Dance with Demons: The Life of Jerome Robbins, is a biography written by Greg Lawrence. Jerome Robbins was a choreographer, and experts call him a theatrical genius. I received the book as a Christmas gift from Mom when I was a kid (almost 40 years ago!), and I immediately fell in love with it.

I’ve got no interest in the author either, but I still love the book. I’ve got zero interest in choreography. I have never read the book, and have no intention of ever doing so, but I still love it. To this day, the only real clue I’ve got about who Jerome Robbins is or was, is from what’s printed on the book jacket. But I love the book! 

At least my copy of it.

As I said, I’ve never read it, but by far my favorite part starts on page 185. Why? Because that’s where the lid to the secret compartment is. The book’s pages from that point on are glued together. The secret compartment takes up the rest of the book. Close the cover, and it looks like a normal book. Open it to its early pages, and it still looks like a normal book, but turn to that magical page, and there’s wonder and mystery.

What did I learn from Dance with Demons? Not much. What did I learn from my copy? Never judge a book by its cover! How can the boy who craves adventure not love having a book with a secret hiding place! Thanks Mom! 

The gift of that book alone has inspired me to make stuff just to hide away, just because a place existed to put stuff. Truthfully, Mom probably gave me the book so I’d stop with the plans to cut a secret passage into the wall behind the bookshelf in my room. Although it did not stop the building of my own personal guillotine.

Now if I could just get over the devastation of having never received the two things I begged in vain for over the years: (1) a real Batman grappling hook so I could throw it into the bed of a passing truck while hanging onto the rope’s end while standing on my skateboard in the middle of the road, and (2) a pet monkey!

 I’m not above begging, even as a 49-year-old man…