Indignant and facetious response: Oh, sure, just because my last name ends in a vowel, I should be predisposed to liking a book titled "Fuhgeddaboudit! From Fist-Pumping to the Family Restaurant, 101 Ways to Tell If You're a Real Guido"
Reality check: I'm on a lot of PR lists.
When I received this book, written by Andrea and Eric Renzoni, in the mail last week, I shrugged it off as a stereotypical caricature of Italian-American life.
But since I grew up with Cynthia as my dreamgirl and Johnny O as her dreamboy, I decided to give the book a shot. Or at least a cursory glance, given my roots in the Z-Cavaricci Era. Plus, a YouTube search for "guido" yields "about 82,800" videos so clearly there's some interest in the subject, even if that interest is a purely observational study of "That Guy" and how not to achieve such status.
Well, forget about "Fuhgeddaboudit."
It reads like a glorified version of one of those silly e-mail forwards you get from your aunts, uncles and people who just learned what an e-mail address is. It's essentially an illustrated manuscript for MTV's "Jersey Shore," minus the illustrations and hair poofs. But, for sure, bro, there are several "GTL" references in there.
Props to the authors for listing all 101 ways in the index at the front of the book. That spared me from having to actually go page by page.
Sprinkled throughout the book are trivia quizzes to test your knowledge of "A Bronx Tale," "Jersey Shore," "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas." Nice touch, but the questions should be more difficult. Anyone who owns the trilogy and/or the 2-sided "Goodfellas" DVD will ace this quiz.
There's also Appendix A, titled "10 Guido Recipes That Would Make Your Nonnie Say, 'Mangia, Mangia!' " No. 1 on that list is meatballs. Right there, we have a problem. Every true Italian knows that no one's meatballs could ever be as good as your mother's (or grandmother's, depending on who the cook in your family was growing up.. If they wanted to include meatballs in the recipe list, perhaps it could have read something like this:
Go ask your mother. Or your grandmother. Next!
In the interest of full disclosure, since I grew up with Drakkar Noir, Skidz pants and Al Q as my club and concert calendar, here's my scorecard from the 101 ways to know if you're a real guido.
Things I do now: 6
Things I did then and want to fugheddabout: 7
Of those, my favorite is No, 40, which I do now/still: "You've made a special playlist on your iPod full of your favorite house music."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I hear some freestyle music in the background. Time to go pump a fist or two. Ooh, oh, Diamond girl!