Occasionally I’m a bit strange.
I suppose you expect an example to prove it.
A few years back I was reading a used paperback I’d picked up at the used bookstore Martha frequents. I was reading away, just as happy as a book-reading clam, until I turned the page. Or tried to turn the page because it was stuck to the page behind it.
Usually, the reason two pages are stuck together is because they weren’t fully cut during the manufacturing process or, if the paper is extremely thin, it’s probably static electricity (although I’m not an electrician). But that applies to new books, and I was reading a used book.
So, innocent that I was, I peeled the pages apart. And screamed. Staring at me on the page was a glob of grayish-greenish-yellowish STUFF that was quite possibly dried snot or worse, petrified loogie. Leftover pizza is not grayish-greenish-yellowish. Even after a week (trust me, I know). M&Ms are not grayish-greenish-yellowish because they don’t make a gray color.
No, dear readers, I was convinced I was looking at human effluvium. I had the good sense to scream again and throw the book across the room, but then I went into mental meltdown. Who (or what) had been reading the book before me? Worse yet, how many who (or what) had been reading the book before me?
I don’t believe in the boogeyman or Freddie or Jason, but I believe implicitly in human slobs. The kind with hair on every inch of their body (females included), terminal dandruff, and those who make odd grunting, groaning, and snorting noises. The kind who smell bad, talk with their maw open whilst eating so they spit dead goat or whatever all over, and those who don’t ask their public toilet mates for toilet paper if their stall has none.
The kind who dripped or hocked into a perfectly good book that cost me $1.25. The bastard.
Martha, who grew up on a farm and therefore finds very little to disgust her, told me to get a grip. “Just read around it, for Christ’s sake,” she said. But it was too late: I was in the back yard burning it and standing well upwind of the smoke.
So now, I’ll tell you why I’m occasionally a bit strange.
I absolutely refuse to read a used book, and I haven’t read one since that incident in 1978. Even when I purchase new books, I never take the top one: that’s the browser copy and therefore it’s USED. Rather, I dig way down into the pile for a fresh copy, hoping hoping hoping it’s untouched by a who (or what) . . .