EDITOR'S NOTE: For the past 10 years, Lewis Grizzard has annually produced a best-selling book. His 10 titles have more than 2 million copies in print, and his latest book, Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know them Taters Got Eyes, has been on the New York Times best-seller list for weeks. In April, the first two in a series of advice books by Grizzard will be published by Longstreet Press. We wanted to talk with Grizzard about his vairous projects, but we could never catch up with him. Therefore, we asked Lewis Grizzard to interview himself.
Q: Well, Lewis, I'm glad I was able to catch you between engagements to ask you a few questions. So how many times have you been engaged?
A: That was a trick question, wasn't it? I can see that I'll have to be careful during this interview. Truth is, I've been engaged only once, but I've been married three times so far. I'd rather play than practice.
Q: Are you presently married?
A: No, but there are several women auditioning for the part.
Q: Is that why you decided to write the advice book, Lews Grizzard's Advice to the Newly Wed…and the Newly Divorced?
A: Yes, it seemed like the perfect marriage of subject and author. and that may be as close as I get to a perfect union.
Q: Could you give us an example of your sage advice to a newly married man?
A: Beware of crying women. Crying is the ultimate weapon they use to get their way. Crying has led me to dine with in-laws I didn't want to dine with, to eat green soup that looked like pond scum, and to answer questions about how much life insurance I had in case both my arms got cut off. Any one of my ex-wives could have cried Jane Fonda onto the Supreme Court. One of them almost got me to vote for George McGovern by crying—I told her I would, but at the last minute I remembered the secret ballot.
Q: What about advice for anyone considering divorce?
A: Be prepared to lose even your most valued personal possessions in divorce court. I have lost, among other things, several sofas and beds, one good dog, a number of television sets, and my priceless Faron Young albums. She didn't even like Faron Young, but she told a friend she really enjoyed watching the records melt in the fire. It could have been worse, I guess.
Another friend was puzzled when the jury came back in to ask the judge for further instructions during his divorce trial. He questioned his attorney and was told, "After what your wife said about you, they're probably asking if they can recommend the death penalty."
Q: You seem to have a real love-hate attitude toward women. Would you agree with that statement?
A: Well, along with Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias, i've loved my share and probably a few of yours. But the only thing I really hate is three-putting from ten feet. I guess my attitude toward women was shaped by my father. In his lifetime, he fought the Germas, the North Koreans, and the Communist Chines, and later he said to me, "Son, there's nothing in this world meaner than a quarrelsome woman."
Q: So what's the title of your other advice book?
A: It's called Lewis Grizzard on Fear of Flying. That's another subject that I know a great deal about.
Q: Yes, I understand that you travel a lot.
A: Travel a lot . . . I've got so many frequent flier miles hat one airline tried to give me my own plane. I told them I didn't want it.
Q: So what is it about flying that bothers you so much?
A: Actually, I like flying. It's the crashing and burning that bothers me. Just think about it: Why is it that the first thing you see approaching an airport is a big sign that says "Terminal?"
Flying is unnatural. If God had intended for man to fly, He never would have given him the rental car with unlimited mileage.
Q: But, in spite of that, you continue to fly hundreds of thousands of miles a year. Why?
A: Have you ever tried driving from Atlanta to Casper, Wyoming? That's just a longer, slower death.
Q: So give me a few tips about flying.
A: First, I recommend a visit to the airport var . . . at least twelve hours before scheduled departure. when boarding the plane, listen closely for any airline personnel using the word "forgot." If they forgot to bring a new deck of playing cards, might they also have forgotten to gas up the plane and check the oil before takeoff?
If the mechanic making last-minute checks underneath the plane is nammed Bubba, I'd take the next flight.
Try to pay attention when they're going over the safety instructions. sometimes I goof up and forget to bring my seat back to its original locked and upright position for takeoff and landing.
Probably the worst thing I do when I fly, however, is that, in the unlikely event there is a loss of cabin pressure, I don't breathe normally when I place the oxygen mask over my head and face. Instead, I breathe like a Secretariat down the stretch.
And finally, for now, I recommend that you don't eat airline food. That way you never have to loosen your grip on the seat.
Q: That certainly sounds like good advice. I don't suppose you've been asked to do any endorsements for airlines, have you?
A: As a matter of fact, Delta asked me to do one for Eastern. I thought that was a little strange.
Q: Lewis, your humor column is syndicated in more than 350 newspapers nationwide, your books are regular best-sellers, and you are one of the most popular speakers in America. To what do you attribute your success?
A: I'd say the keys to my success are my self-renewing subscription to the Reader's Digest; my collection of old Red Skelton monologues; slow take-away at address and not looping the club a the top of the swing; promising not to do it again while looking hurt; never drawing to fill a straight; and interviewing myself so that I get only positive publicity.