Happy Smurfday to Me!

Where were you Wednesday? Only about seven people dropped off books on Wednesday.

We got this great collection of World War II history and this great collection of nature books and this nice collection of 18th century French art and it will all look good on the tables in July and I suppose I had ought to be really pleased about it.

Except all that came in in about one hour on Monday. This is what I mean by “a surge”. Yes, I KNOW I said we accept books until the third of July. But that doesn’t mean everything has to come in the last week of June.

I know the books are really coming in when I sit down to eat my lunch and find the last bites of my lunch from the day before. (This is one of those rules of the universe I don’t believe I’ve covered yet: “All the really important business is handled during lunch.”) How the heck am I supposed to price all those World War II books…no, wait. How the heck am I supposed to appraise this secondhand electric toothbrush if books are going to keep piling up on the dock all day long?

On Tuesday, we got that great collection of humor and that nifty set of antique World Book and all those paperback mysteries…between noon and one o’clock. I was leaving the Newberry at 7:10 that evening when the guard called “There’s someone unloading books on the dock!”

See, this is why I always say to drop off books “from about eight to four”. That’s a big stretch of the word “about”. That was the night we had the massive downpour, so it’s just as well I was there to pull those boxes indoors. Those framed watercolors would have looked much different next morning if they’d sat out all night. It might have added a touch of color to the dock, of course. (By the way, one of the really nice things about this collection was that the original owner—it was an estate—had collected all the right artists. I don’t know if their work is worth anything, but almost all of them had signed their names so I can actually read the signatures. In fact, this is almost certainly a sign that they are NOT worth anything. But it saves a lot of time and trouble if I don’t have to squint and mutter “Now, does that say Rembrandt or Rembrahan?”.)

On Wednesday, as I say, you all seem to have taken the day off, but you made up for it on Thursday: eleven boxes of literature here, nine boxes of business books there, eight boxes of art books at ten, three lettuce boxes of science fiction at ten-fifteen…I tell a lie. It was two lettuce boxes and a spinach box. Is there some app, by the way, so your phone tells you “Someone just dropped off nine boxes at the Newberry: time to drop off your seventeen shopping bags”?

Maybe this is just your way of getting even. We are going to have all these amazing things (we may get a framed page from the Nuremberg Chronicle, with fifteenth century pictures of celebrities of the day, one of whom seems to have a tail that extends off into the margin) and you will have only four days (five, if you donate a hundred bucks to the annual fund in time) to look at them all and buy them.

And we will NOT even let you have a spinach box to carry them all in. So there.

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