Thursday, May 24, 2018


Don’t you wish, just once, you could read something like this in the back of a book?  


It is customary that authors submit “Acknowledgements” — clich├ęd balloon juice insisting they “couldn’t have done it without X” and the “undying support of Y,” and of course “the patience and good cheer of Z.” None of that is ever true. But what follows is.

To Chester Moog, thanks for reminding me that I know what I’m doing better than any pedestrian editor. The man who invented hot coffee sleeves performed a great service to humanity and deserves more than 400 paltry pages. Sorry sir, but this is not “drive by” reporting.

The New York Public Library was particularly unhelpful in providing research material. So was the Library of Congress, and the Los Angeles Chabad Bookmobile. No assistance was provided by Starbucks, Coffee Bean, or Mr. “Java Jacket’s” family, which is why none of them appear in this comprehensive and definitive book on the subject.

Normally an author would receive the cooperation from experts in their field, but in my case no such experts exist… apparently. So thanks are given to smart hub “Alexa” for finding some answers. And confirming accuracy by double-checking with Wikipedia.

My now-former agent, Abner Smoak, sold the book but was only able to get me a $20 advance. How is that possible? And in a further derelict of duty, he failed to negotiate the potential movie rights. On a sound stage in Hollywood at this very moment, Daniel Day-Lewis should be burning his hand saying, “There has to be a way to hold a disposable coffee cup!”

Eustasia Ig and Pixie Schlosserman profread the manuscript and disproved the notion that Millinials are lazy and do shoddy work.

To my 11th Grade English teacher, Mrs. Engle-Blatz-Guerrero who claimed I couldn’t write and should take shop class instead, thank you for your inspiration. It appears I most certainly can write, and now I also know how to change an oil filter.

Many times I thought of just abandoning this project but thanks to Percy “the hammer” Kroon I somehow crossed the finish line. His threats to foreclose on my house proved to be the light that guided me through the darkness.

To the writers in my support group (who aren’t real writers because they write fiction), I still find it curious that all thirty of you had emergencies and weren’t able to attend the nights I was reading passages from my manuscript. Meanwhile, I can’t count the nights I spent suffering through your mundane thrillers and feeble attempts at erotica.

My neighbor, Orren Dillahertz, loaned me $40,000 to allow me to finish this service to mankind, which is an extraordinary selfless gesture, but I’ve done nice things for him too.

Every writer needs close friends and trusted colleagues who will read your manuscript with objectivity and perspective. I had three such special individuals. Lucianda McClusker, Espironzo Ulmandorf, and Jim Smith. Ironically, they all had the same notes. Unfortunately they missed the point I was going for so I reluctantly had to discard them. But they forced me to defend my position and that was invaluable.

Without my family I can honestly say I would have finished this book a year sooner. My wife, Selma-Sue kept hiding my laptop so I wouldn’t continue. Oh ye of little faith. And my kids, Rusty and Selma-Sue Jr. were always getting sick or needing rides to places. Thanks to the Holiday Inn of City of Industry for putting me up for ten months so I could write unimpeded. And I apologize for any hardship I might have caused by not telling my family I was leaving or where I went.

No one showed patience or good cheer. No one really supported me (Okay, Orren Dillahertz, but he wants the $40,000 back, which will be a snap once book sales start rolling in). And I could have written this without any of them. May they all raise a cardboard cup of scalding hot coffee without a sleeve and say, “Ow! Son of a bitch! That’s HOT!”

Lester P. Gekler
Pacoima, California
May 24, 2018


Matthew E said...

PG Wodehouse used this as the dedication to one of his books:

'To Alistair Frisby who told me I would never have a book published and advised me to get a job selling jellied eels. SUCKS TO YOU, FRISBY.'

VP81955 said...

I simply hope Lester followed the advice of my favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf paper sleeve, the one I always hope I'll get with my order for a large Scottish Breakfast and three mini-donuts -- "The world is your cup. Keep it half full."

Covarr said...

