Over at Omnivoracious, Amazon’s book blog, morbid children’s author Lemony Snicket has deigned to respond to questions about proper gift etiquette, the giving of coal, and whether or not you actually have to eat mincemeat.
Dear Mr. Snicket: Why does it always have to be
coal? Why shouldn’t a concerned parent give their ill-behaved
youngsters something more accessible for modern times, say, a stick of
firewood or a dried lump of mud?
Dear Woody: Under enough pressure, a lump of coal
may eventually become a diamond, but a stick of firewood, in the hands
of an ill-behaved youngster under pressure from a concerned parent,
invariably becomes a prop in a nice rousing game of Joan of Arc. Does
anyone smell something burning?
I am certain that the existence of two different holiday-themed books currently in print by the inestimable Mr. Snicket, which could benefit from some public awareness (The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story and The Lump of Coal), had nothing whatsoever to do with this timely feature, which will show up every Tuesday this month.