Teach Your Dog To Shoplift, the literary slaughtering of a herd of sacred cows
by Rev. Dr. J. Edgar Holden, III. (Mendocino Bonobos)
If there is any proof positive that Tom Hine (a.k.a. Tommy Wayne Kramer) is insane, it would be that he asked me to review his book, “Teach Your Dog To Shoplift”.
Tomboy knows full well that I leapt far off the political left wingtip of this body politic after my first Hendrix experience, an awful number of years ago, and never looked back. How then can it be that he asked a rad-lib like me to review this collection of liberal-bashing diatribe that I loved and hated every minute of reading. There’s no other explanation: he’s certifiably psychotic.
Tom first tried to bribe me by foisting on me a personally autographed copy of his collected expositions of every belief I don’t believe in, and then by pretending to listen to my liberal windmilling rant about the lack of mental health services in our failing nation, all over a glass of ice-cold leadwater at the twilight zone known as the Forks Cafe. It was a workday lunch meeting at which we didn’t have beers, only because they were not on the menu. Some days later, after I responded with words like “biting”, “savage”, “caustic”, and “acerbic” to describe his collected rants, he asks me to write a review of it. Like I said, whacko. Thirteen eggs short of a dozen.
Forget his book. The more important question is “Who is this guy?” What kind of deranged mind invents words like “balloonjuice” and “Tilt-o-Puke”?
But just because I’ve known him since he was a drug-addled pony-tailed hippy headed west of Cleveland forty years ago, landing by the roll-of-the-dice in Haiku-spelled-backwards, still I haven’t a clue who he is. Dr. Hine or Mr. Kramer?
Is the writer Tom Hine really his literary pseudonym “Tommy Wayne Kramer” – the lead guitarist for the infamous “sixties” quintet tellingly named the MC5 (in secret underground hippie code, the Marijuana Cigarette Five)? Or is this neo-con con actually a pseudoconservative satirist, the ilk of Stephen Colbert? Should Tommy be on the Comedy Channel or Fox News (assuming there’s a difference)?
All I can say with certainty is that he was a more-than-decent shortstop in the local softball league, because I played against him and his butt-long pony-tail. But can such a man, now grown elderly and demented, be considered sane when still clinging to the delusion that his beloved Cleveland Indians will ever win a World Series? I ask you.
All right, the book. If you have one drop of liberal blood and can’t take a joke or laugh at yourself, “Shoplift” ain’t for you. Indeed, there is something to delight and/or piss-off folks of any political persuasion. But if you like bite-sized pieces of well crafted writing that’s sure to stir you out of your daily daze, try out a couple morsels of Kramer’s lampoonery, buffoonery, and curmudgeonry.
My review? Hell, all you need to know is what the back cover says. About the author: “Bitter critic marooned in a Stepford land of feeble-minded New Agers, all slaves to yoga this, hybrid that, and organic everything.” About the content: “Venemous response to the comfortable local class of elitist professionals, except when he’s writing sentimental death slush about his dead dog or describing his adventures driving drunk, avoiding hugs, and advising teens of the benefits of smoking cigarettes.”
Need I say more?
How is it that his dear wife Teri, after reading his hit piece on National Women’s History Month, did not choke him to death in his sleep or feed him rat poison for dessert?
Mark Twain said “sacred cows make the best hamburger”. Butcher Kramer has written a Whopper. Me, I audibly gasped and laughed at times. I devoured it in two sittings. This guy needs to take his poison pen to the national stage, where he’ll find a windfall of subjects on which to practice his vitriolic parody. Perhaps better yet, he should move on to his dream job of driving a beer truck, delivering his favored form of liquid salvation to the poor and huddled masses.
In the meantime, buy this book at your local bookstore or other less reputable outlets such as Amazon. Insist on having it placed in a brown paper bag. Rush home, lock the bathroom door, and settle in for the duration. You’re in for a ride.
“Teach Your Dog to Shoplift” is several dozen stories, mostly culled from Tommy Wayne Kramer’s weekly newspaper column, and ranging from bitter attacks on the local comfortable small town elites to sentimental musings on his dead dog. Chronicles his adventures driving drunk, avoiding hugs, advising teens to smoke cigarettes and not wear helmets at the skate park. And some terribly candid glimpses inside his family life, because he’s also a parent. Plus humor! Even readers allergic to his opinions concede TWK’s writings are monster funny.