Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Guy Who Bought A Dozen Books

In Dollar Tree last Saturday, a middle-aged guy staggered up to the register under the weight of twelve hardcover books. He plopped them down on the counter at the cash register. They were all copies of the same book: HRC, a biography of Hillary Clinton.

Hmm, I thought. He either really loves or really hates Hillary. I didn't have to wait long to find out. He announced to the cashier and everyone behind him in line that he was a Republican, but he was buying this book for friends who needed to know the truth.  The last phrase was said with a significant smirk. He paid his 12 dollars plus tax and headed out the door.

Horse's ass, I thought, bristling. Not because he's Republican, but because he doesn't get it. If he were a Democrat brandishing twelve books about Trump, he'd still be a sorry jerk. That is a prime example of how NOT to do books and friends, friends and books.

It's so easy to go wrong when buying books for other people. You love it; they hate it and sneer at your taste. They lived every word of the story; you wonder at the fissures in their brain that make them enjoy such slop. Still, the parties have engaged in a sharing experience. Varying degrees of thoughtfulness have played a part. Although their attempts at connection and communication may have fallen short, they have made themselves vulnerable, which is admirable and touching.

But that guy at Dollar Tree? What's that? His "friends", indeed. I wonder how they will accept his offering. How many of the twelve will go unread and end up being window props and coasters? The noise that those books made as they thudded to the counter sounded like a pile of bricks falling and his intended method of delivery seemed in keeping with that sound.

1 comment:

Literary Feline said...

My first thought was maybe he was buying them for a book club. Oh well. Sounds like a "friend" I would avoid at all costs. What is that phrase about catching more bees with honey than with vinegar? I have a feeling you are right. Those books won't get read. And he might not get invited to their homes again.

I try to find books the receiver will like when buying gifts for people. Or at least ones I think they might like.