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Chambersburg, Pa., author's always good for a laugh

June 23, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Since he was a kid in Kentucky, James Brewer has been known as the one to go to for a good laugh.

"To me there's not enough humor in the world...That's what makes the world go `round. You have to have fun and laugh," Brewer said, his accent revealing his southern roots.

Author of 14 paperback books, including his latest, "Whole Grain," Brewer delights his readers with jokes, witty one-liners, and short lyrics.

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Whether speaking one-on-one or to a large audience, Brewer possesses the uncanny ability of reciting jokes one right after the other, a style reflected in his books.

Each page is laid out simply with line after line of jokes and sayings placed in no apparent order, as if Brewer wrote down whatever popped into his head.

Averaging four books a year, with three more already in the works, Brewer said there's never been a day he hasn't thought of something funny to say. He says he's not worried about coming up with new material.

"I try to look to the brighter side of things rather than the bad side," he said.

He confesses that most of his material comes from his job as a dietary assistant at Chambersburg Hospital.

Exchanging jokes, stories and experiences among patients and co-workers keeps them all in stitches and is fair game for Brewer's humorous books.

"I see a lot of things that are funny. I put myself in a situation and ask myself what I would do," Brewer said.

Never without pencil and paper, Brewer takes down notes throughout his day and later compiles them into jokes and sayings during his two-hour writing period every day after work.

"I've never had any stress because I joke around and carry on all the time," he said, grinning.

An only child, Brewer grew up in Kentucky and attended schools in Alabama. At age 16, he wrote humorous columns under the title, "Ramblin' Around" for the local weekly newspaper, and the editor often used Brewer's one-liners as filler in the newspaper.

Since moving to Chambersburg in 1971, Brewer's humor has turned up in several other newspapers and publications like "Reader's Digest" and the "National Enquirer." His material has also been used on radio and television programs.

"If someone said I couldn't joke or have fun I wouldn't want to live," Brewer said.

Brewer's books are sold at Christian Light Book Store in Chambersburg.

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