What YOU Did on My Vacation

I know: it was the end of the year and you wanted to donate up to the limit because there was that Fiscal Cliff. (I found this phrase more annoying than the Other Apocalypse of December, mainly because it turned up so often. “The weather is headed for a fiscal cliff this weekend” or “If you don’t rotate your tires, they may be headed for a fiscal cliff.” I got the impression that “fiscal” just meant “really deep and dangerous”, which, after all, looking at my finances, might be…where were we?)

Oh, yes, so despite the library being more or less closed for half the days I was away, you still found time to donate roughly 100 boxes and bags of books. Maybe it wasn’t the end of the tax year. Maybe it was your generous nature, wanting me to have a great New Year’s gift on my return. To this, I can say only, “Oh, you SHOULDN’T have.”

You’ve been good to us, in your fashion. So far, I have turned up the autographs of Sara Paretsky, Joycelyn Elders, James Ellroy, Gloria Steinem, Saul Steinberg, Beverly Sills, Lee Mendelson, and (the one which will probably sell first) Susan Lucci. There was a pair of bookends, a Nintendo DS, two collectible scale model NASCAR vehicles, and—so far—three boxes of cookbooks. (A less forgiving soul might say TWO boxes of cookbooks, since the third one is all British cooking. But I decline to mention such things.)

I had calls from two book dealers giving up the business, one architect who wants to make space by sending books rather than building an addition onto the place, and a tattoo parlor. I believe this last is unrelated to the lady who left an inquiry as to whether we take softcore porn. This is one of those things that is hard to judge without actually seeing the books. Fundamentally, I’m not sure there is such a thing nowadays, because if it isn’t hardcore, nobody notices.

So there was a great flurry of donation, if not snow, last month, which brings us to the new year and January, which is one of our traditional moratorium months. This is when we ask you to hold off on donating IF YOU CAN so we can get caught up on all those copies of The Divinr Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood people dropped off last month. What this means is that if you can wait until February to clean house, please do so, regardless of your Resolutions.

Now, we need, for the newcomers, to explain “if you can”. What this means is that if you can’t wait, don’t. You do not have to call and sob, “But I need to get the apartment cleaned out by January 17”. You do not have to sneak into the parking lot under cover of darkness, your face masked, and drop off those banana boxes when you think no one’s looking. (We have a security camera there anyhow. If we wanted to mail you mashed potatoes and gravy in revenge, we could.) I especially don’t want to hear that some Ninja types slipped in with a box full of Cliff’s notes at 11:59 P.M. January 31, just out of rebelliousness.

If you MUST clean out those Cliff’s Notes, just drop them off (Call first if you have a dozen or more boxes, but even then, don’t weep about a January donation.) Remember, however it gets in the way of our plan, we still make money off those little yellow booklets.

They’re our Fiscal Cliff’s.

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