John Newbery

March 23, 2013

Post #3344 – 20130323

Mr. Pinkwater,

I%u2019m writing today to thank you for thoroughly warping my sense of humor during my formative years. Since junior high, I have been plagued with the visualizations of chickens standing on the heads of people during intense verbal confrontations, endured extreme frustration in perfecting the %u201Cmissile whistle%u201D and obsessively timed the length of time it takes strangers to smoke cigarettes. It%u2019s usually more than five. As a result of my exposure to Alan Mendelsohn: Boy from Mars, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death and Lizard Music, I%u2019ve made awkward jokes in social settings that ended conversations, purchased hundreds of dollars worth of bio feedback equipment and put myself and others in danger by producing impromptu audible distractions at %u201Cinconvenient%u201D times. I actually caused a car accident during one of my outbursts. I can only now admit that because the statute of limitations has run out. I would like to blame all of the this on you and only you, but I%u2019m currently trying to find a more %u201Clucrative source%u201D with which to place the blame. Right now it%u2019s a tossup between plastics additives and Morton chicken pot pies.
I don%u2019t know why it took me so long to look you up. Now in my forties, I look forward to exploring more of your literature and talents. I know when you saw the name John Newbery you were thinking, %u201CHoly Shit!%u201D and I%u2019m sorry about that. I%u2019ve been trying to get a medal myself without luck. I wrote to them and they told me I had to %u201Cearn it%u201D and that I couldn%u2019t %u201Cbribe%u201D them to accidentally make an extra copy and send it to me. Anyway, thank you again for the influence and delight that you have given me and so many other kids out there! I noticed that you are listed as living in Memphis, Tennessee. I live in Little Rock. If you are ever over this way, please don%u2019t hesitate to ask me to lunch. I might even be able to borrow my Mom%u2019s credit card and treat you!

John Newbery
Little Rock, Arkansas

Daniel replies:

I will acknowledge that many of my readers are quite weird people, but no one can say whether the books contributed to their weirdness, or attracted the already weird.  I think a better case can be made for your own peculiarities being the result of those chicken pot pies.  I do not live in Memphis, Tennessee, and have not for close to 70 years.  Thanks for your edifying post.