There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author,
and the three form a rising scale of compliment:
1, to tell him you have read one of his books;
2, to tell him you have read all of his books;
3, to ask him to let you read the manuscript
of his forthcoming book.
No. 1 admits you to his respect;
No. 2 admits you to his admiration;
No. 3 carries you clear into his heart.

— Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”


It starts with the same old books
While we are still going to school
History lessons, different outlooks
The pencil becomes a powerful tool

It has been more than forty years
Yet Mayberry still looks the same
The castaways never hid their fears
All those years rescue never came

It starts with the same old looks
While we are still going to school
Hard lessons taught in shaded nooks
Turns jealousy into a painful tool

Memories of Curly, Larry and Moe,
Laurel and Hardy in black and white
Followed by Alfred Hitchcock’s Show
Wander across the ether of the night

It starts with more of those old books
Long after we have finished school
History repeats, changing outlooks
The pencil becomes a frightening tool

Carried aloft, I Dream of Jeanie
While wandering Lost in Space
Ricardo is still in love with Lucy
See who gets mud on their face

Replaced now are those old books
Bitter subjects never learned in school
Scattered lessons, frightened outlooks
Frustration becomes a monstrous tool

One-armed man still flees The Fugitive
Cassius Clay proved to be the greatest
Creedence Clearwater still remains alive
They have remade The Wild, Wild West

It ends with those same old books
Wish I could have stayed in school
Many hard lessons changed my outlooks
The pencil is now my favorite tool

~~~~~~Jerry Marks