Sunday, January 8, 2012

What do Steamfitters Need to Read?

“Out there  it’s the 1990s, 
but in this house
it’s 1954.”
-- Tony Soprano

Joe comes home from a hard day on high steel.   “Honey I’m ho-ome!”
His adoring wife Dorla gives him a peck on the cheek.  “My big man.”  And he does feel big when she tells him that.
He flops down on the chintz chair by the fireplace, sets his hardhat on the tablestand, and scruffs Ruff right where Ruff likes it, right behind his shaggy ears.  They make a matched pair of satisfied males.  Already she has brought him his beer, which she has unnecessarily poured into an attractive glass, and a little flowered plate on which some pretzels have been artistically arranged.  She smooths her apron.  He sighs with contentment;  no further words are needed.

As he finishes the final sip of that golden beverage, he sighs, and, taking it out from the shirt pocket over his heart, fingers his proudest possession:  a Union Card.  "Solidarity forever," he murmurs.

The evening proceeds quietly.  Dorla is knitting in the wing chair with the floral pattern.   Joe has finished with the sports page and has begun his second beer (that will be the last one of the night).  The pretzels are gone and he will not refill:  for though he is agile on high steel, he is no longer so young -- the kids have grown up and gone off to college, and he has to start watching his waistline.  (It was Dorla who, gently, first pointed this out.)   He lets the newspaper drop, and begins to brood.  Something is gnawing at him.  There has got to be more to this life.

Suddenly he speaks up.  “Honey, you know what I could use ?  An exciting crackling mystery, starring a wise-cracking tough-talking two-fisted detective who, though naturally unmarried himself, being after all a detective, still deeply understands the sanctity of the family, and the paramountcy of marriage, that unbreakable sacrament.”

She smiles shyly and sets her knitting aside.  “I was wondering when you’d ask,” she murmurs, and fetches a book from the mantlepiece.

“Hmm!” says Joe approvingly, as he looks at the cover -- a view from the inside of an office, of a glass door bearing the words


only since the view is from the detective’s desk (the one with the whisky bottle in the lower drawer), the writing seems reversed.  But what really sparks his attention is the title:


“Sounds like this guy is on the up-and-up !” he exclaims. “Straight as an arrow and on the square !”
“Yes, dear,” puts in Dorla.  “He’s actually pre-Conciliar.”
Joe is puzzled.  “Pre-Conciliar ?  What’s that?”
“That’s -- that’s when we are living, right now.  A golden time.  But it won’t be around much longer.  I have a bad feeling about that… that Vatican II thing.”
Joe nods grimly.  He agrees but says nothing.  And that is the problem -- too many said nothing at the time.  And look where it got us.

But for now, all is well.  He begins to read.
And when the clock strikes bedtime, he is deep in his reading.  The rest of the beer sits untouched in the glass, and the fire has died down.
“Won’t take divorce cases,” he sighs, finally putting the book down.  “This Murphy -- he’s my kinda guy.”

Dorla snuggles up to him and their hearts beat as one.  “Here’s one marriage he’ll never have to worry about !”

[Try it out yourself -- Read it for free -- here:

For a customer review, try this, from a noted physicist and philanthropist:]

[Update 9 Jan 2012]   This Just In !
The intergalactic best-seller I Don't Do Divorce Cases  is evidently becoming a collector's item, with used copies going for three times the price of the book brand-new !
Check it out at Amazon:

New: $11.13
Used: $34.70

Can you imagine what an autographed copy might go for?  My pen is ready!

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