I try not to look at the library books.
I’m too easily distracted, you see. If I look at them, I’ll wonder what they’re about and I’ll take them home and I’ll feel obligated to read them. I’ll end up with seventeen of them on my bedside table, a precariously-balanced safety hazard resulting in my untimely demise. “Suffocation,” the death certificate will say, or, “Blunt force trauma, by books. Very tragic.” And it would be, so I don’t look at them.
When the new books arrive, I process them mechanically. I do not read the titles, or the dustjacket summaries, or the reviews on the back. Robotically, I stamp them with the library’s address, pencil the date of arrival discreetly inside, and flip through the pages until I find the barcode, which I then peel from its slick backing and stick to the front cover.
It takes something special for a book to catch my attention, the perfect storm of colorful cover art, catchy title, and clever keywords displayed in just the right font size.
Or it takes something like this:
I saw it out of the corner of my eye as I searched for the barcode. “Hang on…” I thought. “That’s not right…”
“What are you looking for?” Tiffany asked, as I flipped through the pages again.
“Thought I saw something weird…” I said, finding it again. “Yup, I wasn’t imagining it. Here it is.” I held the book out to her.
Her eyes widened as she looked where I pointed. “What?!” she said, pulling the book from my hands. “What is this?”
“That’s what I thought too.”
“But… How?” she spluttered. “And how have I not heard of this before? It says it’s normal! Have you heard of this before?”
“No, but I have several friends with kids who are going to have to answer some uncomfortable questions.”
We sat side by side, staring at the book, reading the offending paragraph over and over. Eventually, Tiffany said, “Where would you even put it?”
“There’s a ‘Total Recall’ joke in here somewhere.”
“I’m serious! Is this even real?”
“I’m not about to Google it,” I said, having learned long ago never to do an internet search with anatomical keywords.
So, ladies, is there something any of you want to tell me?