Generic Book Introduction

by Dr. Lewis B. Turndevelt

Hello, and welcome. On behalf of myself and all those involved in the telling of this tale, I would like to thank you for taking the time to look over this humble offering of a story. I realize that there are literally countless ways that you could be occupying your time (such as badminton, eating onion rings with ranch dipping sauce, or perhaps taking out the garbage from the kitchen that is, even at this moment, threatening to collapse and destroy everything that you know and love), but you have decided to at least browse through the first page of this tome, and for that we can’t thank you enough. Well, we probably could actually, given our rather anemic and hastily thrown-together definition of “enough,” but let’s pretend for a moment that we can’t. So thank you. Really. It means a lot to us.

Many other books these days are not taking the time to properly respect the patrons that are casually thumbing through their pages, counting the number of chapter headings in an effort to determine whether it is worth the price. We think that this is a shame (the not respecting the patrons part, of course) and want to remedy that right from the get-go. We realize that you have many choices when it comes to plucking down cold, hard cash from your book allowance, and we are flattered and humbled at the mere inkling of a possibility that we might win you over and in the process rake up some of that sweet, precious currency that is so selfishly stuck in your wallet (for the gentlemen; or purse, for the ladies; or satchel, for the undecided; or Ziploc bag, for the occasional). If we might be so bold as to offer up a suggestion: hanging on to your dirty money will only corrupt your soul, but setting it free back into the wild by buying this book could be the most rewarding thing that you’ve ever done. If not for you, then definitely for us.

We would like to take this opportunity, here at the introduction to the book proper, to describe to you exactly what you will be getting if you do indeed decide to purchase this book (and once again, we adamantly believe that you should). First of all, you will receive at least, and possibly more, 238 pages of the written word. We feel that in this day and age, this is the bare minimum of a requirement for a book. As a shopper (and a fiscally responsible one at that) this is the least that you should expect from a purchased book, and we plan on doing everything possible to provide you with the very least. Time will only tell how far beyond this stated minimum we will go, but we felt it important to make clear right from the beginning that this is indeed the goal. You have our most sincere pledge that we will do everything within our power and budget to meet this goal. And who knows, with the proper encouragement and government funding, we might even break over into that elusive 400+ page level that seems to be all the rage these days. Personally, we find it amazing that in an age of ever-lengthening work weeks and ever-diminishing attention spans that people even have the time to digest this much entertainment. But hey, if Hollywood can keep cranking out 3-hour movies, then maybe there’s something we don’t know. If Dances With Wolves taught us nothing else (and we’re checking into this more thoroughly but we’re pretty sure that it didn’t) it’s that there are a lot of people who don’t mind a shoestring of a story, supported by bland exposition to the nth degree, and they’re willing to pay for it. Speaking on behalf of book-type people everywhere, that is definitely encouraging news. Nowadays, it seems difficult to get out of a movie theater in under two-and-a-half hours, so it would appear that this trend has stamina and legs. Long, slender, sexy legs with expensive garters that you can’t see. But they’re there.

So you can expect a book that is thick enough to qualify as legitimate reading, but not so bulky that you can’t still drag it into your local coffee shop (or other frequented, but no less deservedly trendy, congregation facility) without looking like someone that should belong to the Oprah Book of the Month Club but doesn’t. Other than that, we don’t want to supplant any more false expectations into your head than are absolutely necessary. The reasoning behind this is twofold (because we really like that word, and because we couldn’t think of a third reason, although threefold is also a quality and under-used word).

The first reason involves letting your imagination run away with you. Although not good practice while working in an accounting office or even while surfing the Internet, it is still very much a positive as regards to reading. Because of this, there is only so much we can tell you without ruining the whole experience of reading a book. So we’ve decided to tell you nothing. The book jacket description simply states, “In the spirit of Tolstoy, Clancy and Twain comes this modern day parable of lust, betrayal and tomfoolery set against the backdrop of rural southern Indiana.” The lone review blurb on the back of the book from a fellow author who deigned to be referred to as Anonymous (which is Swedish, I believe) suggests “A cacophony of words not soon to be repeated.” Although these are intriguing and flattering, respectively, they also leave a lot to the imagination. In fact, if you think about it (and we strongly suggest that you don’t) they could really be about anything. Fortunately for you they’re about nothing, and are simply a diversionary tactic to mislead people from finding out anything about the book apart from actually reading the thing. We think this is important for some reason, and stand by our decision. So what can you expect from this book, content-wise? We’d really rather not say. Is it a murder mystery involving a man unjustly accused for a crime he didn’t commit? Is it a lighthearted comedy romp through the South? Is it a probing, in-depth psychological profile of the effects of misogyny within the context of the hotel industry? Well, it’s definitely not the latter, because that gets us too close to the non-fiction section of the bookstore, and since we don’t pretend to actually know anything about anything at all, we are trying to avoid that as much as possible. What is the book about? What could it possibly be about? It would be difficult to say without ruining some of the gradually developed storyline and carefree, frolicking text. And revealing the body count would simply be a dead giveaway (no pun intended) so we’re avoiding that altogether.

