Imagine sitting in a quiet place, a place where there are no distractions and no interruptions. There is only one person in that room with you, sitting beside you, telling you of things that matter the most to him, and you are spellbound.
He is a great intellect with a gift for speaking, a wit that you admire and wish you could emulate. You might not agree with him all the time, but you listen carefully and absorb what he has to say. He speaks of his brother, baseball, politics, foreign relations, and the foibles of mankind. He talks of dogs and cats and their eternal comparison. He tells stories about life and death, war and medicine.
That is what it’s like to read Charles Krauthammer’s new book Things That Matter, Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics. Had I written that title, I would have inserted a comma after Pastimes. Dr. Krauthammer did not, and he did not because thinks commas are a pestilence and they “must be stopped.” He wages war on commas. I, however, write with a congestion of commas, a little collective noun I made up to describe my writing style, and I use the series comma, sir, to avoid things like Eats, Shoots and Leaves, the guide to punctuation by Lynne Truss with pandas on the cover that signify the title should have been Eats Shoots and Leaves.
I have heard Dr. Krauthammer speak so often that I am familiar with the cadence of his speech and the slight change in his voice and his droll delivery when he is making devastating fun of something or pointing out those dreaded foibles. As I read his book (I’m less than half way through), I hear his voice in the printed words. He is an engaging, welcome, and appreciated guest in my home.
One of his most recent pronouncements was in regard to President Obama. He said the President was the first president to commit “death by punctuation” when he said, “If you like your health care insurance, you can keep your health care insurance. Period.”
I heartily commend this book to you.
(Financial News has called Dr. Krauthammer the most influential commentator of our times.)