I have Questions For You Again. As I go through your donations, I am sometimes struck with the difference between expectation and reality, leading me to ponder aloud the milieu from which such a collection arose. I find in the cardboard boxes which appear on the back stoop, even when there are barricades and an immense crane in the way, items which bring unbidden to mind a philosophical dilemma which, though unresolvable, nonetheless calls for the intellectual investigation which sometimes wakes me at 3 A.M. to cry out to the unresponsive darkness, “What kinda weirdo was THAT?”
We’ve spoken before about inscriptions, and how you can’t please Uncle Blogsy. I mock you if you leave an embarrassing inscription in, and I snarl at you if you rip it out or go over it with lampblack and India ink. But this week I had a book which included a gift inscription which you modified, but just a little. My question is: what, exactly, did it do for you to scribble out just the last names of the people who gave you the book? Perhaps you were afraid they’d find it, and wanted them to think this was somebody else’s copy, given to them by some other Jeremiah and Ida Belle. Perhaps you thought I could not track them down to do them unspecified evil if I didn’t know their last names. Perhaps you just got a new pen and were trying it out.
I’ve mentioned this other thing before, too, but I hinted at it above and I might as well ask again. What unspecified evils are going to be wreaked on you if you leave your address on a magazine? You missed a few issues, by the way, so I know you were cutting the address label out for your address in Tucson. What can someone in Chicago do to you in Tucson if your address is left on an issue of Snuffbox Collectors Quarterly? And do you realize that if you cut off a third of the last page of a six page magazine, I can hardly charge more than a quarter?
A small record collection I priced this week brought up several questions. How did these records get to Chicago? Were you swapping with someone? Did you inherit them? How many albums did Julio Yglesias record in Italian? Did the Italian branch of Reader’s Digest produce as many record sets as the US original? And is there another customer in all of the metropolitan area who needs an album of pop songs in Italian autographed by the Israeli performer? (Include photo. I won’t believe it unless I see a face.)
I understand, by the way, about the children’s books with the puppets. I’ve never seen them before this, but I am sure the puppets were so cute you couldn’t part with them, and sent me just the books, complete with little plastic housings for four absent puppets each. But all those books with the electronic keys to make sounds to go with the story: did the keyboards all fall off, or did you save them to play in the evenings without having to hold the book on your lap? (By the way, I sympathize there as well: those keyboards are addictive. There are three or four books every year that I’d never get priced and packed if the battery didn’t run down.)
My last question of the day is more somber. Would you please nod once in the direction of the nearest television and once in the direction of Hollywood in honor of the late Roger Ebert? I can’t say I agreed with him often on movies, but a reviewer you consistently disagree with is a dependable reviewer. And he was a literate soul who sent books to the Newberry. In fact, when his last book came out, he insisted on signing copies at the Newberry. He had two chairs: one for himself and the other, I assumed, for a bookstore employee who would hand him the book to sign so the line could keep moving.
I was wrong. He had asked for the second chair so the person buying the book could sit down and talk to him. I always admire heights to which I cannot aspire. When I sign copies of “The Best of Blogsy”, I’ll be asking for a bulletproof booth.