Thursday, January 27, 2022


By Monte Lazarus

If anyone bothers going to a real bookstore these days, rather than an e-book site, they will be impressed by seeing shelves loaded with “Dummies” books. Are there truly that many dummies in the world? Maybe so, judging by the number of volumes, and also considering my own general ineptitude and lack of understanding about a number of things.

Reflecting on the “Dummies” books I’ve come up with a list of topics they could cover for the general benefit of humankind, to say nothing about reaping huge profits for writers and publishers:

• “Quantum Physics for Dummies”. Surely this subject can easily be explained in one small book. It would make things a lot easier for us who did not wish to go through the trouble of pursuing this simple subject in high school or college.

• “Relativity for Dummies”. After warming up with the Quantum Physics book this one is a natural. Personally, I tried to understand Doctor Einstein during my college days. I knew that relativity is supposedly wrapped up in a single sentence: “The laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion.” My professor thought I did well for a punk sophomore, but still had a long way to go. That helped convince me to become a lawyer and not fool around with trivia such as understanding physics and the universe.

• “Soccer for Dummies”. There are only 11 rules in soccer. How come there’s so much trouble interpreting and applying so few rules? It would be wonderful to have an easy reference. At the same time it could explain to the average American audience why a game with so few goals can be so exciting.

• “Driving for Dummies”. Given the number of crazies clogging the roads and highways it would seem useful to publish an illustrated book explaining how to understand signal lights and signs, when to yield, why it’s safe to drive at the speed limit (not 15 miles under it) and why it is important to drive in the left lane on a highway, except when passing! The latter is apparently a terribly difficult concept for the average Florida driver (to say nothing of Massachusetts and New Jersey drivers). A “Dummies” book would be a major contribution to safety.

• “Parking for Dummies”. This is a companion to the Driving volume. It would explain the meaning of those white stripes in parking lots, among other things.

• “Supermarket Courtesy for Dummies”. This is aimed for those who find it convenient to park their carts in the middle of aisles while they conduct a shelf-by-shelf search for an item that is usually four aisles away. It would also carefully explain, with diagrams, why it would speed up things if credit cards, checks and even cash could be ready before the carts are loaded and the bill has been entered for about seven and a half minutes.

• “Cellphone Manners for Dummies”. This is a very important volume for contemporary society. Please, please publish something explaining why it is not nice to use a cell phone in a theater or restaurant. Think of the joy of folks understanding that it is polite to keep your voice volume low when on a cellphone in public. It appears to be an extremely difficult concept, but the book can simplify it by pointing out the virtues of low phone voices.

• “Bingo for Dummies”. This would be a personal favorite for me. I’m often told that Bingo is about the simplest game ever invented. I don’t believe it. If the game is so simple, why don’t I ever win? I’m convinced I’m missing something tactical. Maybe I don’t know how to arrange the cards? Maybe I’m not marking the numbers a certain way? Maybe I should pick a certain type of card seller? I’m absolutely sure there’s a better way to play Bingo to win. I’m positive there is…

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