The other day, after wrestling for an afternoon with a thorny passage in something I’m writing, I finally came up with the perfect way to solve the difficulties it presented. Full of pride at my own cleverness, I told E.S. about it. Then we had the following conversation:
E.S.: That’s great, honey.
FAUSTUS: Aren’t I really smart? Aren’t I a terrific writer?
E.S.: You are a wonderful writer.
FAUSTUS (dangerously): And?
E.S.: Oh. And you’re really smart.
FAUSTUS: That’s better.
FAUSTUS: Don’t you love dating me?
E.S.: Um . . . yes?