Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Good Acknowledgement Page

Author Acknowledgements are normally boring lists of everyone the author has ever worked with, with gushing thanks to the editor and spouse, and I skip over them quickly. But I enjoyed reading Raymond Loewy's acknowledgements in Never Leave Well Enough Alone, the "personal record of an industrial designer from lipsticks to locomotives" published in 1951.
My indebtedness to the Atlantic Ocean must be acknowledged first. In perverse conspiration with the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam, it lengthened my crossing to Europe and compelled me to remain in my stateroom for the greater part of the journey. To this forced immobilization can be attributed the first sixty-two pages of this thing. For continued encouragement, I am deeply grateful to G.D. Searle and Company, makers of Dramamin, a new seasickness remedy.

Thanks are in order to the Pullman Company, whose new type of automatic folding toilets makes me appreciate the joys of staying home. To home, where a defective incinerator poisons my daily life, thanks for making me appreciate the joys of travel. For continual criticism of what I was thinking, doing, planning to do or write, thanks to my beloved wife, Viola, without whom this book might otherwise have been much longer. Selection of the text was greatly facilitated by my secretary, Miss Peters, whose well-timed loss of a particularly boring chapter in a New York taxicab led to its complete elimination, and my blissful relief. To the mosquitoes who made writing unbearable on the beach at Porquerolles, and chased me to Zermatt, I must credit a lovely month of June in the shadow of the Matterhorn.

To the makers of my ball point pens, may I extend the thanks of the dry cleaning industry, which has been kept busy removing spots from most of my bedsheets, pajamas, tablecloth, evening shirts, white poodles, upholstery, and Lanvin neckties during the genesis of this book. To the airlines, thanks are in order for the countless hours of leisurely waiting at airports and bus terminals, where many chapters have been written on empty popcorn boxes, travel folders to Mexico, and other deadly airline literature. Acknowledgements are in order to Ella, my cook, who reduced the printing cost of this book by conveniently dropping a saucerful of hollandaise on a batch of illustrations, thereby materially cutting down printing expenses.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Peggy (Mrs. Howard) Cullman, who, after reading the first two parts of the ms., assured me that she had read much worse, thereby supplying the final dose of enthusiasm that I so badly needed to finish the job.

He got his revenge on the airline industry, at least, with a detailed description of a fiasco of a trip across the US.