The second reason (are you still with us?) that we’re purposely veiling the subject of the book is that… Well, to be perfectly honest with you, we haven’t written it yet. Not only that, but we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here. We are completely winging it. More sinister and less honest authors and publishers might try to trick you with recycled novels that no one has ever heard of, or fabricated synopses about books that haven’t even been started. And we think that this is just wrong, wrong, and wrong. That plus the fact that we didn’t think of it ourselves. But nevertheless, we stated earlier our belief in full disclosure (about the very few things that we wish to disclose) and we resolutely stick by that until a better option presents itself.

But enough about explanations and unpleasantries, let’s get this thing started off on a happier foot. First off, it would be completely rude of me if I didn’t begin by introducing myself. My name is Lewis B. Turndevelt, but you can call me Jean (pronounced like “John” only with a soft J). I once knew a gentleman from France with that name, and although I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, I found him to be most delightful and since then have always considered Jean to be a perfectly good name when stuck in a situation that requires a name for some reason. So Jean it is. Call me Jean.

I am, for all practical purposes, the narrator. I don’t actually appear in the story per se, but I will be relaying a large portion of it to you, so I thought an introduction of sorts was in order. Hi there. A lot of you may be wondering to yourselves “Why Jean? Why is he the narrator?” This is, of course, a perfectly reasonable line of questioning, and I applaud those of you who were thinking along those lines for indeed thinking along those lines. The answer, however, is more difficult to come by. It’s kind of like asking “Why is blue?” or maybe even “The hell?” I think that we would all find that if I gave you the answer you needed, we might all be a little disappointed, and in fact sorry that we even brought the whole thing up to begin with. Come to think of it, it was probably silly of me to even acknowledge the suggestion. So let’s just put this whole sticky, ugly mess behind us and forget that we ever brought it up. I thank you.

Although we spoke at length earlier about not telling what was actually in the story (until you actually get into the story itself, of course) it might be fitting to get out of the way some of the things that are not in this story. So, continuing on in our quest for full disclosure on a very small, limited range of disclosed items, you can fully expect to not find the following things, happenings, plotlines, characters, or songs within the actual book:

  1. A car explosion
  2. 53 cents
  3. “Sweet Home Alabama”
  4. A pregnant teen from Tennessee on the run from the law
  5. Shaven dogs
  6. Velvet Elvis paintings (at least none that were purchased at full price)
  7. Carnival workers and/or indiscretions involving funnel cakes
  8. Licorice ice cream
  9. A runaway Ford Pinto
  10. Scenes involving more than twelve pairs of footed pajamas at any one slumber party
  11. Bobble-heads
  12. Any song by the B-52s
  13. Glow-in-the-dark flashlights
  14. Fights that break out regarding the last stick of chewing gum

I hope that this answers any questions that a person such as yourself might have before embarking on a piece of reading material. If you do have any further questions, please save them until the end of the book, as we might inadvertently address them during the long and winding road of the book itself. If, for whatever reason, you still feel, or just now feel, that this book is not worthy of your purchase, allow me to entreat you one last time to let go of that dirty, soul-less money that has a tighter grip on you than the unions have on the entertainment industry, and heed this simple plea:

Please, for the sake of me and so many others like me, buy this book. Buy this lousy, two-bit, son-of-a-book right now and don’t give it another thought. I know it seems like a waste of money. I know it seems like a waste of time. Heck, I even know a couple of other things that you haven’t even thought of about it. And if we lived in a perfect world then maybe those things would, unlike this book and myself, matter. But we don’t, and it and I don’t, so it doesn’t. The only things that do matter are the children. Think of the poor, sweet children who are so sweet and childreney. They’re out there in the cold, dark world, running around, doing things just like children might do. And in the end, isn’t that what really matters? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I really don’t know… Where was I again? Ahhh, yes… So if you can’t do it for yourself, and you can’t do it for me, at least do it for the children. Thank You. And good night.