Dorsey World

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Dorsey's novels are filled with references to real people and situations, proving once again that truth is always stranger and funnier than fiction could ever be. "I'm dealing with stuff right on the edge of reality," he says. Readers will recognize plenty of the people and places that Dorsey skewers.

One of the funniest bits in the book involves a grand new bank building designed with a very special atrium. It's actually a reference to the new Tribune/Channel 8 News Center, where functionality is sacrificed for grandiosity to the point that, Dorsey says, "there's this blinding beam of light and people having to wear hats and shades to work. It's insanity, classic corporate insanity."

Dorsey makes a point of saying he loves the people he worked with at the Tribune and he loved working there. "But I have to mock the corporation," he says "because it's such a classic, ridiculous corporation. ... We used to take the latest corporate mission statement and add: "and to make the thickest, creamiest shakes.'"

Tampa provided plenty of other targets for Dorsey's satire as well, including Dale Mabry and South Tampa, particularly that stretch of South Howard Avenue so pretentiously called SoHo, after a trendy New York neighborhood it doesn't resemble at all. "It made the young professionals feel cosmo, writes Dorsey, "but it only increased the reek of small pond."

The best satirists have a true affection for their subject. They adore the foibles of their quarry for their comedic possibilities. Dorsey's affection for the posers, consultants, crack heads, strippers, convenience stores, motels and swamps is evident in his books. "I'm target-rich," says Dorsey, and you can tell by reading his books that he has fun writing them. "I'm doing what I always wanted to do," he says. "I used to think there was about one-tenth of one percent it would happen." Contact Susan Edwards at 813-248-8888. ext. 122, or at [email protected].

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Prologue

My name is Edith Grabowski. I'm eighty-one years old, and I had sex last night.

I wanted to tell you that up front and get it out of the way because that's what all the TV people want to know. They giggle and use silly nicknames for sex when they ask. I don't think they're getting any.

I'd never been on national TV in my life before last week, and now I've been on six times in four days. In a few minutes, it'll be seven.

I'd also never been to Los Angeles. We're in the green room right now, but my husband Ambrose says its blue. He's wrong, but I don't say anything. That's how you make a marriage last.

We're newlyweds. But you knew that already unless you've been on another planet or just come out of a coma. We were married on the Today Show by Al Roker, because he has a notary license. They say ratings went through the roof. We're rich now, too.

One of those network hospitality ladies in a blue blazer is asking me if I'm okay again. Do I want a pillow or some juice? I tell her I'm fine. She pats my hand and smiles that stupid false smile the stewardesses give you when you're getting off the plane. You just want to smack her.

They usually want to know about the sex right after they ask how on earth we stayed alive. They still can't believe we didn't all die. What's not to believe? We just ...

Uh-oh, here comes another woman in a blazer. This one's blond. Am I all right? Of course I'm all right! I can take care of myself. That's how I got to be eighty-one. I'd like to see you make it. And don't touch me!

It's like this every time, every show. Just because I'm eighty-one, they treat me like some kind of magical little pet that can only understand four simple commands and will crap itself if they don't watch out. I'm the one who gets the most questions on camera because I say what's on my mind. Fifty years ago I was just pushy, but now I'm a "character" or a "live wire."

The networks go nuts over any story where an old person shows spunk. That's why you hear so much about Florida these days. They might as well just move their studios down there. Seems every other month one of us from the bingo hall makes the rounds of the TV shows. Last time it was that seventy-six-year-old woman from Fort Lauderdale who bit the pit bull.

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