Preface by Bennie Strange


    Well, that was part of the agreement we made with Gil — that he'd say he invented me. And I agreed to not edit that out, in order that this face-saving gesture remain intact. Actually, when Gil's friends found out that he was writing a book, they said, "No way. This guy exaggerates. He twists things around, and there's no telling what words he's going to put in our mouths." So they appointed me spokesperson, since it's known that I'm not afraid to stand up to Gil from time to time. I simply said to him, "Gil, you now have an editor for your book, and for no fee. I'll do it for nothing." Gil thought about it for a while, and finally said that he actually liked the idea, since it would give him (us) a chance to explore more than one point of view on things, and since the existence of an Editor would also make the book more credible. Only, Gil insisted that he was going to take credit for it all, and say that he "invented" me because he needed, as he put it, "such a literary artifice." 
    So be it. The fact is that the man does tend to glamorize things a bit in remembering them. All in service of the cosmic chuckle, of course; but it's still good to know when he's doing it, and when he's not. 
   That's my job, to let you know when. All the footnotes are me talking, and you should pay close attention to them, because they'll draw the line between fact and fantasy in the text. Also, I've got to take entire responsibility for "Bennie Strange in Worcester" — an essay which I wrote myself, and a lot of credit for the "Postscript," which never would have been written had it not been for me. Finally, the essay entitled "Rob Barnett" was researched by me independently of Gil, and I'm happy to say that the quotes Gil set forth were the ones I had repeated to me as well. 
    Footnotes taken into account, the book is now accurate as it stands. 
    I see that it has been left to me to acknowledge the help received in the preparation and proofreading of this book. The main people to thank are Claire Briddon and Wendy Thurston, who dealt expertly with the author's scrawl, his hastily recorded cassettes, and his sometimes unreasonable schedule of requirements. 
    Rob Barnett contributed invaluable bits of information. So did all the members of the staff at Long View Farm. 
    Finally, thanks are due to Karen Schaeffer-Gadd, who had the patience to read the manuscript, and the kindness to say she liked it, when it was more self-serving still. 
    I'm only sorry she never really approved of me. 


    Bennie Strange
    March, 1982
    Truro, Massachusetts .