Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

Guru to Visit
David Simmonds

Noted motivational personality Max Horscheit is coming to the County this winter. His millions of fans know him. The date is yet fixed, but it is rumoured the venue will be the Alisonville Elks Hall.

For those few who have been on another planet for the past five years, Dr. Max is the author of the platinum best selling series of books based on the title “Five things my Mother could tell me.” His television appearances are always top rated, save in areas in which the Jerry Springer show airs, and his speaking tours pack arenas all over North America. 

Dr. Max has explained, in countless interviews, how he got his start. An underperforming appliance salesperson, he did well selling dishwashers. One day, while browsing through the self-help titles in his local book warehouse he noticed that every one bore a success sticker of some sort: “Six million copies sold,” “Soon to be a major television series,” “The number 1 National Inquirer bestseller” and “Read this book and tell me what it says)!” by Donald Trump.

As he was browsing, the thought struck him: this stuff’s all obvious - maybe with my language skills I could write one of these. When he looked more closely, he noticed everyone had a ‘hook’ of some sort - like “72 things to do... before you’re 50” or “The Complete Idiot’s guide... to brain surgery.”

The trick, he thought, was to have a title that could churn out endless reprises of the same theme - such as the “hot oatmeal” series, which included such titles as “hot oatmeal for the alpha male,” “hot oatmeal for the doting grandmother” and “hot oatmeal for the weekend rocket scientist.”

For good measure, he noticed the number of ultra slim best sellers, such as “Wednesdays with Lennie” and “Three people I won’t meet in hell.” The lesson: keep it short, weepy and blindingly obvious and you can’t go far wrong.

First out of the gate was “Five things my Mother could tell me - a lifetime of wisdom in simple words.” Those five things were:

1. Shine your shoes and change your underwear because you never know.

2. Get your homework done before you watch television.

3. Pass the cookie plate before serving yourself: there’s enough for everyone.

4. Always, write a note to say thank you.

5. Never, talk about anyone who’s not around.

Max finished the book in four weeks, and found a publisher in no time.

“I hit the nail right out of the park,” says Dr. Max. “I was deluged with letters from people who said the book touched a nerve - either because it reminded them of their mothers or because they thought they could have written it themselves. I even had a letter from one man who said it made him feel like going out and buying a Yanni CD.”

In no time, Max had produced a series of “Five things my Mother could tell me about...” books. The first - “Five things...about organic gardening” was not a runaway success, but the next, “Five things...about second marriages,” and the next after that, “Five things... about luxury condominiums,” were spectacular successes. A commemorative, executive summary edition of the original volume also did very well.

On the day we met him, Dr. Max was keen to talk about his new book, “Five things...about a happy life.” “As always, it’s very simple,” he says, “I can knock these off in a couple of weeks now.

What were his Mother’s watchwords? In a Wellington “Times” exclusive, we can reveal them as: 

1.    The first step is the deepest.

2.    The glass is never half-baked.

3.    Aim for the highest valley.

4.    Live for today, and plan for tomorrow.

5.    Make the moments last a moment.

Dr. Max is reluctant to talk about his mother. “She was a mother, like everyone else’s mother; her name was Gladys,” was all he would say.

Dr. Max has no time for his critics. Challenged by some who say he misrepresents himself as a doctor, Dr. Max brushes them off by saying “everyone calls themselves a doctor these days: how else can you get on TV?” Besides, he adds, “if the glass slipper was on the other foot, they wouldn’t be throwing stones.”

Tickets for the County appearance range from $100 to $250. Autographed copies of Dr. Max’s books will be available for $59.95, harmonized sales tax not included. A kissing booth will also be open at $75 for a fifteen- second smooch.

It is heavily rumoured, although a spokesman for Dr. Max denies it, that Dr. Max will appear at the Wellington Legion Friday night dinner the weekend of his County appearance. “How can we commit” she wondered out loud, “when we don’t know if it is roast beef, quarter chicken or barbecued ribs night?”

Why isn’t Dr. Max booking the Dukedom if he fills arenas wherever he goes? “Do you have to ask?” replied a Dukes spokesperson. “This is Wellington, and it’s almost NHL playoff time.” 

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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