I've never been one to post "Ziggy" cartoons on the fridge, but the other day Tom Wilson's little potato-headed hero did get a snort out of me.Ziggy is sitting across from a forlorn, frumpy old loan officer. The loan officer's saying: ". . .any collateral, other than the book you have in you?"
The books we have in us. Steinbeck believed we all carried books inside, but he was quick to add "I think there's only one book to a person."
Politicians, of course, are born with a book in them. I've heard rumors that Frances Farley, Orrin Hatch and Gunn McKay are all contemplating books. Jake Garn's book will be a space book. He tells me: "I still have the idea that I'd like to convey my own personal experience in space flight, the importance of space exploration and its incredible potential."
As for journalists, we're bigger walking books than the people in "Farenheit 451." Part of the job description for newspaper people is "must have a half-baked, half-completed book tucked in the back corner of a bottom drawer somewhere."
Some of those books even get finished. At the Deseret News, Lee Benson, Lee Warnick, Brad Rock, Joseph Bauman and Twila Van Leer have all published books.
Chris Hicks told me 10 years ago he was working on a blockbuster novel about Vietnam. It was something of a cross between Audie Murphy and Eddie Murphy, as I recall.
Social Services writer Lois Collins is edging a murder mystery forward, my editor, Ray Boren, has ideas for 10 novels (though no manuscripts) and - last I heard - Susan Lyman was planning to pen something "short, poetic and very lucrative."
People out in the real world tote even more books about. "Every face tells a story," we say to each other; and "I could write a book about my ex-wife."
I sometimes think "inner-books" are such a common notion in our society that an enterprising bachelor might use them to break the ice. "Hi. I saw you sitting over here alone and was just wondering what book you hope to write someday."
It has more class than "Come here often?" and if the approach didn't fly, a guy could market it as the "Book In You Party Game" for $24.95.
As book editor, I must get three or four calls a week from people who'd like a little help with their internal books.
Not long ago I was visiting my mother when her book came to the surface.
"I've got a book I'd like you to write," she said, the way one might say I've got a book I'd like you to read.
"Since you're the family writer, I thought you'd be interested."
Her book, it seems, is called "One Corner of Heaven." As far as I can make out, it deals with our family, the families in the two houses next door to ours, and the families in the two houses next door to them.
The truth is, it just might be a worthy project.
After all, William Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for writing up his neighbors.