A hilarious guide to life from a man who has "lived large and fallen hard--lost every job I ever had, messed up everybody I've ever dated, been kicked out of every institution I've ever been in"--and still survived; offering observations on courage ("Lots of guys brag they'd fight off anything to save their woman. Yeah, right--there is no sense in both us dying"), discipline ("If you've got to get whupped, your father is the man. Mothers don't stop until you're bleeding to death"), money ("Before computers, checks were great...local ones took fourteen days to clear"), men and women ("If there were no women in the world, men would be naked, driving trucks, living in dirt"), underwear ("Women, do not buy your men bikini underpants"), love ("If you can get a car with no money down, you can get a boyfriend or girlfriend"), marriage ("There is no compromise, you either go to the basketball game or you go to a movie you hate"), divorce ("there are no Betty Ford clinics for strung-out lovers. You have to go cold turkey"), dieting ("I would be hanging out at McDonald's, tapping on the window: 'Don't throw out those fries!'"), parenting ("When they caught Jeffrey Dahmer, his mom was protective: 'He always had a healthy appetite...'"), technology, and much more.
From the Paperback edition.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
My friend Oprah Winfrey, on her TV show, has called me "the funniest man on the planet." That was kind of embarrassing--but if Oprah wants to think I'm funny, who am I to argue?
My mother says I'm brilliant. Well, I am her son, so she might not be objective--but since she knows me better than anyone, it must be true.
Don't ask me. All I can say for sure is that I'm a 6'5" black comedian with red hair and a high butt who has walked a mile in every man's shoes. What I mean is, I've lived large and fallen hard--lost every job I've ever had, messed up everybody I've ever dated, been kicked out of every institution I've ever been in, including marriage--and I've survived. That's how I know everything. Why, you could steal five or six books and not find as much help as I will give you.
Don't act like you don't need my help.
I know your life is jacked up--hanging around the bookstore, all by yourself. It's sad. You're probably one of those lookey-loos too, browsing the book for free, should I buy it, should I not? Hasn't indecision ruled your life long enough? Take a stand and buy it.
But do me a favor: Until I've had the chance to get your life in order, please pay cash. I'd hate to have to call the repo man on you.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I know what you're thinking: Who does he think he is--"the only man who could ever teach you"? Well, it's from a song: "The only one who could ever teach me was the son of a preacher man..."
Now, I am the son of a preacher man, and that was supposed to be the title. But it's too long. The publisher broke down the economics of it for me: The cost of ink and printing, it adds up--four extra words can add up to $4 billion. So I had to shorten it up.
Do me a favor now: Look at the cover of this book. What's different? Yeah, that's right--it isn't O.J.! There's a black man on the cover of this book who isn't O.J.! This is the first book like that in years--it took the publishers a little while to buy another brother--and you've got it in your hands. I'm proud of you!
All right now--on to the book! I know you're wondering, "What kind of crazy stuff is Sinbad talking about now? What could Sinbad possibly write about that would help me? Well, the fact is, Mr. or Miss Know-Everything, this book can set you straight in life. How do I know? Because I do know everything. And it hurts my head sometimes to carry it all around. In fact, that's the real reason I wanted to write this book, so that I could get a lot of the old information about life that I know down on paper, so that I could forget some of that stuff and make room in my head for all the vital new information that's out there, like on-line E-mail addresses, URLs, and other cool cyberspace stuff. Because that is the future: We aren't going to live in the real world, we're going to live on-line. I've got to get ready for that.
Don't let the idea of my "guide to life" make you think that I'm laying some heavy reading trip on you. I realize the last book you probably read straight through was the instruction book to your VCR and I'm sure the clock on it is still flashing 12:00, so I have tried to make it easy reading for you. I've kept the chapters short so you can take breaks, go to the bathroom, have a life, and be with your family. In fact, this book is best read during bathroom sessions, so you can come to it in complete silence and with total concentration. Don't act like you don't know what I mean. You do read in the bathroom. We've all been there.
And don't confuse this book with those "self-improvement" books they sell on those crazy late-night TV infomercials that tell you how to set fire to your abs or clean everything with one product that you can also brush your teeth with--I don't think so.
Also, do not look for this book to feed your addiction to daytime TV talk shows. Nobody's going to break down and cry in here and there are no ugly, family screaming matches. Well, my brother did hit me because I stole his Jaz drive while I was writing the book but that was just some latent childhood stuff coming out.
What I'm saying is, it's okay to have fun with the book. These are serious times, so I realize some of you feel you need special permission to have fun. But be advised that while you're laughing, I do expect you to be paying attention. Because I'm not playing with you here, boys and girls. All this stuff is true (well, most of it...a lot of it...some of it).
