02 November 2016

Things I Did Not Say To My Taxi Driver At Five A.M.

by Robert Lopresti

When he found out that I was headed to the airport to fly to a librarian's conference the taxi driver informed me: "I haven't read a book all the way through since Hedy Lamarr when I was fifteen."

What I didn't reply:

"I pity you."

"There's a lot of good books out there."

"Not even Kant's Critique of Pure Reason?"

"Maybe you should give another one a shot.  Some people write better than Hedy Lamarr."

"You must be so proud."

"Personally, I only read the entrails of sacrificed goats."

"To each their own, I guess."

"The books haven't missed you at all."

"I'll be back in a week.  Drop by my house and I'll give you a free copy of one of my novels."

"So, how about that local sports team?"

"You like DVDs?  The public library lends them for free.  Music CDs too."

"Stop the car.  I'll walk."

"Did you know Hedy Lamarr was an inventor and one of her patents made the cell phone possible?  I read that in a book."

"So, who are you voting for?"

"There are dirtier memoirs by newer actresses, you know."

"No tip for you, bucko."

"You like any movies that are based on books?  A lot of the time the books are better."

"Do you think you're bragging?"

"I've been reading a book about not patronizing people."

"To each their own, I guess."

"Hey, that Hedy Lamarr was some broad, wasn't she?"

What I actually said to him:

Nothing.  Nothing at all.


  1. The list of things you didn't say are pretty good ones and funny, Rob. And it's kind of sad, but I think that the majority of people are like your driver. On the other hand, I haven't read that book, but she was a pretty amazing person.

  2. Oh, how discouraging first thing in the morning but look how it stimulated your imagination! Save some of that dialogue.

  3. Ha! That was funny--and sad at the same time, of course.... Funny your list of possible responses, I mean, of course.

  4. I had a table at a holiday fair a few years ago and was promoting a holiday anthology (surprise). To lure people to my table, I called out to them as they passed, "Do you like to read mysteries?" It worked pretty well. But there was one woman who stopped, stared at me as if I had two heads, and said, "Read?" It seemed an utterly ridiculous idea to her. How sad. Maybe she's related to your driver.

  5. Now that I've stopped banging my head against my desk - great comebacks, Rob, and I totally understand why you used none of them.

  6. When I was teaching English, I passed out index cards on the first day of class and asked students for basic information--phone number, schedule, special needs, and so on. Often, I added a question: "What do you read for pleasure?" I was amazed by the number of students who said, "I never read for pleasure." It's sad but not terribly surprising that a taxi driver would make that admission to a customer; I was dumbfounded that so many college students made it to an English professor. Honesty is a virtue, of course, but so is prudence. And sometimes a little shame is appropriate, too.

  7. Bobby, maybe he meant Hedley Lamarr.

  8. Velma, I bet that WAS Hedley!

    Now, go do that voodoo that you do so well . . .

  9. LOVE IT! Judy Penz Sheluk


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>