My taste in books go from children’s (naturally since I have a child) to the odd and unusual variety of books, such as this one. Not only was my family researched for this book, surprisingly so was yours. Will I or will I not reveal if I, or you, made the cut to be ”The Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen”? Read on to see just what I decide to reveal in this review.
”The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen” was written by someone who always strived to be the best at everything he did. From sports to his education, only the best would do. Average was nowhere he wanted to be! Kevin O’Keefe filled this book with tons of facts that most of us would never even think to ask about, much less research. I am not a numbers person, so at some points I found my mind wandering and had to re-read the duller facts, such as according to a 2004 American Demographics report, less than 30 percent from the Generation Y group are “willing to sacrifice family time to get ahead,” but other facts piqued my interest, such as over the past two years, Finland has ranked first in the world in its citizens’ honesty and reading skills. I found the author’s style of writing easy to follow and he had me engaged. He researched every person in America, including me and you.
The book follows his path to hunt for the most average American. How did he do this? You got me. I will tell ya, reading along it sounded like he would ask random folks “hey, what do you think the average American would do or have?” and that led him to another criteria. I swear, that is how it read to me. He did stop by the Census Bureau and did call and check facts, like if the person he spoke to mentioned having a garage, he would sometimes check the surveys to see what percentage of Americans had garages, and then he would take the middle number and factor it in the equation or not according to if most would have garages. Maybe the author did each and every time he added another criteria, but he did not mention all those phone calls and research. So it seemed he was basing his criteria on what random folks thought the Average American would have or be or do. It also seemed that the author’s journey was directed by these random folks mentioning maybe a cousin who seemed like they were average or some such.
About half of the book is told when the author is in a marathon with another average American and they are discussing other requirements for an average American. I will disclose that they came in well after the middle of the pack. Many facts about past Americans being average and how well they did and how happy they were in their life. Also, it spoke about politicians always stating they are just an Average Joe like the rest of us. Oh yeah, then it is good to be just an Average Joe like the rest of us! The criteria was not solid as in the person would not have to be exactly as the criteria stated, but maybe close to the number of times he did XYZ each year. Each chapter is preceded with the number of Americans who were eliminated from the search so we would find out that candidates remaining were fewer than 30 million.
Okay could you be the most average American? Here are a few of the criteria you must have met:
Not be a racist
Be pro-gambling. This astonished me! No one I know gambles, nor do I. But then, it goes on to talk about Bingo and those friendly games of chance at the workplace. Now you cannot tell me that you or your church do not raise money with Bingo or other types of games. It just does not sound like gambling when it is Bingo!
Make between $30,000 and $300,000
Know the names of the Three Stooges
Urinate while in the shower at times
Spend $100 more on shoes than on fresh vegetables each year
Spend only 5 percent of your time outdoors
Your weight must be between 135 and 205 pounds. (This eliminated fashion models and department store Santas.)
Have a stereo, television, and cable service in your home
Eat ice cream at least once monthly. There goes the lactose intolerant crowd!
Wear glasses or contacts
You have to speak and understand the English language
Your life has been impacted by drug use, maybe by a relative’s habit
Reading ”The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen,” I felt intrigued right up to the last pages at just who ended up being The Average American. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever find out. It was a long journey for this author that equaled a great book. I did feel that some of the criteria and process of elimination was off-base, but I am not the author. He did it his way, and it is a great book that was an interesting read. I was actually jealous of his travels to find this mysterious Average person. At times I wondered if the author would be banging on our door soon as we did those things, owned that, did that, and on. But I was eliminated after just a short time. No I am not revealing who was the nation’s most ordinary citizen, but I did give you a few of the criteria up above to judge if you yourself could be eliminated already. You can thank me later.
The hunt was on for the most ordinary among us, and I did not even know that I was being researched!
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