Flailing at Life

Lessons from the Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy, by Sam Stall, illustrated by Gemma Correll, Running Press.

Flailing At Life Lessons From The Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy

My favorite television commercial is Carvana’s A Better Way to Buy a Car, featuring a bright yellow inflatable tube guy and family. So it’s perhaps no surprise that I’ve enjoyed reading “Flailing at Life,” which features life lessons from the perspective of “Toby,” an inflatable tube guy who writes about overcoming personal struggles to live his best life. Toby, in turn, hopes to help readers find an ideal work/life balance and become successful.

His first life lesson is: Be your own biggest fan, noting that while “he gets his lift from a one-horsepower high-efficiency blower, humans can accomplish a similar boost … by nurturing a positive self-image.” He also encourages his audience to “get noticed.” And while no human is 15 feet tall and bright red—or would attract positive notice “for waving one’s arms and gyrating for hours on end”—he stresses that “confidence and individuality will help you go far.”


As for some of Toby’s other dozen lessons, he urges that you “don’t let problems deflate you,” to “be flexible,” and “put on a happy face.” Of course, the latter is easier said than done, except for Toby, as his smile is literally painted on. But rest assured, his advice is sound, “because this is one life coach who isn’t full of hot air,” he says. “Regular air, sure, but definitely not hot air.”