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Monday, 21 October 2013

Snail Mail

It doesn't matter how old you get.  The moment you see the mailman or woman walking down the block, your heart skips a beat.  "Oh, boy!  What am I going to get today?"  you think.

Of course the reality is never so good as the fantasy.  As a child I couldn't wait till the day came that I got mail.  As a child I only ever received cards for birthdays and holidays, and Playstation Magazine.  As an adult, I get junk, trying to sell me stuff, or bills for stuff I already bought.  The thought of mail doesn't fill me with glee.  Just anxiety.

That hasn't stopped me from passing down the tradition, though.  My son is practically beside himself when he doesn't get mail.  So much that I have taken to giving him my junk mail.

"Here. You have mail, Buddy."

"I do?" His eyes light up with glee.  "I love getting mail!"

There is a fragment of that child's joy in all of us.  It's there when we see the mail truck.  On those rare days, when we know something is coming for us--and we cannot wait--it burns in us like a torch.  It just takes a little tapping in to.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Treasures in the Pages

The debilitating death of my laptop, one cold, one current sinus infection, and a great deal of adjusting to a new schedule, but I am back, if not fully functional, and ready to talk about something that may one day go the way of the dinosaur.

If there is one thing that will truly sadden me about the world going digital, it is this: used books.

I shop used almost exclusively. There hasn't been a new book in my collection since 2011. It is the only way that I can afford to consume as much text as I do without using the public library. And, let's face it, the library hasn't been the same since the nineties.

But besides the affordability of it, my favorite part of buying used is the chance of finding a touching inscription inside. Largely I get notes and highlighter marks, especially if its Faulkner or Hemingway. But when its books like Sherlock Holmes or Tuesdays with Morrie, the insides become more personal: precious notes about how this book is representative of how special said person is. My favorite was in my copy of Tuesdays, in which notes to the reader were added at key passages to further enforce how wonderful the reader is. It's like finding someone's diary in the ruins of some long forgotten cabin in the woods, or archaeological dig. More importantly, it feels like magic.

You put the best words you can to the page with someone else and their best. You immortalize your ode to loving a person, even if the love is not immortal. I know these people are no longer together. Why else sell off such a touching gift? For that, it feels all the more special to me.

I only hope that my son gets to experience writing his first dedication to a girlfriend in a copy of her favorite book, imprinting forever a secret treasure.