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Everyone likes surprises; I know I sure do.  Getting a present, a letter, or a phone call… all of those can truly make your day.  Of course, some surprises leave less of a smile on your face, such as a paternity suit, or being surprised late at night by a burly man requesting your belongings.  But we’re not going to focus on the bad right now, just the good. 


Unfortunately, I am rarely surprised with any of the previously mentioned joys.  That’s not to say I haven’t come home to my fair share of material gains.  Fulfilling every man’s true fantasy, to be able to get free books, my dad often brings home free stuff he snagged from his place of employment.   This has resulted in me getting some of the weirdest, and most random literature man has ever known.  Of course, as kids grow up, their parents somewhat lose their grasp on what their children are truly interested in.  When I was ten, or most likely up to age nineteen, bringing home any book, especially any book with cartoons, would be surefire hit.  Now, the lines get a little stretched as to connecting the product to the interest.  If he gets the idea I enjoy eating sandwiches, I get hit with cookbooks and biographies of Louie Anderson.  I like hockey, so bring on the books analyzing the infrastructure of Canada’s textile industry.  Not that I’m complaining, I love free stuff, it’s just strange.  Plus, whatever I don’t need, I can always just give away.  So if you ever get a book from me as a present, don’t say thanks.


Given this history of random book distribution, I blamed my dad for what I found in my room.  I found it on my dresser, but not immediately on top, it was stuck in a pile of other random crap I had there.  But when it’s 5 AM and I’m already mentally damaged from watching infomercials for the past two and a half hours, the last thing I want to come across is this:


Unfortunately, when something like this comes at you from nowhere, ignoring it is completely out of the question.  I had to read it.  I had to know.


I was expecting a book similar to one of those “Snaps” books.  What I got wasn’t even near the quality of other books of its genre.  That genre being garbage.  The closest type of writing I could compare this to would be when you wait until the night before a paper is due to start working on it.  You slap the thing together in an hour, with no outline and basically no information given.  The next day you sit in class before handing it in, reading over what you wrote, unable to fathom something this asinine coming from you. 


There is absolutely no organization to this book.  It seems like jokes were taken from about thirty scripts for failed UPN pilots, and thrown together in a mad rush.  You can tell you’re in for a bumpy ride from the introduction.  I read through it, figuring I was just not cool enough to get the humor, until something became all too clear… this wasn’t meant to be funny.  The introduction is literally about 25 pages of a thesis that is meant to be taken all too seriously.  It addresses the “controversy” raised by the first book of this series, which makes me sad simply for the fact that it was successful enough to warrant a sequel.  The author describes the book as a “healing process,” with no reason given for this rather lofty claim. 


Before going into the most ridiculous part of the intro, we need to jump back to the cover.  This book was written by Bertrice Berry, Ph.D.  That’s right, a doctor wrote this.  Apparently she is a talk show host, a comedian, and a sociologist.  How does one even get the title of “comedian”?  It just seems like such an easy title to tack on to your résumé, given the lack of credentials needed to make the claim.  I was intelligent enough to raise a question about something like that, so now I can refer to myself as a “genius.” 


So yes, I had my doubts as to how trusted the author really could be.  All that changed when I further examined the cover.


Somehow this book was able to get the approval of one of the most well known and respected laureates of our time.  Of all time.  Yes, you guessed it.  The cover of this book boasts the approval of Sinbad.  I probably shouldn’t have even mentioned that; any faults I might have with this book might not be taken seriously at all.  How could I dare mock something that meets with the almighty Sinbad’s taste and literary inclination?  Due the mounting pressure to overcome this strike against me, we move back the introduction.


In between diatribes insisting its importance, the introduction strives to make one thing clear: “ghetto” isn’t a term meant simply for non-white people.  Literally, about seven pages are filled with nothing but this point, over and over.  That’s fine with me, I understand.  I’ve been known to toss back a few champagne flavored Tropical Fantasy sodas in my time.  Unfortunately, this is not enough.  Despite its insistence, I am not allowed to be ghetto.


Rule # 1:

“You own all the copies of Ebony ever printed.”

Oh, come on!  Why spend so much time saying that all races can be ghetto, when the number one rule is based on having an extensive collection of a magazine that excludes races by its title alone?

From page 1, things looked bad.  Actually, from page “V” it looked bad, but I’m not including the introduction.  Apparently the Romans and their wack ass numerals are crazy ghetto.


Rule # 89:

“You enjoy wearing the same outfit more than twice a week.”

Boo yah, score one for me.  I think my choice in clothing is one of my few remaining grasps at masculinity.  I prefer to rotate about three articles of clothing, because I need to get as much use out of them as possible before my muscles stretch them out too much.  Sigh.


Rule # 203:

“You start every sentence with the phrase ‘We as black people…’”

Hell yeah, they hit the nail on the head for me.  Hey hey, remember back when they said these rules apply to every race?  That was awesome.


Rule #282:

“You take all your dates to the movies.”

That’s not ghetto, that’s just not creative.  Besides, this is the ideal date to take people you don’t really want to be talking to for 90% of the night, since you spend it paying attention to something that’s not them. 


Rule # 285:

“You take all of your dates to your favorite spot.”

Even I know this one is bad.  I don’t think I’d be having too many second dates if I took them all to my computer.  Granted, I don’t have too many first dates, but there was no ghetto rule where I could address that.


Rule # 291:

“All of your ex-boyfriends look alike.”

I’m not going to make any “ha ha that was funny because he is talking about dating guys when normally it should be girls” jokes for this one.  I’m just really confused on this one.  Is this a stereotype, or just some weird insult?  It seems that this isn’t being “ghetto,” rather just psychotic.  If I continuously dated girls that looked very similar, no one would be saying “man, you so crazy.”  Rather I would be greeted with suggestions for psychiatric help, so my life didn’t turn into some sort of “theme” murder movie.


Rule # 400:

“Your children are not allowed to go into anybody else’s home without your permission.”

Man, you and your good, careful parenting are so ghetto.


Rule # 451:

“Your neighborhood has its own drunk.”

Score.  My town used to have our own resident drunk, Crazy Eddy.  I don’t know what was going on with this guy.  He always hung around the train station, and when going to high school I took the train to get there.  One day coming off the train, he was literally standing at the bottom of the escalator handing out $10 bills from a stack of them about a foot high.  I also saw him playing a Game Boy a few times.  Sadly, this drunken homeless guy has more money and a way more interesting life than I do. 


Rule #539:

“Your children have to blow on the Nintendo to make it work.”

Where has this author been?  You have to do that, or it simply won’t function.  I bet she had a Sega Master System.  Loser.


The book still goes on after this.  All in all, there are 560 rules, which probably took a total of about 20 minutes to come up with.


I was still baffled as to where this book came from, even when beginning this review.  While discussing it, I found out the real culprit, my sister.  Apparently, she had given this to me as a Christmas present, which makes sense.  She and I have a history of exchanging bad presents.  I still won’t be topped for the year I had gotten her a CD, but wrapped it in a huge box with a safe in it.  For weeks, she saw this giant, heavy present, and probably figured it was a TV or something.  This upped the guilt factor for her to get me multiple presents.  Sucker.  So Christmas Day I had about three or four presents from her, while she not only had just one, but one less than extraordinary present.  That’s true Christmas Spirit, keeping score of who comes out on top. 


In summary...I shouldn't need one.  Don't buy this, don't read this, stop reading this review.  If you want to be enriched by other races, read "Boondocks" or "Curtis."  At least those aren't completely insulting.




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