December 12, 2004
Post #1799 – 20041212
Dear Mr. Pinkwater,
Thank you for so promptly answering my question about Shiko Munakata! I knew that was the name I was looking for.
No more questions, but I had to tell you how your books have affected me, beyond the usual enjoyment and mind enrichment that all Pinkwater readers experience. First, they started me out on a life of crime. I remember taking refuge from the blistering sun in the library (it was a particularly uncomfortable day) and stumbling across “The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death”. It was my first expierence with one of your books. After reading a few chapters, I realized three things. 1) I MUST finish this book or I will die. 2) If I didn’t get home immediately my mother would kill me. 3) I owed the library $1.60 in late fees, a princely sum for a financially challenged child. So I did what anybody would, I stole the book. Now, if you reference points 1 and 2 above, you can see it was nothing but self-defense. My very life was in grave danger! All these years later, I don’t know which to feel more guilty about. Stealing the book, or keeping countless other children from enjoying it in the future. I now have a shelf of Pinkwater books, and that library book remains among them. I may even send it to you for an autograph! Provided you promise not to turn me in to the authorities that is.
Second, for once I proved my mother wrong. My mother is a brilliant artist ( www.jandove.com ) who always (damnit) knows more than I do. And she NEVER approved of my reading choices. “Junk” and “Garbage” she would call my precious paperbacks. Books about lethal avocados were not immune from her disapproval. Every time I bought one of your book, she was positive she could see my IQ sinking before her eyes. She never told me drugs would kill brain cells, but she seemed to believe your books could, and were. About a decade later, she asked me if “that Daniel Pinkwater was the one who wrote all those horrible little books I use to read?” (Use to? She assumed because I was now an adult, I read Pinkwater no more?) It turns out she heard your story about the Art teacher shouting “You’re all dead!” on NPR, and thought you were BRILLIANT. I gave her Fishwistle and SHOULD have given her a pack of Depends with it. And Chicago Days / Hoboken nights damn near killed her! Anyway, thank you for being on NPR, not only did you convert her into a fan, you helped me prove I was RIGHT for once! My daughter is reading Lizard Music, I feel that I should encourage her Pinkwater reading by strongly disapproving. It worked for my Mom!
Keep up the good work, Alan Menderson, Borgel, The Snarkout Boys, Robert Nifkin and the rest have made this world a better place. Even if it did turn me into a criminal that made my Mom mad.
You have a lot of issues. Of course, I will not autograph a book I know to have been stolen from a library. Calculating accumulated late fees, inflation, and standard expiation rates of the recognized religions, you ought to buy several brand-new books for some library. While you're ordering, get a copy of The Artsy Smartsy Club, to be published in spring of '05, for your mother, and tell her you forgive her for having been such a snob. I forgive her too.