Without the help of all those working behind the scenes and several who worked in front of the scenes and those few who dared to work on the sides of the scenes, this blog post would not have been possible. Of course, then again, it might have been better.

First of all, I’d like to acknowledge my wife, Carol, who insisted I acknowledge her first. She also convinced me to call this section of the column my Acknowledgments rather than the more listless Chapter 23. She also helped me compile all these acknowledgments, using her unsurpassed threatening skills, and made sure her name would come first even if I did it alphabetically.

I’d also like to thank here my children, Paul and Nora, for being my children and rarely reminding me of that time in the Denver airport when I lost my mind during the delay and said to the ticket agent that I would never ever again mention the Denver airport in any of my acknowledgments.

Thanks, too, to the ticket agent, without whom this anger would have gone away years ago but has stayed boiling within me to fuel my vicious but rivetingly amusing attacks on airports.

To my editors, Bob and Nancy, what can I say but thanks for editing out that that extra unnecessary word and (ridding the manuscript of those unnecessary parentheses) and of course for all that emotional support as I wrestled with the dilemma of the Oxford comma.

I’d also like to thank my butcher, Cliff, for his hamburger patties and his steadfast commitment to the 80-20 fat ratio. And I can’t forget the work of my plumber, Bill, who was able to plumb the depths of my comic despair but never forgot to shut off the main valve.

I would not have gotten to this point without my faithful translators, the ones in Germany and France, Estonia and Kazakhstan, Malta and Jersey City. They have been able to evocatively convey the essence of this post, the poetry, even if they didn’t fully understand several of the words I was using and called this section Umlaut.

Let me take a moment here to single out my agent, Elmo Ponsodomenech, for his tireless refusal to take no for an answer even when the answer was no.

I also owe a great debt to those who have come before me, Dickens, Proust, Turgenev and the other taller members of my multi-cultural pre-school class at Miss Peacock’s.

I am greatly appreciative of the efforts of my friends, Lew, Peter and Clay, who have read different parts of this manuscript and who all agreed emphatically that I should become a butcher.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Miss Bave, my first-grade teacher, who taught me everything I know about macro-economic theory.

Finally, my greatest thanks of all go to my dog Pamplemousse, for chewing up the first version of these acknowledgments.

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