John M. Clark

February 4, 2000

Post #1033 – 20000204

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Hello, I don’t usually send e-mail to authors, but I thought that you might consider helping us, since your literature has played more than a small part in this, this, er, “situation.”

What I’m referring to is your books, and my six-year-old daughter. You see, every night my wife and I take turns reading to her as she falls asleep.

Some of your titles which are very popular with Teresa include “Spaceburger,” “The Big Orange Splot,” and the “Larry” books as well. Yes, she enjoys your writing, but here’s where the problem comes in. She can’t read herself to sleep, which really is our function, the parents, yet when my wife and I read your stories to her, well, we kinda just can’t stop reading. Even after Teresa is tired and really wants to sleep — we just feel helpless and keep right on reading, ’cause we just can’t put ’em down! Even titles that we’ve already read!

The worst case scenario involves a trip to the library in the morning, signing out six or seven Pinkwater titles, and then at bedtime, keeping her awake as we read aloud your books!

So what we were wondering is, if you could suggest a solution to our problem?

The perfect solution, as you may well guess, has eluded us up to this point.


John M. Clark and family

Daniel replies:

You are very strange, but that more or less goes without saying around here. Your problem is a knotty one indeed.

Back when I was a commentator for All Things Considered, (up until last week), there was the problem of people in cars. It's not that I am so very funny, but the context made even slightly funny things seem incredibly hilarious, and people would drive into each other with much loss of life and destruction of property. Numerous times, I suggested that National Public Radio cooperate with car manufacturers, and create a system whereby a tone inaudible to humans would precede my reading, and car radios would automatically seek a station carrying Rush Limbaugh. No one listened, of course. In your own case, technology isn't going to help you. No! I lie! There is a way! If your local public radio station carries Chinwag Theater, you can begin taping the program each week. (I understand you can hook your home stereo to the audio inputs of your VCR and tape automatically). In less than a year you'll have a full 24 hours of me reading aloud, droning on endlessly, making lame jokes with Charity Nebbe, (and some pretty good jazz music in between). You arrange to play these tapes at very low volume, just at the threshold of hearing, at all times. Before you know it, the readings of Pinkwater books will degenerate into white noise, and you will feel strangely warm and comfortable. Normal sleeping patterns will return, and your daughter will take up the tenor saxophone, and start wearing a beret and shades. I'm glad I was able to help.