Friedberg is almost lost to history. She was a mid 20th Century New York City playwright and author.
’The Addicts’ is a story eerily familiar to today’s readers.
The cautionary tale is about a family who love to read at the dinner table.
The habit crept up on the Tuppersons, a husband and wife who then passed it on to their children.
They would hide their habit if the grandparents were coming to dinner, but otherwise they always obsessively read at the dinner table.
Mrs. Tupperson thought they could break the habit if they accepted a dinner invitation from a friend, a Mrs. Ravell.
The family practiced by devouring a book of Ettiquette, also read at the table.
Their attempts to make conversation fell flat.The Ravells, who did not read at the table, but rather kept a phone there so Mr. Ravell could respond to business calls fell into a terrible, ugly argument.
The Tupperson’s conclusion? Not only is reading at the table not rude, it avoids nasty interpersonal conflict brought about by conversation.
So don’t yell at friends or family for being on the cellphone at the dinner table, it leads nowhere good.
Peace be the Botendaddy
Man in the Fictional Mode, Book 3
Hannah Beate Haupt, editor
McDougal, Littell & Company
Evanston, IL 1970