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Table of Contents and Introduction by Gordon Kirkland

I Always Wanted to Be a Writer and Now I Are Won

Married Bliss Isn't Always an Oxymoron

It's Always Okay to Laugh - Unless It's at Me
I'm Sure Glad My Wife Didn't Give Birth on the Internet
A Cut Below the Belt
I Need a Lot of Planning to Be Spontaneous
The Complaint Department Is Now Closed
Yes, Dear
Quelling a Taste for Champagne on a Tap-Water Budget

Surviving Ground Zero in the Nuclear Family

At Least We're Needed for Something
I'm Supporting a Pair of Walking Dichotomies
Seven Per Cent of a Whale of a Time
Strike Camping Off My "To Do" List
Send in the Clones
Gamesmanship in the Nineties
Things That Go Gznork in the Night
How Do They Park in a Parallel Universe?
Is There an Overreaders Anonymous?
Legal Interpretations for Parents of Teenagers
How High's the Water, Papa?
I'll Take Secondhand Smoke over Secondhand Sweat Any Day
Much Ado About Stuff
My Son, the World Traveler

I May Not Be Handy, but I've Got All My Fingers

Getting Down and Dirty, Richer and Poorer
The Night Godzilla Attacked the Garbageman
Please Do Not Disturb - I'm Already Disturbed Enough
Just Call Me Mr. Crime Prevention
So That's What They Mean by "House Training"
They Don't Call Me Gord "The Toolman" Kirkland for Good Reason
Ah, the Sweet Smell of - Oh, Good Lord, What the Heck Is That?

Society Is a Box of Chocolates with Too Many Nuts

Justice Is Blind - and Her Dog Just Peed in My Cornflakes
Is an Ordinary Cup of Coffee Too Much to Ask?
My Ribs Are Togetherness-Challenged
Whatever Happened to Plain Old Everyday Crayons?
Avoid Hassles with Canada Customs - Carry a Surface-to-Air Missile
If Fire Can Be Harnessed, Where Do You Put the Bridle?
I Don't Have Multiple Personalities- and Neither Do I
Time Travel Is Expensive
What Was That You Just Called Me?
Read This, or You'll Hear from My Lawyers
Feeling Fear at the Fall Fair
It's Not a Pet Store - It's a Zoo
Anyone Know Where I Can Get Some Swans A-Swimming?

Absolutely No Broccoli Was Injured During the Publication of This Book

It Might Be Good for What Ails Ya
I'm Not a Cajun Ant, but I Could Be an Ostrich
Welcome to Earth, Turd Rock from the Sun
Sure, I Eat Lots of Vegetables
A Waist Is a Terrible Thing to Mind

Whoever Said Getting There Is Half the Fun Never Had to Fly with Me

Surviving Flying Babies
Freeway Flashes
Flights of Antsy
Driving Miss Demeanor
Pure Animal Lust in the Back of a Pickup
What If Flight Attendants Said What They Really Mean?
I May Have the Right Stuff, After All
Let's Not Have Any Unscheduled, Catastrophic Flight Abbreviations

I Hope the Future's As Much Fun As My Pasture

Take Back the Clowns
Curious Cures for What Ails Ya
One Size Fits None
I Never Realized Tennis Elbow Could Be Such a Pain in the Butt
There's a Pusher on Every Corner for My Addiction
Needles Make Me Feel So Unwelcome
Not This Week, I Have a Headache
I Miss Horsing Around
Kirkland's Rules to Live By

INTRODUCTION: I Always Wanted to Be a Writer, and Now I Are One

These pages contain the best of nearly four years of my syndicated newspaper column, 'At Large." It's a mixture of stories from my life, my family-both nuclear and extended-and the way I look at other people's lives when they are reported in the media.

My life has been filled with laughter. From my earliest memories on, it's the laughter that stands out, not the tears. Our family dinners bore no resemblance to those seen in the Cleaver household we watched on Leave It to Beaver. Looking back, I think my family was more like Monty Python's Flying Circus meets Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

My life in the nineties has been a roller-coaster ride. The decade started with the release of my first books, six dull and boring texts about international trade. That wasn't the kind of writer I had dreamed of becoming back in Pat Cole's high school English class in London, Ontario, in 1972.

Thoughts of any kind of career were put on hold in August 1990 when I sustained a severe spinal injury in a golfing accident. No, I didn't play full-contact golf. While I was on my way to a course, my car was rear-ended by a man looking for a cassette tape on the floor of his car. It really screwed up my handicap.

The next two years were spent in various forms of therapy and frustration while the effects of the injury took full control of my life. Just after the second anniversary of the accident, in August 1992, when I started to make my first attempts at "walking" again, a severely hung-over driver rear-ended my car and eliminated what few gains I had made. I spent the next two months in the hospital trying to rebuild my life as well as my body.

Two years later, in May 1994, 1 started to believe that even-numbered years in the nineties were out to get me. I was rear-ended again, this time by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was the fastest I had ever seen the police on the scene of an accident. The officer told me it was the fastest he had ever arrived on the scene of an accident.

A few months after that third accident, and twenty-two years after I left Pat Cole's classroom, I made my debut as a columnist in the Times and Transcript of Moncton, New Brunswick. Finally, after seeing that first Times and Transcript byline, I could call myself a writer and believe it. Syndication began a year and a half later.

I hope my readers have had as much fun reading about my life and times as I have had writing - and living - them.