Don't let the fact that I graduated from the Barbizon School of Modeling throw you off either. Although I look like a model, I have substance. And by the way, it was between me and that model--that Tyson guy--for those Polo ads. I didn't get it because my butt was too high.
But, hey, I'm not writing this book to hold myself up as a role model. I just feel it is my burden here to share some of life's lessons with you. Plus I called the psychic hotline and she told me I would write a book. I wanted her to be right because I spent almost $100.
What makes me so qualified to share my guide to life? Well, let's see now...
* I dropped out of college.
* I was booted out of the Air Force.
* I'm divorced.
* I've been broke most of my life (even before I was divorced).
* I've been fired from every single job I've ever held except as a comic, where I've managed to make a name for myself. I know, I haven't yet made a last name for myself, but I've made a lasting name out of the one I've got. Of course, now that I think of it, by today's key measuring standards of comedy stardom...
* I've got no TV series (and the only one I did have barely made it through one season).
* I am not in recovery (but I do know where the Betty Ford Clinic is).
* I am not dating someone half my age, of either sex (yet).
* I never did time (that anyone knows about).
* I work clean--no swearing, or sexy-clothes-wearing (because I can't fit into those tight pants).
* I've never been naked in a hot tub (at least there's no pictures of it).
* I've never killed an alien in a movie--though I did annoy Arnold Schwarzenegger a lot.
I know you're thinking, what do I have to teach you? After all, most of those self-help books are written by people who are members of Mensa. I could have joined but I didn't have the application fee. It's not just about being smart--it's about having a valid credit card. Do you want a book by one of those Mensa dudes or dudettes whose life has been one big breeze or by somebody like me who's been riding the twisters life throws at most of us?
Let's say you want to know about money. Do you think anything some billionaire will tell you in a book is going to help your situation, unless he tells you which dark street he walks down so you can jack him up? No, you want to hear from somebody like me whose checks have had some mighty bounces--I'm talking Michael Jordan verticals--but who still survived and never got arrested.
If you want tips on how to lead a dull, stable life and wear the right clothes for success, you can look somewhere else. Me, I believe you'll learn more worthwhile lessons from the man who couldn't hang on to a job, a woman, or a residence for any decent length of time ever. Someone who went from goofy kid to brain-damaged adult and is still smiling. Someone who's had his electricity turned off many times but has never been in the dark for long.
But, don't be looking for these pages to be a celebrity tellall. I promised myself I wouldn't turn this book into a namedropping, hair-salon-level gossip fess, spilling all the dirt I've got on my Hollywood, music, and sports star friends. (I also knew Shirley MacLaine in a past life--she was a black runaway slave and I helped her north to freedom.)
That's all in my next book. I'm holding out for the big bucks for that one. Then I'm telling everything.
Besides, I don't want to bore you with all those stories about me jamming with the Beatles (it was me who first told Yoko to just shut up); about teaching Dennis Rodman that rebounding is not enough--the hair is the thing; about how I sucker-punched George Foreman (he still doesn't know it was me); about my dives with Jacques Cousteau (he says the shark is our friend, but I saw one tear his butt up one time--he's still paying me not to release that footage of the shark that was not his friend); and teaching Baryshnikov how to pull the tights out of his butt without the audience noticing (tricky move!)--just to tease you with a few of my random memories.
And, of course, there is the now-famous story of my short time with The Jackson Five Plus One. That's right, The Jackson Five Plus One. They had an extra microphone and needed a guy to stand in front of it. I was that guy. You don't see me in the photos because cassettes were getting popular--and they were afraid there wouldn't be enough room for me on the cover.
I told them, "Look, let me show you boys a few steps and a few harmonies." But I didn't like it because that chimp was always making the floor wet (which is how Michael learned to moonwalk so slick), and I was the first to outgrow the clothes and the old man was too cheap to spring for a larger size for me, so I left. Not before Michael stole that whole Band-Aid on the fingers, high-pitched squeal number from me, which was how I always reacted to a paper cut in those days, "EEEEK!!"
But those are all the celebrity stories you're going to pull out of me. Especially don't go looking for any of my stories about Whitney or Barbra or Tom Cruise, because my lips have been sealed, but I won't tell you on whose Hollywood lips my lips have been sealed. Not now anyway.
Because I'm too young to be writing my memoirs yet. I've just turned forty, and yes, I have to admit even this finely tuned machine is beginning to slow down and swell up a little bit. If you take away nothing else from this book, let me give you one bit of important truth from the north side of forty: By the time you hit forty, you don't have any toes left. The end of your foot becomes one big corn with a toenail at the end. See that--even if you stop reading this book right now you've learned one big lesson that I wish I'd known when I was thirty-five. You've already gotten your money's worth from this book!
But, please don't stop. Because I, Sinbad, am an honest-to-goodness son of a preacher man. That's right, my father was a real preacher in Michigan, where our family grew up. (Tha...
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