It is a common truth that nothing is written in a vacuum, and thus there are many people I have to thank, except that this particular piece actually was written in a vacuum, so the only people I need to thank are the dedicated staff of technicians from NASA, and Debbie from over at Electrolux, who made this astounding breakthrough possible.
HOW IT CAME TO PASS
When I first started this acknowledgments page, it was 1975, and my advisors called me "mad" to attempt it. Granted, dedication pages had been common enough, and even the occasional frontispiece was still getting through. So, although acknowledgments were not unheard of, my people feared that such a far-out move might harm my reputation. “What’s wrong with just a table of contents?” they implored.
But I insisted. "After all," I said, "nothing is written in a vacuum." Little did I suspect how those words would haunt me, lo these forty years later, when I would find myself alone in the pressure inverter unit, typing madly, gasping for breath --but I get ahead of myself.
My first draft of the "Acknowledgments" started off with, what I must say, was some of my snappiest writing to date: "I'd like to thank my family for their understanding." Wow! My editor literally called it "hot stuff," and my publisher insisted on toning it down! Call me a sell-out, but I agreed.
And yet, every subsequent draft was somehow...less. As an artist, I truly felt that thanking my family represented a large part of what this acknowledgments column needed to be.
I complained to Eddie (my aptly named editor) and Pubby (his brother, my publisher) that the Acknowledgments was going nowhere, and they suggested just scrapping the whole idea. And that's where things stood when Remembery, a young nephew from Toronto, remembered my casual comment in that summer of long ago: nothing is written in a vacuum.
An electric thrill ran through the room.
"Surely," said Logicky, a visiting cousin, "you can avoid thanking your family--or having to thank anyone--by actually writing your Acknowledgments IN A VACUUM.”
Yet now that the deed is done, part of me feels that perhaps I really should thank “the boys” for developing the idea. A guilty part of me feels that I still should thank my family, especially after the unfortunate deaths of Timmy, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Rob, when they ventured (against house rules!) into the Unit. But there’s no denying, this was written in a vacuum, so, my only tip of the hat goes Debbie at Electrolux, and, of course, dear reader, to you.