Last week’s article concluded with this statement- Next week: “Is Chainsaw the Anti-Christ and how can we stop him!” My sincerest apologies are extended to those of you who rushed out to grab this week’s edition ready to read, take notes and take action. Sorry but last I checked (and as far as I can tell) – I am not the Anti-Christ. Besides, if I were, do you think I’d tell you how to stop me? Bwahahaha! You can’t stop me because I’m not the Anti-Christ! Which means you could stop me, just not with anti-Anti-Christ methods…depending on what those are I suppose.
Thrift stores are an exceptional place for those on a budget to expand their literary collection. On occasion you can find me perusing their book shelves, in hopes of adding to my own personal library. Such was the case a few years back when I noticed another literary connoisseur preforming a strange ritual.
The lady in question looked to be in her mid-thirties, upscale, well put together and quite out of place in the Goodwill (but who am I to judge someone’s will?). Selecting older hardbacks, she pulled volumes from the shelf, carefully scrutinizing their exterior, paying specific attention to the binding. Once they had met her visual criteria she flipped them open, checked their copyright and either returned them to the shelf or placed them in her buggy.
Curiosity got the better of me and I inquired if she planned to do a lot of reading. She gave me a skeptical glance (but who am I to judge someone’s skepticism?), no doubt judging me based on my appearance in as much as she had done the books (but who am I to judge whether or not a person is judging me?). At length she informed me she had no intention of reading the books. For that matter she hated reading and saw it as a bore and a chore. However she had recently come into possession of an antique roll-top desk, which she planned to display in her den. Thus she required some books to fill its shelves for decorative purposes- checking their outer appearance for size and color then the copyright to ensure that they matched up with the same era as her desk. Selection based on size and color… does racism apply to books? (But who am I to question someone’s racism?)
Dear Gawd, copyright date aside, she was literally judging those books by their covers! Sentencing them to become nothing more than ornamentation (But who am to judge ornaments?)! To add insult to injury she informed me, with a hoity toity air (but who am I to judge the air quality?), that those that didn’t work out she’d just throw away.
Thrown away?!? Judgment passed, sentence decreed, gavel slammed down. Those books must be saved… but to what end? An argument? A struggle? A fight? Arrest? Assault charges? Jail time? Potential unwanted anal violation??? (Butt who am I to judge the prison system?) Besides after the math she’d just get more books to ornament and/or dispose of. What did I care anyway? Besides possible butt rape is always a good reason to give any action a second thought. Condemned to a long dusty un-used shelf life or sentenced to the garbage? Whilst considering the books’ fate the lady made her final selection, a thin blood red tome, which she proclaimed to be perfect for the desktop display. Placing in her cart she dismissed me with an“I’m better than you” smile (but who am I to judge who’s better than me?), and turned to begin judging the lamp selection (but who am I to judge someone’s judgment of illumination?), leaving her cart, full of books, beside the shelves and in front of me.
Later that night I finished the first chapter of The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward copyright 1946. What a fascinating tale was unfurling within those pages, the story of a mid-century insane asylum told from a patient’s perspective. Closing its blood red cover I placed it on my bookshelf amongst its new and well-loved friends.
This twisted tale disproves the proverb that “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Because in the literal sense, based on need and purpose, you obviously can. But if a book’s cover is never opened is it misjudged? It’s true you can’t judge a book’s “contents” by its cover but can you judge the person with the book by its cover? Or perhaps place judgment on a person based on the conditions of the covers of their books? It would seem that one’s literary choices, and their condition, could tell you a lot about the person themselves. Maybe you can judge a person by the cover of their book… but who am I to judge?
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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!