The guy next door has made it big, and he wrote a book about it.
Actor Steven R. Schirripa, The Sopranos' Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri, has put together the definitive guide to that elusive North American male known as the goomba in A Goomba's Guide To Life with Charles Fleming (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2002).
Using his own successful transformation from a young goomba on the go in the rough streets of Bensonhurst, N.Y., to goomba glamour on the set of HBO's hit series as a backdrop, Schirripa shows what it means to be a goomba - the good, the bad, and the just plain silly - and how being a goomba got him where he is today.
Along the way he offers affectionate observations on goomba behavior that will have anyone who knows a goomba laughing.
Schirripa was scheduled to sign copies of his book at Hoboken's Barnes & Noble on Washington St. on Dec. 16, but that has been rescheduled for some time in the spring, according to his publicist. Schirripa is friends with fellow Sopranos star and Hobokenite Joe Pantoliano, so he has frequented the mile-square city.
"It's a great little town. The people there really appreciated what we do," he said.
Schirripa will be at the Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y. on Dec. 13; Wegman's in Bridgewater on Dec. 15; and Barnes & Noble in Freehold on Dec. 16.
In describing a goomba in the introduction, Schirripa writes, "He's not too smart, and probably not too educated. He ain't no rocket scientist, and he ain't working on Wall Street. He might not have a lot to say. But he ain't stupid, either. When he does talk, he's funny and full of life. He speaks what's on his mind. He tells the truth except to his wife or the cops. Above all else, the goomba is very loyal. He will never betray his family or his friends. He'd die first."
Beginning with his upbringing on the streets of Bensonhurst and his early childhood run-ins with the law and the mob, Schirripa tells of his transformation from a goomba kid into a goomba man. From his younger years working as a maitre d' in a Las Vegas casino to the path that led him to roles in films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Flintstones, A Goomba's Guide To Life, covers it all.
The book also offers food recipes, etiquette tips, and a list of goomba heroes like Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.
Other anecdotes include: "Places you will never find a real goomba," "things you'd never hear a goomba say," "why you'll never see a goomba president," "more things you'd never hear a goomba say," and "sample goomba conversations, and interpretations."
With black-and-white photographs from Schirripa's personal archives and expert advice from one who has come to embrace his inner goomba, the book is a perfect gift for the holidays.
"If you pay attention and follow the lessons in these pages, you might not actually become a goomba, but you might start to feel a little like a goomba," Schirripa said. "And you'll certainly learn to live life a little better the goomba way."
The book is $22.95. For more information visit www.clarksonpotter.com. q