Sunday, November 20, 2011

68. Books

“No, put that down, I want to keep it.”

C.W. came by to, as he put it, “Help with your hoarding problem.”

“It’s not hoarding,” I said, grabbing my prized copy of “Lucy” by Donald Johanson. I opened it. “See, I got him to sign it when he came here once for a lecture. “It’s a valuable piece of my life.”

“And what decision are you to prepared to make about it?”

This infuriated me. He had appeared as that rather attractive blond-haired woman from one of TV’s “hoarding” shows who plays a “licensed psychotherapist specializing in obsessive-compulsive hoarding disorders.”

“Are you going to help me or not?” I said.

“Are you sure you are in touch with your feelings about all this?” she said.


“Yes, and that reminds me,” she said. She walked to one of three bookshelves in the room and pulled out a copy of “The Complete Works of Josephus.” She studied it for a moment. “This one takes up a lot of room.”

“Put it back,” I said.

“Have you ever read it?”

“Just the sections where he mentions Jesus.”

“Are you going to read the rest?”

“Probably not,” I said. “But if anyone wants to know about the only historical reference to the man, that’s where you can find it.”

“They have copies in the library?”


“Then why would you need to keep a copy?”

I considered the question. “But it mentions Jesus,” I said.

She replaced it and pointed to the “Faulkner” section.

“I see you have three copies of ‘As I Lay Dying.’”


“Do you need all three?”

“Well,” I said. “One is a nice hardback and the other is a ragged copy that would be great for making notes. I intend to do that some day.”

“And the third?”

“My wife gave that one to me. I could never get rid of it.”

She sighed.

I picked up a copy of “Victory” by Joseph Conrad. “Now here is a must keep.”

“May I ask why?”

“To point out how a seduction scene can be tastefully written.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, the whole thing consists of the man placing his hand on the woman’s back and she brushes it away and says ‘stop.’”

“That’s all?”

“No, the scene ends with ‘It was a command he did not obey.’ Is that neat or what?”

“Sounds a little like forced sex to me.”

I ignored her. “I teach it as a welcome alternative to ‘Their hungry tongues greedily sought out one another.’”

Oh please don’t make me nauseous.”

“It’s ‘nauseated.’ If you are nauseous, you cause people to become nauseated. Same form as poisonous.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you are a tedious bore?”

Big Dope with a book he won on the old "Book Guys" radio show.
It is about bibliophiles and its title is "A Gentle Madness."
That figures, right? - C.W.
“Did they teach you that in psychotherapy school?” I was becoming a little agitated. I will admit it.

“I think I’ve had enough of your species’ weakness for hoarding material objects,” she said. “You should know it’s a problem when they start making TV shows about it.”

“Now don’t you go comparing me with those nuts on TV.”

“Pardon me?” She raised an eyebrow.

“I’m not a hoarder,” I said. I searched for words. “I’m a bibliophile.”

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