Say, do you realize I’ve been putting this blog up for your delectation now for over 18 months? Yes, thank you for asking, I HAVE given some thought to preserving these gems of wisdom in a deluxe, limited edition, highly collectible book. I have gone so far as to think of a title. For anything more definite than that, I may have to wait around until somebody decides to underwrite the project. We’ll have to be fairly clever about it, you and I, because if we are indiscreet, somebody around the library will take the money and use it for something silly like buying books or paying salaries. To avoid this, pack the donation, in small unmarked bills, into a box and mark it….
Oh, er, ah, yes, where were we? Eighteen months! And do you know, there are still a few things I haven’t whined about yet. Here are a few items I don’t believe I’ve been terribly specific about so far.
BOXES: I know, I know, I KNOW! All the grocery store would give you was banana boxes. That’s the way it goes: into each life a few banana boxes must fall. But there is one problem I have with boxes that I never have with banana boxes. Banana boxes have bottoms which are held together with staples and/or very sturdy glue. But some people send me books in boxes that they have constructed themselves. And instead of using tape, they just fold the bottom of the box together.
Books are heavy, prune petit-four. If you’re packing your collection of paperback panther passion prose, a folded-together box may hold, but if you think that’s going to support your 1964 set of World Book, I have news for you. Taping the box bottom is much better for my toes and my temper.
LAWBOOKS: There is a difference between lawbooks and books about law. We don’t mind somebody’s book about how a bill becomes a law, or their memoir of how they fought to get the law changed about licensing bait stands. But that set of five books outlining the Tax Code, with all the paper updates through 1973 is in the doorstop category. Too big for a decent paperweight.
TOYBOXES: I will take those books your kids scribbled their names in with crayon and some of the letters backward. I will take those videocassettes that they played so often that the label now says “The Li n Ki g”. I will even take those plastic alphabet blocks missing O and S with the signs that V was used for teething. But before you put the box into the car, could you please scan it for the two Legos, the broken ballpoint pen, Barbie’s right leg, and the slightly used jawbreaker that is now kind of fuzzy? These are, of course, all good signs that the kids aren’t reading those books any more and you can give the books to me, but could you kind of tidy up? I stay awake nights wondering how poor Barbie is going to drive her dune buggy.
PENNIES: I don’t mind the occasional penny turning up in a box of books (I’m saving them up for that book project, actually.) I just can’t help but wonder how these pennies get into the boxes in the first place. Do you carry your pennies in a breast pocket, and lose ‘em when you’re packing the box? Do you use ‘em as bookmarks, despite my request that you not use thick objects for that purpose? Is it a consolation prize for me when I see all those banana boxes?
See, if you put pennies in banana boxes, I can make jokes about baking them into loaves of banana bread, which would, of course, make me a penny loafer. If you don’t, then naturally I can’t make such a joke. Better for all of us in the long run, I suppose.)