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Book Review: "The Cubs Fan's Guide To Happiness"

This breezy little book was released just before the season started by the editors of The Heckler.

If you don't know what The Heckler is, you'll see it in and around the Wrigleyville area and the ballpark; it's a free newspaper containing humorous articles like this one titled "Cubs Cut Bullpen", in which Jim Hendry releases everyone in the pen because the starters have done so well, and:

To fill the empty roster spots vacated by the bullpen's departure, the Cubs have called up six outfielders, including Buck Coats and Angel Pagan from Triple-A Iowa and some guy named Yusuf Carter from Class-A.

"With Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd, Matt Murton and Mark DeRosa all sharing time in right, we didn't feel there was enough of a logjam," Hendry explained. "With nine right fielders on the roster, Lou will now have the opportunity to play a different guy out there every inning."

The book is a fleshed-out version of how the paper's twenty- and thirty-something writers view the Cubs and Cubs fans, with chapters entitled "If Not Soriano, Beer Will Make It Better", "It's Not Over until You're Mathematically Eliminated", and "The Power of Low Expectations". You'll find spot-on caricatures of the "Wrigley Kid" (looks eerily like Mark with cotton candy in his hand), the "Bleacher Bum" (looks absolutely nothing like me), the famous (or infamous) "Lincoln Park Trixie", and the "Skybox Guest"; and two appendices, "15 Habits of Highly Happy Cubs Fans", and "A Century of Losing: 100 Years, 100 Frustrations", which combined are longer than the official chapters. The latter appendix includes just about everything that we'd all remember as lowlights in Cub history, everything from losing the 1906 World Series to the White Sox, to Leon Durham's error in the 1984 NLCS, to the acquisition of Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock in 1964, and fan-centric things like Jeff Gordon ("Wrigley Stadium") and Ozzy Osbourne singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", and even the dreaded Virtual Waiting Room.

And I was most surprised when I turned to page 77 and found a photo of my friends Holly and Linda, taken at the game in New York in 1997 when the Cubs finally broke their 0-14 start that year. But guys -- you didn't know this, but neither of them "traveled all the way to New York's Shea Stadium" to go to the doubleheader that day, unless you count a trip on the NYC subways as "traveling", because both of them lived in the NYC area then.

This book's just fun. Unlike the Heckler, which is free -- and they have to print "FREE -- DO NOT BUY FROM STREET FOLKS" on the front page, because a lot of those street folks were taking stacks of them out of the street boxes and trying to sell them for $1 each -- you will have to shell out $12.95 for "The Cubs Fan's Guide To Happiness". Worth it, I think, for the laughs we all need as Cubs fans.