There is something sweet, I suppose, about a donor who hauls in books and THEN asks “Do people even buy these?”
She was talking about her set of Britannica, of course. It did not, apparently, occur to her to ask that about the box full of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, or even about the five year-old issues of Time magazine. (By the way, why is it that we get back issues of Newsweek once every ten years, but Time comes in at least once a month? Oh well: that’s Life.)
I can understand asking a question like “Do people buy these?” before you bring in a donation, but what’s the point after you’ve driven in and tossed the boxes on the dock? Is it just a pre-emptive strike? By sneering at your own donation, perhaps you can stave off my throwing an arm across my forehead and declaiming, “Old books? How dare you? Get thee hence!” This means you avert the necessity for discussing chicken jokes. (Get the hens, see? I know: I lost you a paragraph ago.)
And, as hinted above, people never ask it about the right books. Over the years, people bringing in family Bibles with the covers loose and the first eight pages missing have assured me they knew I didn’t want to be burdened with Grandpa’s old scouting manuals. They have brought me their paperback romances with the covers creased from being folded back and expected me to be grateful I hadn’t had to be polite about a bunch of old wooden jigsaw puzzles they just threw in the garbage. A number of years ago, a gentleman brought me all his old videocassettes and told me he had stopped at the Salvation Army on the way to give them all his DVDs.
“I knew the kind of people who come to your sale wouldn’t have DVD players yet,” he assured me, obviously surprised when I didn’t nod in agreement.
Sometimes, I realize, I am a bit harsh about people bringing me things which are not obviously ideal Book Fair fodder. But I hope I have also mentioned that we do our best to SELL things, and if you think there’s a possibility, you should bring those things to us. True, I wish your Aunt Booney hadn’t written her name and the date on the cover of each piece of sheet music, but that doesn’t make it worthless. I’ll put up with that fine old dictionary which is held together with Scotch tape and mildly moldy at one corner if it means you’ll also bring in your Uncle Jasper’s cigar box full of old baseball cards.
We can even put up with all those magazines from the waiting room of the clinic your sister-in-law used to run out in Berwyn. I can leaf through them and maybe pick up some new jokes. (Hey, you know why you should stop by the Library right after lunch? So you can watch the readers digest.)
It’s all in a good cause.