There has been a good deal of speculation among the two or three regular readers of this column about why Madonna's new book has received no mention here.
Publicly, my position was: "I don't write about trash."
But the truth was, I couldn't get my hands on the book. There was only one copy making its way around the office, and I had to wait for it to be passed down the chain of command.
Finally, the janitors announced they were through with it and it fell into my hands, which explains the dreary piece before you now.
The first thing that strikes me about Madonna's book is that the whole family won't be thumbing through this baby -- not unless you're the kind of family that piles into the station wagon every night for a trip to a leather bar.
The book is called "Sex," which surprises absolutely no one. You knew Madonna wasn't going to author something called "Great Battles of the Civil War." Or if she did, the sepia-toned Matthew Brady photographs would probably feature Union soldiers feverishly coupling in tents, or Ulysses S. Grant in a brothel groping a garishly painted transvestite.
What does surprise me is that people are in an uproar because the book contains pictures of sadmasochistic sex, tattooed lesbian skinheads, group orgy scenes, gay strippers, nude hitchikers and so on.
To which I say: Picky, picky, picky. Hey, can't a girl have any fun these days?
What kind of a country do we live in where you can't even shackle someone to a dungeon wall and hold a switchblade knife to his or her crotch without getting criticized for it? What is this, Cuba?
Look, some women like macrame; Madonna likes to dress up as a violent Nazi dominatrix who whips her lovers with a riding crop.
Live and let live, I always say.
The book's prose, such as it is, is not exactly lifted from "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," either.
Most of it comes in the form of letters allegedly written by Madonna's alter-ego to a male lover, in which a variety of activies are discussed.
None of these activities includes bowling or raking leaves, if you catch my drift.
I'll tell you, if you're dating Madonna, I don't see how you ever get anything done. Because apparently all she wants to do is hang out in bed all day with 200 multi-racial love slaves and an impressive array of sex toys and try out every position in the Kama Sutra.
Sure, that might be fun for a couple of hours. But eventually you might want to see what's on TV or go for a walk.
The bad news is that Madonna's new book goes for 50 bucks, which is kind of steep for someone like me who sits around waiting for the Cheez Whiz at Giant to go on sale.
And it's not like you can go into your local bookstore and pretend to be looking for something by Joyce Carol Oates and sneak a peek at Madonna's book.
See, the book comes in a Mylar wrapping to prevent in-store leering and also to keep the sexually dysfunctional crowd from spilling over into the Hobbies and Crafts section.
If Madonna's book has any redeeming social value, it's the appearance of washed-up rapper Vanilla Ice in some of the photographs, ending speculation that he'd found a cozy resting place in an oil drum next to Jimmy Hoffa.
You talk about a career in free-fall. Just a few months ago Ice LTC had the No. 1 song on the charts and the requisite big-shot lifestyle of limos, Lear jets, fawning sycophants and groupies.
Now he's reduced to taking his clothes off for 20 bucks a pop and posing languidly next to a old Ford Fairlane, or whatever that was.
Of course, as soon as you mention that you've seen Madonna's book, every pervert in the world takes you aside.
Nervously moistening the dried spittle caked around their lips, they demand to know: "Is it . . . good stuff?"
The truth is, there's nothing in this book that you couldn't see in mainstream magazines like Penthouse or Bondage Illustrated or Bestiality Today.
Oh, sure, you see Madonna eating pizza naked, Madonna sucking someone's toe, Madonna working a woman over with a cat-o'-nine-tails, Madonna dripping candle wax on some leather-clad guy named Lucifer.
But, hey, doesn't everybody do that stuff at one time or another?
Let's face it, you come home from a tough day at the office, you're tired, you're cranky, the first thing you say when you come in the door is: "Honey, where's that choke collar and bullwhip?"
I was just looking for mine the other day, as a matter of fact.