Book Review: Time Flies by Bill Cosby (1987)

When I drove to Milwaukee, I listened to a couple of Bill Cosby CDS that were originally released as Bill Cosby LPs in the late 1960s, when Cosby was fresh from I-Spy and before he embarked on the Fat Albert thing and The Cosby Show. If you damn kids don’t know what an LP is, Google it. I enjoyed his warm storytelling style of humor and the easy chuckle-style amusement it brings, so I stopped by Downtown Books in Milwaukee and picked up a copy of Time Flies, a book written during the height of his Cosby Show celebrity.

The tone of the 30 year-old Cosby’s stories contrast with the book written by the 50-year-old Cosby; the book deals with Cosby turning 50, and he reminisces about his former glory as an athlete and talks about the loss of memory, physique, and other things that come while the eternal footman goes to the coat check room for you. The essays don’t mourn the loss with disappointment or rancor, but more a nostalgia. I liked the book and read it pretty quickly.

An interesting, extra poignant moment in the book is when Cosby compares his aging physique to that of his son, Ennis, as they play basketball together. The young reaching its prime, the older recognizing the fundamental shift and the nature of the cycle. Ten years later, the cycle was broken when Ennis died, but seventeen years ago, they played basketball together, and the father thought of his mortality while the son didn’t recognize his own.

Unfortunately, the publisher or someone has seen fit to include an introduction by Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., that really detracts from the book as a whole. Before Cos can start, the doctor has started talking seriously about the prospect of aging and the fears faced by aging people (as opposed, I suppose, to dead people, who are very mellow indeed). We readers could have figured out Cosby’s overall message without some therapidiocy slathered onto the actual text before we read the text. Thanks, doctor, for getting me in touch with my inner senior.

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