If Dave Barry didn’t live in Florida, he might live in Idaho. Why? “Number one, it’s beautiful,” he says. “Number two, nobody goes there. Three, the license plates say ‘Famous Potatoes.’” But fortunately for his fans, Dave Barry doesn’t live in Idaho. He’s spent a career poking loving fun at Florida, that most curious Southern state he calls home.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist’s new book, Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland is a light-hearted look at the state’s strangeness from Orlando (“basically a mass of sweating tourists,” he calls it) to Key West (“basically Mars”), and the Everglades (“basically a smelly swamp”). What does he hope to get out of all this? “I think Florida should pay me,” he says. “Or maybe make me lieutenant governor.”
Here, the author shares a few of his favorite Florida facts.*
1. “When you read a story about some idiot in Florida doing some idiot thing, remember there’s a good chance that idiot did not come from Florida.
2. In fact he might have come from your state.
3. Florida has only 6 percent of the nation’s population, but it produces 57 percent of the nation’s weirdness. Without Florida, the United States would face a serious national weirdness shortage.
4. Florida also produces almost all of the nation’s top alligator wrestlers.
5. Florida is an open and tolerant state that will issue a driver’s license to any organism consisting of more than one cell.
6. Florida has not messed up a presidential election in years.
7. Florida has a mild, moderate climate, except during hurricane season (which runs from June through the following June).
8. In parts of Florida you can purchase an alligator head without even getting out of your car.”
*May or may not be actual facts.