(Has anyone ever gone over to your bookshelf, picked up a book, and said, “What is this doing here?” This series of blog posts explains some of the more curious findings on one Booklister’s home shelves.)
Visitors to my stately personal library sometimes scoff at the condition of my David Mamet section. Not because they bristle at the writer’s curious thoughts on Sarah Palin, not because they think American Buffalo is woefully overrated, but because the books themselves look as if they’ve been passed through a garbage disposal.
“Alack!” they cry. “Never has the iconic author’s indispensable True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor been so regrettably mistreated!”
“Mercy!” they moan. “How has the Nobel Prize-winning playwright’s The Old Religion found itself in such deplorable, piteous straits?”
At this point I usually put down my pipe, release my monocle, and perch forward on my Victorian-era wingback chair.
“Begone with you, villains!” I snap. “In this house we do not speak ill words against our four-footed friends.”
And off they go, pale-faced and trembling, fully cognizant of their unforgivable faux pas. For they know that I am right. A man must have his David Mamet, that is clear! But so should he have his puppydog, and if said puppydog wants to snack on Mr. Mamet from time to time, then that is puppydog’s right as a puppydog. It is surprisingly difficult to get puppydog to listen to sensible protestations: “Pray, little one — decease from yon vigorous chewing.” Don’t believe me, eh? Here, try it for yourself: