…a trait Rom says Nick and I share. (Don’t worry about Nick–bleeding always stops eventually, one way or another.)
OTHER PEOPLE’S CRISES
I saw a woman on the news who had gotten shot because she tried a tug-of-war with the robber who wanted her purse. “And I had my granddaughter with me, and she’s just 7 months old!” In that case, how about GIVING THE MAN YOUR PURSE, so he could run away without shooting anyone? She then said, “I’m gonna go looking for him after I get out of the hospital.” Be sure to let us know how that works out for you.
I DON’T HAVE AN EDUCATION DEGREE (or any other degree, for that matter) BUT…
I have it on good authority that our local school district is now forbidding high school teachers from assigning entire novels. They are to teach only a representative excerpt of each, so that, I suppose, the kids’ll understand the reference when the book comes up in conversation at the high-paying job they’ve snagged because they weren’t wasting their time on literature. Hey, why teach fiction at all? It’s not, you know, real. But, if you’re going to insist, here are…
SELECTED EXCERPTS OF VARIOUS BOOKS
“1984”: Only teach the first sentence, about the clock striking thirteen. I used to think that was the coolest thing–what a marvelous touch of absurdity!–until I learned it was just military time, in which I am, as it happens, well-versed now that I work from 1500-2300. Don’t bother with the rest of the book, it’s depressing.
“Tom Sawyer”: The best part is when Tom lets a beetle with big horns loose in church. Or maybe it’s in school.
“Huckleberry Finn”: I recommend avoiding this one entirely, since it’s full of slavery references, and no one understands satire anymore.
“Atlas Shrugged”: Avoid any paragraph more than a page long. Especially if it starts with quotation marks.
“The Great Gatsby”: The only thing you need to know is that Gatsby has wild parties and looks like Leonardo DiCaprio.
“Anna Karenina/Madame Bovary”: These are interchangeable, since the point of both is that adultery isn’t really worth the trouble. But you’ll probably want to avoid the one where the main character has a gross death from arsenic poisoning and then her body lies around for too long.
“A Farewell to Arms” (or whichever one is about the Spanish Civil War): Avoid the sex scenes. For that matter, avoid the war scenes.
“Red Badge of Courage”: has a surprise appearance by a dead guy. Could be a plus or a minus, depending on whether you think that’s cool or gross.
All Stephen King novels: Avoid any epilogue. Especially the one where the evil clown turns out to really be a giant spider.
Clive Barker novels: AVOID. AVOID. AVOID. They will give you nightmares that will drive you insane. It happened to me.
Hmm. I seem to be mostly telling you what not to read. How about…
–the historical fantasy novel Rom is working on: The battle scenes from the Crusade will be compelling, I’m sure. Even though I’m not a fan of war stories. Hope you don’t feel pressured or anything.
–the futuristic dystopian novel I’ve been toying with since, uh, 1968…Well, that one you’ll just have to read in its entirety. If we all live that long.
Dear Nick, thank you for the police escort from the bus stop. I felt much safer than I would have if I hadn’t had a car driving around me in circles.