Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Which event deserves more fanfare?

It’s the fourth of July today, which raises two questions: first, what am I doing on the internet when I should be outside feasting on the beauty of nature, and then celebrating my patriotism via arson? And second: what are you doing reading this? Go! Be with your families! Eat bratwurst and get sunburns!

So, yeah, the country’s awesome, and yeah, three cheers for democracy. But in other news, my book comes out, like, tomorrow. And if you thought the fireworks were awesome today, then you just wait until next week when angry mobs set fire to Covenant’s corporate offices.

Anyway, since it’s not like I want to write anything, I’ll just post a few important things. First and foremost, there will be a party like no other this Friday in celebration of the book’s release. You’re all invited, each and every one of you, provided that you’re awesome on the dance floor and know how to shake your groove thang. Details: this will occur from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Seagull Book and Tape in West Jordan (1650 W. 9000 S.). Technically, there will be no dancing, but there will be refreshments, giveaways, witty conversation, and social networking up the wazoo. I’ll be signing books, kissing babies, and invading your personal space. Come one and all!

And, in honor of the release, it’s about time that I post a chapter or two of the old book. And, in honor of the fact that I had to rewrite this thing fourteen times, I hereby present a chapter that will not be appearing in the book. At one time, it was the prologue, but such days are gone, and now we can only look back with fondness and nostalgia. So, without further dithering ado, here is the former prologue, which does not appear in The Counterfeit, but which is still slightly funny and somewhat pertinent:

While I was on my mission we used to teach one of the gospel concepts using a simple object lesson: It’s easy to break one stick all by itself, but it’s almost impossible to break a whole bunch of sticks when they’re bound together. The moral? Go to church and stay active, because there’s strength in numbers.

I realized, one sunny morning in June, that this stick principle is true of paper too. (This isn't the kind of thing you need a PhD to figure out, but I’d just never thought about it.) One piece of paper is easy to tear, but you can’t very well tear through a book all at once. Likewise, a knife will cut straight through a piece of paper without any trouble, but it will only go so far into a book, and then it will stop. Because really, with several hundred pages -- pages that once were wood -- stabbing a book is almost the same thing as stabbing a two-by-four.

I learned this the good old fashioned way: by experience. The book was in-between me and the knife.

I never even saw my attacker before he stabbed me. We were on a busy street, out in front of the Salt Lake City courthouse. I turned around and wham, the knife was there. It sliced straight through my suit coat (which makes me mad in retrospect because I can’t really afford a new one—though I didn’t think about it at the time), and three quarters of an inch into the book in my pocket: Self-Defense Made Simple.

The knife entered right between the ‘e’ and ‘f’, sliced through the foreword, written by ex-Green Beret Nick Slate, and through the first and second chapters (which I had ignored because they hadn’t shown how to do any cool judo throws -- they just talked about always being wary of your surroundings, and using your five senses to their fullest potential. Assuming that I get the book back from the FBI forensics team, I’ll read that section thoroughly). Chapter three, even though it was about blocking and redirection of force, did neither to the knife, and was sliced easily. Finally, the tip of the offending blade came to rest twenty-seven pages into Chapter Four, in a section of glossy diagrams depicting “The Basic Punch.”

I had a good chance to stare openmouthed at my attacker. He was obviously expecting the knife to perforate my pancreas, or liver, or whatever is on the left front side of the abdomen, and he looked very surprised that I hadn’t bent over in the agony typically produced by a highly-polished, stainless-steel Bowie knife. He gaped for a moment until he realized what had happened, and then he tried to stab me again. But like I said, a book is pretty much a block of wood, cut into tiny slices, and the knife wouldn’t come back out once it was stuck.

He wasn’t going to be on the cover of GQ any time soon. He had a round splotchy face that appeared to be almost as wide as it was tall. His upper lip jutted forward at an unnatural angle, displaying a set of teeth so haphazardly installed that I could only guess they’d been on the receiving end of several brass-knuckle punches, and, after being scattered on some bar-room floor, randomly glued back in. His lower lip was chapped and cracked down the middle, and little flakes of skin feathered away all over the place. His ears stuck straight outwards, as though someone had grabbed each with a pair of pliers, yanked, and the ears hadn’t ever gone back to normal. He had a scar across his nose, and I could only hope that it had been acquired in a particularly painful way.

He tugged at that knife for at least a second and a half (which seemed like an eternity at the time) until I finally came to my senses and tried one of the various self-defense moves I had read about. The move I chose is one of the most fundamental motions of Tai Chi, where you throw the attacker’s hands off of your shoulders, and push him away from you. I used that move despite the fact that his hands were not on my shoulders (and also despite the fact that Tai Chi isn’t taught as a combat martial art). Still, it knocked him away, and he lost his grip on the knife. He glowered at me with his beady little eyes, and then scampered away.

The police were there moments later, shouting into their radios for paramedics and backup. The stabber was tackled before he even reached the corner, and was swarmed by a lot of screaming police with drawn guns and itchy fingers. A few FBI agents yanked me by the shoulder and pulled me back into the safety of the courthouse.


At 7/04/2006 1:22 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Happy 4th Rob, and congratulations on the new release. Sounds great, but don't you think that inserting yourself as the would-be assassin was a little over the top. The physical description was a dead giveaway.

At 7/05/2006 11:38 AM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Now Jeff, be nice. Rob may be a little unusual, but I like him. I'd rather go to his party than to a wedding reception too, but duty calls and all that.

Rob, I'm anxious to read your book.

At 7/05/2006 1:18 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

You caught me, Jeff. However, in my defense, at least I only wrote myself as a minor character. You, on the other hand, fashioned Shanda to be your doppleganger. (And you didn't even try to hide it. I mean, SHANDA is an obvious anagram of SAVAGE.)


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