A SUREFIRE WAY TO
It was late, and my eyes were drooping. I reached over to
turn off the reading light above my side of the bed.
"How many pages tonight?" my wife asked.
"Pretty much the usual," I replied as I buried my
head into the blissful pillow. "Four."
I really wanted to go to sleep, but she insisted on
discussing my inability to stay awake when reading at night. For some
reason it gives her pleasure.
"You know," she continued, "you could be quite
the intellectual if you could stay awake for longer than four pages."
I had to admit she had a point. Fortunately, I had a
rebuttal. While reading books can certainly stimulate the brain, I let her
know that I basically finished my current book with the four pages I had
Let me explain. It was a self-help book, recommended to me by
a friend. It was 240 pages long, and could have been written in four
pages. Or less. Some author had made a lot of money from knuckleheads like
me by stretching a couple of simple thoughts into a full-fledged book.
"I think I'll write my bestseller tomorrow," I
announced to my wife, now that I was wide awake because she had called me
un-intellectual. "The title will be 'A SUREFIRE WAY TO LOSE
"I like the title," she obliged. "You might be
on to something."
"It's going to be 265 pages," I said, getting
excited, "and every page will say the same thing in huge type: 'EAT
"That sounds like a winner," she replied, probably
with false hopes of becoming my agent. "Don't you want to expand it
just a little, though?"
"Of course I do, and I will. Once it drops out of the
Top 10 on the New York Times Bestseller List, I'll come out with Volume
"Let me guess," she said. 'A SUREFIRE WAY TO LOSE
WEIGHT, VOLUME 2' will have every page with the words, 'EXERCISE MORE.'
Clearly, I had better rush my book to print before
plagiarizers like my wife can take advantage of my brilliance. But first I
had to test my theory one last time. On the recommendation of another
friend, I ordered another self-help book and it arrived last week. It's
titled "Younger Next Year--Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80
Because I was doing research, I pushed myself to read it
before going to bed, where I would be limited to four pages before conking
out. Since it was 321 pages and I was testing a theory, I needed more
time. Otherwise, I wouldn't finish it until next year, when apparently I
would be younger.
Written by an aging baby boomer who had discovered the
wonders of exercise and co-authored by a doctor who scientifically extols
the virtues of exercise, the two scribes miraculously managed to fill 321
pages with anecdotes, facts, studies and lots and lots of words.
It's somewhat entertaining, and motivating at times. But it's
no more motivating than my book on losing weight. And it inspired me to
write yet another book, this one titled "A SUREFIRE WAY TO STAY
Volume 1 will be 240 pages of "EAT LESS." (I wanted
to keep it shorter in case readers had bought my other book---don't want
to be too redundant).
Volume 2 will be 270 pages of "EXERCISE MORE."
And Volume 3, inspired by the third element of staying young
depicted in the grueling 312 pages of "Younger Next Year," will
be 313 pages of the words "MAINTAIN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS."
"We're going to be rich!" I exclaimed to my wife
after I told her my literary plans. "Who could resist buying two
volumes of a book that so simply explains how to lose weight, followed up
by a second series of books explaining how to stay young forever?"
"I take it back," she said, wringing her hands with
the thought of all the book royalties that will be coming our way.
"You may not be an intellectual, but you're a literary genius."
"Thank you," I modestly replied. "And best of
all, anyone reading my books, including me, will have the satisfaction of
reading it all the way through before falling asleep."
"And they'll probably retain more information," she
We high-fived, and I told her I'd miss her when I embarked on
my four month book tour. She didn't seem too upset.