October 20, 1998

Post #761 – 19981020

So I dropped by my local Border’s book store as per Mr. Pinkwater’s suggestion, in order to ask them about the “suppressed” book, “The Education of Robert Nifkin.” I marched up to the counter and asked them about it, going over in my mind how I’d say, “Damn good thing, too! I was only going to buy a copy so I could burn it,” or something like that, with conviction, steeling myself, wondering if I’d go through with it.

Turns out they had the thing and it was on the shelves and the friendly woman went and got it for me so I had to buy it or look like an idiot. I haven’t read it yet, but I did read one of your books when I was very young, maybe 6 or 7, called “The Big Orange Splot.” I saw it again a while back, and remembered it immediately. I remember being all fired up in a little-kid kinda way, promising to myself that I’d *never* be so boring as all those grown-ups. I recall the feeling vividly.

I have another vivid memory, from about the same time. My family went to a restaraunt, which was quite a rare treat for me. When they asked me what I wanted to drink, I naturally ordered a chocolate milkshake — how often can you just ask for whatever you want to drink and get it? My parents just drank water though. I was a bit puzzled, and asked them why they didn’t get milkshakes. They told me that grown-ups don’t drink milkshakes. I was stunned. I didn’t say anything, but I made a similar vow, that I would never not get a milkshake just because I was grown-up. Although it did occur to me that I might not like milkshakes forever, and I decided if that happened, I wouldn’t drink them then. I was a pretty sophisticated kid.

I wonder which experience came first?

Nowadays, I still drink milkshakes (I’m 31), and my room has subtly multi-colored plants, suns, and designs sculpted in relief over the walls. My basement is filled with musical instruments, and has a cast iron candelabra, other various candleholders, and gargoyles hiding in the corners, including two holding up a small pair of speakers on one wall. The carpet is black. I admit I wasn’t thinking of your book when I decorated, I didn’t even “remember” it until recently. That’s just the way I wanted it. But maybe that’s an even more sincere form of flattery than imitation…

Daniel replies:

I don't think reading (as opposed to burning) THE EDUCATION OF ROBERT NIFKIN will do you any actual harm. And, it contains decorating ideas you may like. I haven't had a milkshake in ages. It's not that I'm copping out...worse...there aren't any places that have decent ones anywhere near where I live. We've tried making them at home, but it's just not the same as being handed one by a wretched teenager.