An Open Letter To The Reader Who Goes Before Me

Dear Whoever,

Hi. I’m the guy who comes to the library after you: the bloke who takes home the books upon which you expend such painstaking effort.

I really appreciate the time you put into grammatical correction, especially the delicate way you obliterate the last three letters of the word “gotten”, or substitute an alternate phrase of your own making where “got” or “gotten” occur. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster preserve the King James Bible from your hen-scratchy ballpoint, as the “begat” verses in Numbers would certainly overtax your mind.

My respect for you is immense: your unerring ability to correct dialogue, even the colloquial dialect of characters, in story settings spanning the entire width of my fiction and nonfiction interests, leaves me in search of a preposition to beat you with with which to beat you.

I am grateful for the marginal notes supporting your elite hypotheses on any and every tangential scientific and philosophical notion. The large, clumsy “Bull! Another piece of Zionist claptrap!” and similar axiomatic (to you) statements are balanced by your wavering red double-underlines of phrases or paragraphs that coincide with your views.

You are obviously a person of distinguished appetites: only the best chocolate, cake, curry, cigars, red wine, coffee and cookies will do to fuel your efforts. I could probably even discover your distinguished pedigree from the various DNA samples you have left when a difficult text proves to be a real head-scratcher, or from those occasions when, despite a bad cold, you have persevered in Making Literature Safe For Humanity.

And while we’re on the subject of effluvia, bearing the aforegoing in mind, I’m very glad I don’t read the Romances With Rearing Horses On The Cover!

And, oh, don’t you make it safe? I presume that’s where some of the pictures from the art reference books went, to protect the Youth Of Our Nation from prurient interest. And your protection saved me, too, from seeing the colour plates of the Gibson ES-335 or the Rickenbacker 370/12 in that Bacon and Day guitar book. I must salute you on that: Herself is very understanding about guitar pr0n, but it was a close call.

You are very unassuming for one whose work touches so many so deeply; still, I hope one day to visit you at the library and discover you going about your work. I’d like to shake you firmly by the neck.

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