To SRW who suffered and was there
What better time than now, the season of gift-giving and goodwill, to consider the nature of the dedication? Like most dedications, the one with which this pulpit begins graces the entrance to the book from which it comes like a blue plaque on the face of a great house; and like most dedications, it is intensely irritating. You try to ignore the wording as you read on, but find it sticking to your shoe like gum. Who is ‘SRW’? How exactly did he or she ‘suffer’? In what sense were they ‘there’? Is it a joke or in earnest? What on earth does the message mean? The book has not even begun and a different story is in the making.