I was browsing through iBookstore one night when I came across this book. Cuss words usually turn me off but melancholy was me that night. The third word was “Dad.” It merited a second glance.
A good thing about digital book stores is that it allows us to download a sample of a book, normally the first few pages, for us to see whether or not it’s worth our time and money. The “BUY” option is just click away if you want to read the book in digital format otherwise, you can just delete the sample to declutter your collection.
I hit the delete button not because I thought it was crappy. A quick online check showed that a paperback copy at National Bookstore costs cheaper than the e-book version. So, I made it a task to wait for a nearby NBS to open to get a copy the following day. Never had I felt the need to go on a panic-buying mode since Ondoy.
Strangely, what filled me while reading the book is somehow like what the general sentiment that gripped me while reading Tuesdays with Morrie: a desire to have a Morrie/Sam gracing my life (Sam Halpern is the dad in Sh*t). Both men share philosophical musings for their younger ward’s guidance but the context is a personal relationship and not the classroom or a much generalized formula, as in most self-help books.
But that’s all the two books will ever get similar to one another. Everything else departs from here on.
In Justin Halpern’s (author) introduction, he mentions that the book was actually put together after his Twitter (@shitmydadsays) followers egged him to expand the quotable quotes of advice from his dad, which he tweets.
Justin is 29, Sam is 74, and Justin lives in his dad’s home. He is awesome, according to Justin. He writes down shit that his dad says. And the result is a heck of a book. I was laughing out loud in every chapter but the lessons from Sam derived from their everyday interaction at home and the community makes him endearing, despite the cuss words that fill his every sentence.
Sam in the first place is an interesting person. A doctor of nuclear medicine by profession, he spent much of career doing cancer research. His, apparently, was a rags-to-riches background, thus, i think, this part of his story is what grounds him as a hands-on father and loving husband to his family. He is pragmatic and stands on sound values. We cannot strike out “shit” and “fuck” from his vocabulary because it’s what provides for a study in contrast with those who say those words just because they have nothing else much to say. Sam’s case is forgivable because it was amusing while the other case is simply just noise pollution.
The book is filled with 17 short anecdotes taken during the author’s early childhood up to shortly before this book’s publication; and a generous heap of Sam’s take on many of life’s concerns, written in Twitter fashion (140 characters only).
The author have had many awkward situations with his father but Sam cannot be moved. He said what he’s got say; he did what he ought to do; he stood his ground when he knows he’s doing the right thing; he sided with the weak, like his son’s team mate, because he understands how it was to be weak; and he is all these and some more without trying too hard.
The success of the book owes it to Sam but, lest we forget, the author must also be applauded fo a good job of writing down these vignettes. It was funny to say the least and it presented a man of science in a nuanced light.
In closing, let me share Sam’s thoughts On Feeling Comfortable in One’s Own Skin, which I think best characterizes why he is the way he is.
“It’s my house. I’ll wear clothes when I want to wear clothes, and I’ll be naked when I want to be naked. The fact that your friends are coming over shortly is inconsequential to that–aka I don’t give a shit.”
Get a copy now.