Thursday, February 07, 2019

Dirty Book

Some 20 years ago, we used to go watch a movie every weekend. When they closed the Cahaba Twin Theater in Selma, we started going to Montgomery. We went through several theaters there, swapping to the newest one whenever it was built. Then, when they built the Promenade in Prattville, we went there for a while. We always found somewhere to watch a movie.

About once a month, sometimes before the movie, sometimes after, we'd go to a bookstore. Yeah, that used to be a thing. We'd walk around the store, looking for anything interesting. When we were about to leave, there was always a quick trip back around to find some item or items passed that may have piqued curiosity. Then, there was the decision of which, if any, to buy.

One time, a book titled Metamathemagical Grimoire, or something similarly odd, grabbed my attention. The title and cover made me think it was about those math tricks used to solve seemingly complex problems very quickly. At that time, Googling wasn't really a thing. Trivial knowledge still had some allure.

The book looked like one of those overpriced, obscure textbooks teachers and professors make you buy and never use. It had a very spartan hard cover with no fancy graphics; it was just white text on a cornflower blue background with no dust cover. I didn't stop to look at it closely on the first pass, but, being somewhat partial to clean, utilitarian aesthetics, it was on my mental list.

We walked around for a while, not finding anything too noteworthy. Soon, it was time for the movie, so we had to go. I ran over to grab the book and buy it. Disturbingly, it stuck to my hand. When I flipped it over to read the back, there were hand prints in some syrupy, brown substance. Not only was it NOT clean, when I read the description, I was dismayed to find out it was a pulp novel. It was about some sex-crazed grifter who uses salami-slicing, Office Space/Superman III tactics to steal from people.

We don't go to the movies very often, anymore. Bookstores are quickly becoming a relic of the past. I still have the lesson of the dirty book, though.