Here's one way to think about Tom and Ray's outlook on life. Imagine they're on a barge, floating down the river of life. They're lounging on deck chairs near the bow, drinking cappuccinos. Okay, now they sail by a life event of some kind. Doesn't matter what it is. Say, Tom's wife decides she hates him, can't stand to spend another minute with him, and sues him for divorce. Now, if you're a normal person, you sink into a deep funk, drop out of life, take up residence in a cardboard box, and roast squirrels under a bridge for a few years. Not Tom and Ray. They quickly turn every event, especially the miserable ones, into a story. A funny story. Which then gets told over and over. Perhaps embellished along the way. At some point, it may even get shared on the air. And then it becomes part of Car Talk lore.
This collection is made up of some of these stories. Have a heart attack? It's just the basis for a story about how much fun everyone else had while you were in the hospital. Let's say a wheel falls off while you're driving on the highway, sends up a shower of sparks, and nearly blows up a gas station. What could be funnier? Have a miserable time in the U.S. Army. Sounds good to me.
It's not a bad way to go through life, actually...turning miserable experiences into hilarious stories. Pretty soon you forget the misery and start laughing when the subject of your divorce, your heart attack, or your broken nose comes up. In fact, I expect in a few short months, we'll be laughing real hard about how poorly this collection of stories sold!