golf? To my way of thinking, it was best left to nursing-home patients who didn’t have enough stamina for bingo.

Imagine my surprise when some of my own best friends began giving a shit about the U.S. Open. Or worse, when some of my own best friends began turning into golfers themselves. Lately, they’ve all been peer-pressuring me into participating. “Dan, you gotta try it,” they say. “Once you try it, you’ll want to do it again and again.”
This was the way they used to talk about Xtasy. And let me tell you, they were right about that.

My day of golf began on the driving range, where I was greeted by my instructor, Ben, a toothsome, Casual Friday kind of guy in Dockers, a striped polo shirt, and those two-tone saddle shoes favored by high school cheerleaders. Looking around, I noticed that almost everyone on the range was also wearing the cheerleader shoes, not to mention a spectacular array of devil-may-care trousers. I myself sported jeans and high-tops, but Ben assured me that I wasn’t violating any dress codes since I was also wearing a “soft-collar shirt.” I assured Ben that, to the best of my knowledge, I do not own any hard-collar shirts.

I liked Ben. He had a pleasant laugh and the patient demeanor of a special ed. teacher. Which was a very good thing,since I was going to be his pupil.

“Okay! First we’ll work on our stance,” Ben began, handing me a pitching wedge, which I assumed meant you’re supposed to swing it like a baseball bat, which was one of many faulty assumptions I made throughout the day.

“Now, flex your knees and stick your seat way out.” I appreciated Ben’s use of the word “seat,” but I frankly found this stance to be a bit swish. Without really thinking about it, I assumed a sort of GI Joe stance instead–a chest out, shoulders back kind of look.

“We’ve really got to work on loosening you up,” said Ben.

After giving up on the stance, we moved on to the grip. Ben explained that the first grip we’d learn was the Varden Overlap Grip, which I found scary because it led me to believe there would be other grips. And there were. There was the interlock grip, the ten-finger grip, a grip where you’re supposed to put your thumb over your index finger, another where you put your index finger over your thumb, and numerous other grips best suited to the double-jointed. I finally settled on the Zevin Death Grip, so-named because it prevented Ben from reconfiguring my fingers into any further grips.

At some point I asked Ben if we might whack a few balls before nightfall. He cheerfully obliged, demonstrating proper alignment by sticking out his seat, taking a swing, and sending his ball soaring into the solar system. Now that was pretty awesome, I thought.

Then it was my turn. He handed me a seven-iron, but he may as well have handed me a weed-whacker, since the only thing I sent soaring was a large clump of driving range. This was identified as a “divot shot” by Ben, and it turned out to be my major strength. Far be it from me to boast, but my hand-eye coordination was so consistent that I doubt the driving range has been the same since I left.

Unless they’ve resodded.

“Okay! I want you to really concentrate on loosening up.” Ben reiterated this advice as I drove our golf cart around the nine-hole course where we spent the rest of the day. By this point, I had finally found something I liked about golf: the cart.

I liked the cart on a couple of levels: (a) it brought back fond memories of doing doughnuts on the manicured yard of Mrs. Schline, who made the mistake of calling the cops that time I had a party in tenth grade, and (b) it was an energy-efficient way to search for the three or four balls I managed not to divot. These balls generally wound up in “the bunkers,” defined as those areas of the course you are supposed to aim away from, such as sand traps, marshes, and craniums of fellow golfers.

The bunker I became most intimate with was the sand trap, though I have been wondering what happened to the gentleman with the salmon trousers who disappeared somewhere around the third hole.

We were well ahead of schedule upon arriving at the ninth hole, mainly because I drove us straight past holes four through eight. The way I saw it, if I wanted to spend the day in the sand, I would have gone to the beach. The final hole was a par five, meaning it was supposed to take five shots to get it in. I was around my eleventh when I saw something I liked even more than the golf cart. It was called the Beverage Cart. You heard me correctly.

The beverage-cart lady asked what I wanted, and I ordered a stiff Bloody Mary, the golfiest drink I could think of. As for Ben, he was a blue Gatorade man. And as I kicked off my shoes, poured out the sand, and sucked down my Bloody, I finally understood what he’d been talking about all day.

To enjoy a game of golf, you just have to loosen up

Copyright 2002 by Dan Zevin
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002


    This is a great book to give anyone turning 30-40 something! I laughed out loud while reading this book and read only a few chapters a night so it would last longer. Great fun!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2009


    I'm nearly done and have really enjoyed reading this book. Some cute stories, and I can picture some of the 'awakenings' this author must have had in order to identify and write down the perceptions of growing up. Loved the chapter about how his friends plan every moment of their lives, and got a kick out of learning that folks at the dog parks are very sensitive about the terminology used for their dogs' BMs.

    Light, enjoyable reading. Good introduction, too, for someone who may want to study other people's writing styles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2003

    Great Summer Reading!

    I'm always trying to get my husband to read more books. It normally takes him weeks to finish anything more than a few pages. However, he read this book over a long weekend while we were on vacation and has even recommended it to some of his friends.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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