Looking for That Seed Packet?

Some people will put anything into a book.

No, I’m not referring to the proposed “Best of Blogsy” anthology, nor to the equally alarming invitation I have had to contribute a recipe to a literary cookbook. (Yes, I’m torn between revealing the recipe for tapioca meatloaf or my equally secret formula for turkey liver pizza. But that’s another story for another day…and perhaps the Department of Health.)

My obsession of the moment is that perennial bugaboo: the bookmark. And some people will put anything into a book.

Just last week, we had a magnetic flap with a picture of the Eiffel Tower, a cardboard dagger, $500 in cash (Monopoly), and a long metal strip advertising a suburban library. There was a five of diamonds, a grade school class picture of, oh, about 1973, and a delivery menu of mixed drinks with names I would not discuss in mixed company.

I have no objection to any of those (especially the menu, which suggested a number of names I could give my recipe contributions.) They all had in common the one common denominator of the successful bookmark. They were flat.

See, we also got a strip of unused Velcro, an almost-empty peanut package, a matchbook, and a toothpick. (Do you have ANY idea how much I love to deal with second-hand toothpicks? At that, it’s better than the books with secondhand Q-Tips.) There was a quarter (Canadian), two pencils (in the same book!), a moist towelette (unopened), and an old phone battery. (To think that I have lived to use the phrase “an old phone battery”.)

I understand, poppyseed puree. You were simply putting something in to mark your place for a moment. But that knock on the door turned out to be a summons to South Sea adventure, and after you found the buried treasure and fought off the zombie pirates, other things came up and, life being what it was, you didn’t get back to the book again for thirty years. You never meant to put that permanent bulge in the text block, or to tear the front hinge that way. I’m not blaming you.

But you might want to think that over the next time there is a late night phone call, or a damsel in distress knocks at your window. Surely there’s an old lottery ticket or a takeout menu on your bedside table that you could put in that book. You don’t have to think about your martial arts skills until the Ninja android steps through the door; in the meantime, think of future generations. Someday, some book fair is going to have to deal with that book. It’s not that we will cry out, “Oh joy! Another wonderful person who used flat bookmarks!’ It’s what we will NOT be crying out when we find you put the pinking shears in at the chapter where the heroine finds her mother’s purse in the abandoned mine shaft.

Alternately, you might want to consider taking the book with you when you answer the call of adventure. I may have to write that story myself, how the hero went out to battle evil, and instead of a utility belt had a book in which he could find, at crucial moments, matches, peanuts, a pencil, and a moist towelette. And that was BEFORE he set up the exploding trap using the old phone battery and forced the werewolf into it by waving a used Q-Tip at him.

Now, back to serious business. Would I have a better chance of getting into that cookbook with my poppyseed puree?

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