The Harm in Asking: My Clumsy Encounters with the Human Race
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Welcome to the perverse and hilarious mind of Sara Barron. In The Harm in Asking, she boldly addresses the bizarre indignities of everyday life: from invisible pets to mobster roommates, from a hatred of mayonnaise to an unrequited love of k.d. lang, from the ruinous side effect of broccoli to the sheer delight of a male catalogue model. In a voice that is incisive and entirely her own, Barron proves herself the master of the awkward, and she achieves something wonderful and rare: a book that makes you laugh out loud. Simply put: if you read it, you will never be the same.*
*That's not true. You'll probably stay the same. But you'll have laughed a lot. And you'll have learned a fun fact about Jessica Simpson's home spray. See? You didn't even know she had a home spray! The learning has already begun.
year—it was not an okay place to be exchanged. If that was the case, then you, the exchanged student, wound up spending your summer in school. It meant you wound up missing your vacation. The fact of this put most of my fellow Americans in a mood to misbehave. We all took a language class together each week, and while the horizon expanders feigned interest in what the teacher was saying, the brainiacs would sleep. The rebels, for their part, would work to make the teacher’s life a living hell.
ambrosial cocktail that convinced my parents to forsake family vacations entirely. Instead, we reserved a week every August for Barron Family Activity Days. We did it from that first year in 1990, when my father lost his job, to 1997, when I left to go to college. August 1993 was noteworthy in that we spent the whole of the week at a nearby nature preserve. Which is not to say we camped, as the budget-conscious Barrons would sooner max out credit cards than we would attempt to pitch a tent. We
Whole New World,” “I Got You, Babe,” “Opposites Attract.” I enjoyed the acting challenge of conveying the dual roles through the use of shifting focal points. The above duets were the only ones I knew well enough to do at karaoke. I ran out of options as time went on, and so at the eighth week decided to scrap the duet format entirely, as well as the karaoke machine. I decided to sing a cappella “Behind the Wall” by Tracy Chapman. Recently, I’d seen Chapman’s video for her more current song,
could have awesome careers.” It is scary to speak so directly to someone so attractive. I have this fear these types can use their beauty to … I don’t know … like, melt my lesser face. Tomas glared, although, in truth, he did not melt my lesser face. “I am an actor and a dancer,” said Tomas. “That is my career.” “It’s not,” I said. “Maybe it will be at some stage, but for now, it is your hobby. Gym instruction’s your career.” “What-ever,” he said. “Like you’re one to judge. You work at
Sam had energy to burn from all the ice cream he was getting. As for me, I hoped to run into a boyishly handsome nurse who would say, “Sorry to bother you, but I simply had to ask: Are you Tina Yothers? You two look exactly alike.” Sadly, the only person we ran into in the hallway was a sickly old man. He was balanced against a wall so he could let go of his cane and eat a Danish. He was blocking our path, and the fact of this had pissed my mother off. “Look out!” she yelled. “Please: My son