The Very Basics

It is now just two weeks until we begin again the grand and glorious game. Let’s do a quick summary for those who missed the preliminary matches.

There is a big old library at 60 W. Walton; it is called the Newberry. From July 25 to 28, it is holding its Annual Book Fair, with a Preview on July 24 for those people who have donated $100 or more to the place.

By “Book Fair” we mean a book sale. This means that you may walk in during the hours of operation (12-8 P.M. Thursday and Friday, or 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Saturday and Sunday, with that Preview from 4 to 8 P.M. Wednesday) and buy books, records, CDs, DVDs, tapes, Ruibik’s Cubes, etc. It is NOT an exhibit. It costs nothing to come into the building. You may pick up books. You may put them back down again, even, if you are that sort of person. You may flip through them and see if you want to buy them, and you had better take a quick peek at the upper right corner of the first white page to see the price. This is the amount you will pay if you carry the book to the checkout area.

Note: You may certainly put the book back down at this point, and think it over. While you are thinking it over, somebody else is perfectly able to pick the book up and buy it while you were thinking. This is another illustration, if you needed one, of the futility of thinking, especially at book fairs.

You are free to buy more than one book. If you pick out more than you can carry, we have spots marked by plastic squirrels where you may “squirrel away” your choices so you can go around and choose more. A person—not a squirrel—will put the things aside with your name on them and fend off anyone else who may wish to look at them. We boast the finest squirrelling volunteers in Chicago, but they will not defend your items to the death, which is why you must not ask them to watch your purse or backpack or infant progeny.

Once you have made your choices, studying carefully our offerings in six rooms of treasure, you must pass through Checkout, where your purchases will be tallied by one person and rung up by another, who will expect you to make payment with cash, check, or plastic equivalent. You will then be asked to step outside via our back door, where you can contact your loved ones, fetch your car, call a cab, or, if we can swing it this year, contract with a bicycle messenger who will carry your books home for you. You will thus arrive home with treasures over which you can gloat while you consider whether or not to come back again the next day (you don’t think you saw EVERYTHING in just one go-round, do you?)

This is just a basic summary, of course, leaving out such bonuses as the Bughouse Square Debates on Saturday, the Running of the Bibliophiles at noon on Thursday, and the possibility of actually seeing Uncle Blogsy (the chap with ragged whiskers and bizarre apron) and possibly experiencing his quaint, traditional greeting (“G’wan, Scram! No, ya can’t have a discount; go bite a bunny!”) I just wanted to give you something you could print out and give to people who may be unclear on the concept. If we can cut the number of people who inquire “Are these things for SALE?” by just one, it could lengthen my life expectancy by a few years.

(Years for me to deal with the ones who ask “Where do we go to check out? That door marked CHECKOUT?”)

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