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Rick's List - Fun at the Home Office Edition

Working at home, a "temporary reality" epidemiologists suggest might be winding down as soon as 2027, has many temptations that have been discussed too much — except when I discuss them.

Yes, we've all gained weight or work in our pajamas — though it doesn't look that way during Zoom meetings because of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"-style constructs that make it appear we are crisply dressed, barbered and styled and behind us are fake flow charts.

Me? Not so much. I'm ... just here, in my little home office, which has always been a home office because we don't have kids or visitors but we DID have an extra room. It came down to "home office" or "Rick and Eileen's Fresh Seafood Market." We flipped a coin and, well, here I am typing this next to an iced bin of fresh grouper, bluefish and shrimp.

Kidding. The seafood market was Tails and the coin came up Heads.

The point is, all I have for distraction is a huge Ikea bookshelf — the assembly of which caused the biggest argument in Eileen's and my 30-year relationship even though we weren't mad at each other but at those Nordic monsters who designed the damned thing.

The bookshelf sits there with perhaps the oddest combination of volumes outside the Vatican's secret library of Devil Grimoires. Yes, this is where I keep my "Oh, my, doesn't Koster read HEAVY literature?" volumes — the ones caked in the dust of the ignored. As I type this, I can glance and see "Under the Volcano"; some Knut "Rick Didn't Know He Was a Nazi When Rick Bought This" Hamsun; a biography of T.S. Elliot; transcripts of the trial summations of Clarence Darrow; Bertrand Russell's autobiography; "Catch 22" — you get the idea.

But, alongside all this greatness is a large collection of Hardy Boys books because, well, I grew up on the Hardy Boys and there are many valuable life lessons there. In fact, if you're a fan, you might remember that, in "The Secret of Hitler's Treasure," Knut Hamsun makes an appearance as a villain and is thwarted in a pratfall moment by the boys' chubby and e'er-blundering pal Chet Morton.

One of the hallmarks of Hardy Boysian literature is the colorful variety found in quote attribution. No character ever "said" anything. That's not descriptive enough. A character "exclaimed" or "cried" or "shrieked" — but never "said."

Yesterday, waiting for a "Rick's List" idea, it occurred to me to randomly juxtapose Hardy Boys quote attributions into a work of "great literature." And so here's what would have happened if Hardys author Franklin W. Dixon had written "As I Lay Dying" instead of William Faulkner.

1. "What is she saying, Darl?" I chortled. "Who is she talking to?"

2. "She talking to God," Darl harrumphed. "She is calling on Him to help her."

3. "What does she want Him to do?" I trumpeted.

4. "She wants Him to hide her away from the sight of man," Darl bellowed.

5. "Why?" I snorted.

6. "So she can lay down her life," Darl squawked.

7. "Hey, is that Knut Hamsun?" I demaned petulantly. "What's he doing in this book?"

8. "He and Goebbels are buying shrimp at the Koster's Seafood Market," Darl beamed.


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