So, Bob Moore was a crook back in the 20s, except that he wasn’t really a crook because ‘a crook is a man who steals things from people, but I have only swiped things when I needed them, or when it would be wasteful to let slip an opportunity.’ Which…I am unclear as to how this makes him not a crook. Like, I am not a sales clerk because a sales clerk sells things to people, and I only offer them things in exchange for money. Right?
So these are Moore’s memoirs of being a marine engineer when he couldn’t get any less savory work, and he spends fifteen or so years running around beaning people over the head with wrenches and fleeing town without having collected his wages and accidentally getting married and getting people he doesn’t like fired from their jobs and almost dying at every turn but never really being too concerned and I am SO AMUSED! Ludicrous things are happening, and there are almost no consequences!
Because reading Moore’s work is like listening to a boasty, unintentionally (maybe) hilarious child. But an astoundingly racist, misogynistic child the moral development of whom I am definitely not responsible for. So it’s kind of fun.
And I am going to go out on a limb just now, a limb with absolutely no basis in fact, and call this a hoax. I mean, probably there were people that were this anti-everyone-foreign-or-uterused in the 20s (that barbaric era), but when he says things like ‘”Yo-he-ho” they call, “Yo-he-ho.” It is like the voice of China, only you do not like the voice of China when it comes through the window and keeps you awake at night’ he sounds less like a person and more like a parody of a person, like the Ukranian fellow in Everything is Illuminated or pretty well everyone in Three Men in a Boat.
So in three years when this turns out to have been written by some guy in his rec room (probably by the same guy who claims to have unearthed this thing from a public library and zinged it back out into circulation), you can say to yourself, What was the name of that girl back when who cried wolf on this thing? You know the one, had an itchy all-caps finger and a serious problem with irrelevant asides?
Potential hi-jinks aside, I was totally blindsided by how campy and diverting Don’t Call Me A Crook was. You will need a good hefty dose of Not Taking This Seriously to get through it, and if you are a woman or Chinese or a Chinese woman, you will have to take Ignoring Insults to the next level.
So bad it’s good. Thanks to Lisa Roe for l’entertainment.