This is a book of tripe. If you want to know what that is I will tell you, I mean specifically tell you. Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (Unabridged; second edition-- deluxe color, 1972) says, "tripe, n.... 1. the entrails generally; hence, the belly: generally used in the plural. [Obs] 2. part of the stomach of ruminating animals when dressed and prepared for food. `How say you to a fat tripe finely broiled?' --Shak. 3. anything worthless, offensive, etc.; rubbish; trash. [Slang]." I also say this, though not as often or at such great length.

...Which brings up the point of what kind of tripe this book contains, or rather is. This really depends on whether you feel Obsy or Shaky or Slangy, which in turn depends on which of the above numbers you pick. Try flipping something with three sides.

...The immediately preceding has been less an explanation and more a demonstration of what kind of tripe this book, equaling these many many pages, is. And the number of pages, though perhaps meager when placed against, well, a larger number (or more precisely, a much larger number), is the first criterion. The tripe here is a voluminous one, to be sure. To be sure of this, heft this volume in one hand and something much less voluminous in the other and compare.

...The second criterion, or attribute, of and most surely pertaining to this tripe, is its salability, or at least its intended salability. I want money, you see, and though I suppose there are a number of ways to get it, I regard most of these as immoral, or at least requiring actual effort. Instead, then, I will sell my tripe. Congratulations in your support of this most supremely moral, or at least leisurely, effort.

I sense a leisurely dissatisfaction in the room, so I will explain further to the reader (or perhaps crowd of listeners, should this tripe be read at storytime in a third grade class) the tripeness of the tripe in question. I regard myself as a ridiculously smart person, and so have the audacity to think on some occasions, and to pretend that these thoughts might actually matter or make some positive impact, or at least some sense, should someone spend the time, money, and energy necessary to make these thoughts accessible to at least some other people. I also think I am deluded in thinking this, and so do not hire someone to spend these things. Nonetheless, there is a distinct possibility that I am wise, and as a wise man once told me "A wise man cain't even keep his tripe clean, fer Gadssake," so in the process of excreting this tripe, a profound wisdom may emerge that will shock the modern age into some receptacle vast enough for the modern age to be shocked into it. If this happens, it will be a freak one-in-a-jillion accident.

Spelling for me has always been hard, so I won't attempt to relate to you my last name and the story behind it, but I will say this: I am someone other than yourself (probably), and you are basically alone, a lonely soul reading tripe. You may then see me as your friend, and may even see me as such when I say I hate you (which I might later say), but you will be in some small part wrong, for I think -- and please take this in the most tentative way -- I think that I hate you. Nonetheless, you are basically alone, even and especially in a third grade classroom during storytime, so you really have no choice but to be touched by the personal tone that I use here, as well as that tone used later in describing things that are personal, which is also a personal tone. You will thus not only continue reading, at least for another page, but appropriate me, not me as an actual person but me as a conduit for tripe, as another voice within your head, as an objectification of that part of you that, during a passionate kiss, makes you unable to divert your attention from the subject of hairballs -- that part of you that, during the hairball competition, distracts your attention with thoughts of a passionate kiss. Most people fail to cultivate this part of themselves, but it never goes away, and if it does... well, it never does, but if it did, you would be much too boring and efficient and you would have to be hit by a bus just to put the universe back in balance.

To suggest a proof of the earlier claim about my intelligence, I will point out as a first, final, and in my mind already redundant disclaimer that the preceding was not in any sense I understand wise; the improbable has not yet occurred. This is Obsy, which makes it all the more frustrating, but you cannot resist, for your tripe secretion glands of all three types (use your remote-association powers to figure out what type of types are these types) are already being stimulated, and by reading just this far you either have been hooked, and so already internalized this book as an objectified element of your psyche, i.e. a companion tried and true, or you are a big fat freak. I like your visage nonetheless (speaking as a narrative persona of this text and not as an actual person). Someday, if you like, we shall be wed.

But that will come later, and this shall come now: What should you do with this book once you either finish it or give up in despair? It goes without saying that you should not in a loud and assuming voice demand your money back, unless in doing so you plan to refer not just to any money spent on this book, but to all the money you've ever spent on everything. For this to be effective, though, your voice must be very loud and assuming, and even then it will be less effective in getting cash than making you hoarse.

One proper thing to do after finishing this book is to put it on your coffee table. This is proper, as this book is intended to be a coffee table book, meaning that by its very concept (as conveyed succinctly in its title) and attractive packaging, it is meant to raise eyebrows, conversation, and lowly coffee-drinking spirits, providing the owner of a table so adorned with a symbol of status or an extra support for a wobble-causing table leg. Admittedly, the packaging is not that attractive... lacking as it does the plentiful sparkling color photographs and 3' by 1' dimensions of most of your more popular coffee-table books, so you might want to draw in the margins or something.

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© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]