I can’t decide whether I enjoy James Breakwell’s Twitter account or his Twitter handle more. His account is filled with snippets of conversations with his kids that are funny, familiar and sometimes eerily close to the exact same conversation you just had with your kid. His Twitter handle, on the other hand, never changes and it shouldn’t because it’s perfect: @XplodingUnicorn. It’s part 90s punk band, part kids cartoon parody, but 100% awesome, especially when you learn that Breakwell is the father of four daughters. With over 1 million followers on Twitter but still not enough subscribers on YouTube to impress his kids (this is a great story), Breakwell runs an impressive dad platform of blog posts, videos, newsletters and yes, what we love most here on ‘Books & Biceps’, books. He is the author of Bare Minimum Parenting, Only Dead on the Inside, and his newest book coming out in June: How to Be a Man (Whatever That Means). We’ve already talked about correcting the deadlift form on the book cover below for the next imprint, but in the meantime, please enjoy Three Answers with James Breakwell.
1) A few years ago, I realized I had a stockpile of funny stories I’d never told because they were outside the scope of my role as a dad. Over the past four books (and 20,000 tweets), I’ve really pigeon-holed myself on that whole parenting comedy thing. Oops. I wanted a place to share all the great, hilarious anecdotes from my own life that turned me into the man I am today, for better or for worse. Definitely for worse. This is like my greatest hits album, except nobody has ever heard any of the songs before. That’s just a metaphor. I promise there is no singing in this book. Any attempt I make to hold a tune is a crime against nature.
2) I didn’t realize just how unreliable eyewitnesses are until I went back and interviewed some of the people from these stories. Everybody has a different version of what really went down. I cobbled them all together, generally siding with the funniest version, even if it made me look bad. Scratch that. Especially if it made me look bad. When you get into comedy writing, your pride is the first thing to go. For one story, I grew up believing one version of how my grandfather almost got killed by a bull, but it turned out I had it all wrong. The real details were even better. I put both versions in there to show the weird, winding way in which family legends grow and change over time. My grandfather was one tough dude. It’s probably for the best that he’s not alive to see this book.
3) My favorite chapter to write was definitely the one about the great lawn gnome caper. It gave me a chance to reconnect with my old roommates from college to swap previously unknown details about our favorite story of all time. Of course, it wasn’t our favorite story when it was happening. A lot of lives were almost ruined. It was the closest of calls. But in the end, it all worked out. Maybe not for my former roommates, but for me because I got the best chapter I’ve ever written. Thanks for sacrificing yourselves, guys.
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Jon Finkel is the award-winning author of Hoops Heist, The Life of Dad, Jocks In Chief, The Athlete, Heart Over Height, “Mean” Joe Greene and more. His books have been endorsed by everyone from Mark Cuban and Tony Dungy to Spike Lee, Kevin Durant and Chef Robert Irvine. He has written for GQ, Men’s Health, Yahoo! Sports, The New York Times and has appeared on CBS: This Morning, Good Morning Texas, and hundreds of radio shows, podcasts and streams.