Friday, July 11, 2008

Everybody clapped, and they cut slice two

There is one book that has affected my life more than all others. No, it's not the Bible, though that's a pretty important one. And it's not either of the Brennan Manning works I've read, either. It's not even "Riker of the Seven Seas," which I'm pretty much the de facto expert on.

It's "The Giant Jam Sandwich."

No matter what you say about those other books, they weren't there from the beginning. There was never a time in my life when I demanded that "The Ragamuffin Gospel" be read to me every night while I drank my apple juice.

How can you compare it to Shakespeare? It's in a much more elite class, one that includes "Duck and His Friends"* and "The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear."

If you haven't read it, I won't spoil anything for you, but suffice to say that it involves a small town, a great number of wasps, and a rather unique approach to wasp eradication. Also, the book contains a picture of a tractor with a helicopter rotor attached, along with several helium balloons. The implication, I believe, is that this design is aeronautically sound.

But then the book is full of that idea, the using of everyday things in remarkable ways. Even the characters themselves are ordinary, but they make for a good story when faced with a big problem.

It's a compelling theme, and one that you'll find in many good stories. You can start a line with 'Sandwich and continue it through "Alien," right on to "Die Hard," They're all stories about regular people who step up when they have to.

It rings true.

*Also about people . . . er, animals, building things. I was a techie from the start.

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