NONFICTION : DAVE BARRY IS NOT MAKING THIS UP, <i> by Dave Barry (Crown: $20; 256 pp.)</i>
Ah, Dave Barry. A landscape strewn with the carcasses of cliches, where connections are tenuous and zits are big enough to cast their own shadows. Barry revisiting Arcola, Ill., to march in the Broom Corn Parade, “a wonderful small-town heartland event that features a tremendous outpouring of what can only be described as ‘beer’.” Barry responding to a reader who asks, “Please explain the expression ‘This does not bode well,’ ”: “It means that something is not boding the way it should. It could be boding better.” Barry in traffic court where “the tension was so palpable that you could feel it,” successfully pleading “nolo contendere (Latin, meaning ‘Can I pay by check?’)” Barry surrendering to “the call of the sea. ‘Hey, YOU!’ are the sea’s exact words.” Mostly, though, there are Barry’s everyday observations, original as sin and twice arrant: “When you see the Supreme Court justices, they always appear to be extremely solemn, if not actually deceased.” “A snake should not be in your yard unless it has your written permission.” And, following a reader poll, the world’s worst lyrics: “ ‘There Ain’t Enough Room in My Fruit of the Looms to Hold All My Love for You.’ (This might not be a real song, but I don’t care.)” Ah, Dave Barry.