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You Gotta Laugh To Keep From Cryin': A Baby Boomer Contemplates Life Beyond Fifty
by Sam Venable
University of Tennessee Press, 2003
Paper: 978-1-57233-250-8
Library of Congress Classification PN6231.A43V46 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 814.54

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Sam Venable is one of America’s seventy-six million Baby Boomers who are turning into their parents. He can’t quite see without his reading glasses, he thinks the music kids listen to these days is nothing but a loud racket, and his belt is mysteriously creeping up higher and higher on his chest.

The way Venable figures it, he’s roaring along the road (at about twenty-seven miles per hour, the average speed for someone his age) to Codgerville. You Gotta Laugh to Keep From Cryin’ highlights the observations and lifestyle changes (and a few other things he can’t quite seem to remember at the moment) that Venable has made along the way.

From the day his wife discovers his first ear hair, Venable begins to recognize the signs of old age. Though he had reconciled himself to daily fiber and a distinguished head of gray, he is one step further to an insatiable desire for cafeteria food and permanently leaving his car’s right turn signal flashing.

The news isn’t all bad, though. To his surprise, Venable discovers that his new appearance and habits have qualified him for the senior discount on breakfast at his favorite restaurant. After reading about a scientific study concluding that men’s brains shrink faster than women’s in the normal aging process, Venable has a new source of excuses to explain to his wife why he is missing important dates, times, places, and appointments.

As an official CIT (Codger In Training), Venable delights in other newfound freedoms. He can stand in a fast-food line and stare at the menu for a full two minutes without saying a word (besides, he can’t hear the people behind him grumbling). He can drive as slowly as he likes and has perfected the art of maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel of his car. And he really doesn’t have to listen to anyone anymore; he can merely turn their way from time to time and mumble, “Huh?”

From the swinging doors whose “Push/Pull” directions elude him to the high-tech mysteries of ATMs designed to baffle the elderly, Sam Venable’s rollicking view of life after fifty will leave readers laughing and happy to be a member of the AARP set.
The Author: Sam Venable, recognized for his humor writing in 2000, 2001, and 2002 by the Tennessee Press Association, is a columnist for the Knoxville News-Sentinel. He is the author of a number of books, including Rock-Elephant: A Story of Friendship and Fishing and Mountain Hands: A Portrait of Southern Appalachia. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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