Dear Aunt Sophie,
Have you ever written something and then had to shut up
while someone else took credit for it?
A few years ago I helped a friend in the neighborhood with a
book he was writing. He had an advance and wasn’t even close to meeting his
deadline. He’d never written anything before and didn’t have much idea how to
proceed. I felt sorry for him. But I never figured on basically ghost-writing
the whole damn thing. It turned out to be a masterpiece and earned the “author”
a lot of money as well as a reputation as a fine writer.
Now he’s running for president and suddenly I’m an
albatross. I guess I understand – it has to do with my unusual reputation. But
I don’t have to like it. In fact it sucks.
One thing I’ve never understood - the mentality of a
ghostwriter. Maybe it’s bourgeois to want to take credit for what you’ve done
but I don’t care. Back when my friends and I were blowing up buildings we made
sure we got credit for it.
There’s something beautiful about a bomb, you know, if
you’re not hampered by the bourgeois fear of killing someone. I don’t know
about you, but for me it’s almost as good as sex. A toss-up, actually. One
moment a building stands there looking solid and indestructible and then -
flash-boom it isn’t there any more. Poof! Look, Ma, no Pentagon! (The town
house in Greenwich Village was a mistake but it was a
Those were the days. It was kill all the rich people. Break
up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.
S**t, we didn’t do nearly enough. I can’t tell you how much I hate it when
people describe me as a former radical. There’s nothing former about me. It’s
just that bomb-making is a young man’s game. There are safer ways to do the
same thing. Me - I went into education.
My goal is to make education relevant to the real world
instead of forcing kids to learn all this s**t about a system that exists for
the sole purpose of screwing them over. But it’s almost impossible to accomplish
this undertaking from a place like Chicago.
DC’s the place to be. My “author” owes me big time. He’d better make me
Secretary of Education at least.
By the way, just so know - I’m normally quite an elegant
writer. I’ve disguised my style in this letter to make myself sound like the
usual morons who write to you. If you don’t like it, sue me.
P***ed off Albatross
Thank Heaven (or whatever)! Just when I was beginning to
tear my hair out over the quality of my grandchildren’s education you came
I’ve been so worried because their parents have been
force-feeding them this bilge – how lucky they are to have been born in this
country, how wise its Founders were, what a work of genius the Constitution is.
Ucch. They correct their grammar all the time, too and they punish them for
things any decent school psychologist would fix with a couple of pills. They’ve
even been forcing them to learn multiplication tables!
Of course their school does provide some balance. Instead of
wasting time on losers like George Washington they’ve been learning how
Europeans stole the continent from the Native Americans. (Their curriculum is
nicely coordinated - they learn how the white man introduced disease into the New
World on the same day they study STD’s in their Lifestyles class.)
They already know that Walmart is the modern face of slavery
and that wealth can only be created from the bottom up. (I couldn’t follow when
they explained it to me, but they were so cute trying that it didn’t really
matter.) Not to brag, but last December 7th their diorama of Hiroshima
after the bomb won their district’s “Think Outside the Bomb” Award.
I’m not sure they grasp the hurtfulness of calling a plane
that’s going to rain mass destruction on a peaceful population “Gay”, but that
will undoubtedly come with maturity. On balance I suppose things could be
worse. Still, I’m concerned that they don’t see why they should inform on their
parents if they continue to stockpile incandescent bulbs.
One favor - please promise me that when you’re Secretary of
Education you’ll see to it that they aren’t allowed to graduate unless they can
demonstrate more proficiency than you had in mixing chemicals.
Good luck and God Bless.