I'd like to thank everybody who made this book possible, beginning with the entire team past and present responsible for Microsoft Word, listed alphabetically, followed by the fine folks at Staples who manufactured the paper I used to print out copies of my manuscript, listed alphabetically, then the complete cast and crew of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy which my story so shamelessly ripped off, including all of Weta Workshop, listed alphabetically, and last but not least, every current and former member of the band Rockapella, sorted by date of birth.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

You are welcome



Alan Stein said...

Wow, I guess they DO have higher standards in Pacoima.

Mike Doran said...

They ought to give courses on how to read Acknowledgement pages.
It may be the last outpost of "secret code" that exists these days.
"Acknowledgements" was always where you hid the name (or names) of the ghostwriters - that is, if you didn't give them grudging credit on the cover ("As Told To", which later gave way to "With").
These days, in the nonfiction field mainly, Ghosts are often credited with "research assistance" (if the byline guy remembers to do that).
Many 'writers' use the A-page the way that winners at awards shows use their acceptance speeches, to shout out all their family and friends who otherwise will never get a public mention. The spouse and kids usually bring up the end of that part of the list, assuming that the marriage is on solid ground.
Many A-pages turn into bibliographies, so the 'writers' can avoid plagiarism suits; it's usually easier to briefly mention all the books and articles that you stole from - excuse me, researched - to put together the finished product.
The key to all of this is The Unasked Question - who the heck ever reads Acknowledgements anyway?
(Aside, of course, from people who might be mentioned in them ...)

Peter said...

Ken, on Frasier, who came up with the concept of having the funny intertitle cards between scenes? Was it David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee collectively or one of them or someone else entirely? I ask because I'm planning a script in which I want to do the same thing as a direct result of being inspired and influenced by the brilliant ones on Frasier. If the script was to ever get made, I'd want to acknowledge the ones who came up with the concept first by thanking them in the "special thanks" part of the end credits.

One of my favourites was:

"Sleepless in Seattle (you knew we had to do it eventually)"

Dr Loser said...

I liked the joke about the "Millinials."

Unfortunately, you misspelt both of their names.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I don't get it.

YEKIMI said...

My thanks to Ken for making me waste several hours of my time reading this blog.....usually by one blog post a day and the comments. Time that disappeared faster than a pound cake at a Weight Watchers convention. Thanks also to T-Mobile who forced me to go buy a new internet connection plan when they "upgraded" to LTE 4G and uses up most of my data by the time I'm done reading one paragraph. Thanks also to LG Smartphones and their tethering connection which connects and disconnects faster than a neutron star can spin. Thanks also to my bladder and bowels for not cooperating and let me sit so long I develop bed sores on my ass.

Peter said...

Damn, I'm disappointed in Morgan Freeman.

On the bright side, we learn that Alan Arkin is the class act he's always appeared to be by having witnessed Freeman harassing a woman and telling him to stop, which caused Freeman to stop immediately.

OrangeTom said...

Evan S. Connell, who was more well known as a fiction writer, also wrote a pretty unique take on the post Civil War Indian campaigns, culminating with Custer's debacle at Little Big Horn: Son of the Morning Star.'

Not your traditional history, but definitely worth a read.

And in the acknowledgments, he actually does break the conventions satarized here. Traditional stuff thanking all the institutions which aided his research, but right in the middle he drops a bomb on, if memory serves, The Denver Public Library, concluding with "except them, who offerred no help whatsover".

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

If he could write from The Great Beyond, I'd like to read acknowledgements from John Kennedy Toole...

Ralph C. said...

The acknowledgements in my book are true.

sueK2001 said...

I have a friend that passed away last year. A few years before he died, he helped research a book on Doc Watson. He was listed in the acknowledgements. In some weird way, knowing his name is in print in a book and comes up in a Google search of his name, keeps him alive a bit longer. I find that comforting.
I will admit , I laughed hard at this post..and forwarded it to a college buddy of mine who is now a published author. (I do that with all your book-related posts). I'm turning her on to your blog.
Now, if I can just get my OWN novel written and published someday, I may thank Ken Levine in the acknowledgements.

Anonymous said...

Is it blogger that won't let you fix the spelling of this entry? I was hoping you'd fix the misspelling.