Eric Miller writes that “I’m trapped in a household full of estrogen. My wife and two teenage daughters live in a world that revolves in ways that confuse me; their orbits befuddle mine.” He also admits he’s “a dreadful handyman, terrible mechanic, and a has-been athlete with tired lungs and weak knees.” In other words, this all makes for rich rewards in the things-didn’t-quite-go-as-expected category. Miller’s way of conveying life’s little oopsies had this reader laughing out loud.
These episodes find their home in “Etc. Guy: Let Me Tell You A Story” ($9.95 in paperback from CreateSpace; also for Amazon Kindle), a collection of North State Voices columns from this newspaper as well as personal blog posts (etcguy.com) and more.
Divided into 8 sections, the book presents essays on hanging the family flat-screen TV, joining one’s parents on a bucket-list trip, looking back at 1963 (“I became cordless fifty years ago when Dad snipped my umbilical cord”), and being a field hockey dad (“The girls hadn’t broken a sweat. The game was scoreless, but the parents needed a break—and an oxygen bar with a masseuse”).
The final section is about the “Humor Project,” featuring thumbnail remarks on great humor writers (including Dave Barry, who once said: “Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business”). There are also two extended interviews, one with Biff America (Jeffrey Bergeron, a Colorado humorist) and Patrick McManus, longtime humor columnist for Field & Stream and Outdoor Life.
“My wife and I,” Miller writes (his wife is known only as “Hun” in these pages), “parent two daughters. We enjoy watching these future taxpayers gain their independence.” Miller puts “Kate” and “Maggie” to work. “Free labor is a rite of passage for kids and a gold mine for parents. The challenge is getting kids to do what you want.”
Therein lies a tale. Many of them.
Miller will be reading from his book, and signing copies, at Lyon Books in Chico Wednesday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m.