Friday, July 26, 2013

The Barber’s Conundrum by Other Stories by John Hartnett

Chapter 1: Introduction

Where do I begin?  You’ve never heard of me, I’ve never heard of you and yet here we are.   Could it be fate?   God certainly does move in mysterious ways, particularly if He had anything to do with The Jersey Shore running for 66 episodes.  

I doubt it’s fate.

So who am I to write a book?  Nobody, really.   Never had my own sitcom or starred in a movie.  Never started a chain of sushi bar slash laundromats.  Never ran for political office.  Nothing notable to speak of with the possible exception that I once went without showering for six weeks but that was when we had an exchange student from Belgium who apparently had some sort of aversion to bathing and I didn’t want to make him self conscious.  The only time Jens had a bar of soap in his hands during the entire time he stayed with us was when he helped my mother unload the groceries.   

Truth be told, I’m just a regular guy, someone like you perhaps.  Someone who appreciates the simple things in life.  Someone who still takes great pride in mowing his own lawn.  My wife happened to be standing over my shoulder when I wrote that last line and said, “Why don’t you tell them the truth and that the only reason you mow your own lawn is because you’re cheap?”

I live in New Jersey.   Married, three kids.  You just met my wife.  We have a dog named Hartley.  No, that’s not right.  I have a dog named Hartley.  Hartley was supposed to be my children’s dog (“Please, please?  We’ll walk it, we’ll feed it!  What do we have to do to prove it to you?!!!” ) but make no mistake, it’s my dog — an indisputable fact never less in question than at 2 o’clock in the morning when I am the only one in the house who will acknowledge, let alone investigate the source of a high pitched keening wail and what very well could be to someone who has just been jolted awake from the dead of sleep, the desperate howling of a man who has been buried alive and attempting to scratch his way out of a coffin. 

“Didn’t anyone hear Hartley howling last night and scratching at the back door at two in the morning?”

“What time?  No.  I must have been out like a light.  Do you have $6?  They’re having a bake sale at school”

So what’s in the book?  It’s a collection of essays I wrote for a newspaper syndicate in NJ and various other observational and satirical short pieces that look at raising children, marriage, school, popular culture and entertainment, politics.   Things like that.   I wrote these pieces to share a few laughs — there’s enough bad news out there — nothing too heavy, nothing too confrontational, nothing too racy.  Racy, how often do you get to use that word?  Outdated, I know.  You’re probably picturing me now as one of those 1950’s crewcut guys who take off their suit jacket and put on a cardigan sweater when they get home from work. 

I can live with that.

Thanks for reading!

John Hartnett

December, 2012

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Genre –  Humor

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

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