(file this one away under “Sad-Attempt-At-Humor”)
if there is any downside to being a bookstore clerk who processes used books for resale it’s this: The Mystery Grit™ – all the unknown (and the known-but-wish-you-didn’t), stray,
radioactive particles, dander, spores, dust, dirt, etc that accumulates on books as they wither away for eons in attics, basements and garages… one touch and you immediately feel the last gasp of some ancient epizootic awaiting just one molecule of water for full resuscitation. when such box-loads as these arrive upon our desk, we absolutely cringe! i’ve seen the skin of grown men curdle and shriek away from bones and sinews avoiding the slightest contact with these “delights”. used-bookstore clerks are thankful for the opportunity to play Indiana Jones with the cardboard sarcophagi bestowed upon them, but having to sort through the mummy’s curse in hope for one literary trinket will dampen a man’s soul overtime. i’ve dug through such unearthed arcana only to be stricken halfway through with some primordial goolagong hoping that the damp, soiled copy of some long lost Achebe, Vonnegut, or Hemmingway is worth it. i’ve imagined myself collapsing into a fever-induced coma only to awaken days later with Hugh Laurie and his “House” team huddling in fear and crying, unable to diagnose my contagion. House resigns and joins a monastery having failed to crack-wise while finding my cure. (8 years into his mission, House will break his vow of silence saying “Da Vinci’s Papyrus-Neglecti-Melanoma, of course!“ – but by then, it will have been too, too late.)
all i’m saying is this: please, PLEASE, be kind to your local used-bookstore clerk… boxes and boxes of potential literary goodies are often placed down before us and many of these boxes would require majority rule from The House, The Senate, and The Supreme Court to even begin the debate about whether or not those boxes should even be opened to begin with and then promptly followed by exploratory search and destroy procedures from a dozen or so Navy Seals. the life of a used-bookstore clerk is not THAT dangerous, but neither is it as glorious as one would believe and Obamacare only covers so much….
in the end, if you wouldn’t let your young child chew on the pages (and especially if you already have!) of your books because they already look so contaminated, then perhaps its okay to just chuck that one box of beauties into the trash. let the city hazmat team handle it… they are typically better trained in such areas than we.
Thank you, you are loved!