Busy Night | Newberry

Busy Night

So it’s true. Tonight during prime time, you have to choose among the last Presidential Debate, Monday Night Football, and a Major League playoff game. Must be Sweeps Week.

Do television programmers have NO sense of priorities? NO sense of proportion? I have eBay auctions ending tonight, and nobody’s going to be able to spare a moment to glance at them. I DO wish people would consult me when they’re setting these things up.

Anyway, I suppose you know which I’m going to suggest you choose. Yup. Go read a book. If you must, turn on the most important event with the mute on, and glance up from time to time to see if it’s getting exciting. But last I heard the Bears were favored to win by 14, so catch up with your reading.

It so happens that I have a number of excellent titles I can seel you. I don’t know whether the books are any good, but the titles are great.

I don’t even really want to open the Headache Prevention Cookbook, for fear I’ll be disappointed. My hope and dream is that this is a book full of recipes you feed to the people who give you headaches, so you need never worry again.

I am actually afraid to open Easy Sewing for Infants. Don’t give the kids your darning needles, friend. They’ll put an eye out.

I believe I have already mentioned Watchable Birds of the Southwest, which implies that some are unwatchable, and those art catalogs of Important Paintings by Old Masters, which suggests that they have private sales of Unimportant Works by Old masters, or Important Works by New Masters. But have I mentioned a small volume from the turn of the last century called Great Men Who Began As Clerks? I dream of a world where there will be a big book on People Who Started As Clerks And Stayed There.

Some titles are a matter of individual senses of humor. I have seen people double up with laughter at the sight of Great Irish Cooking, with others offering to discuss this with them out in the parking lot. I have had a lot of trouble with an LP called Dolly Parton’s Biggest Hits, which many a customer has grabbed up with joy only to have their significant other send them to put it back. (And yes, so you don’t have to say it, I AM surprised that it’s not a 45 record. Happy now?)

If it comes to that, you could spend an evening listening to records with controversial titles. I don’t think there’s been a single “Best Of” album—Best of ABBA, Best of Barry Manilow, Best of Barney—that didn’t provoke somebody into saying, “What’s the WORST, then?”

These are just suggestions, of course. It may be that you will prefer to watch some of the title matches broadcast live tonight. After all, one of them is extremely important, and might deserve watching. But those of us in Chicago know how that one must come out.

Don’t the Cardinals ALWAYS win?

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