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Books for Reading

June 17, 2015

I pine for literature.

Luckily, I walked with morning shift today. We covered 28 miles and switched with evening shift at around 2:00pm. After a trip to the market for dinner supplies, we arrived at an RV park in Vernal, Utah close to 4:00pm.

The park had a pool, and some of the female walkers decided to swim a little in the free hours we had to relax before preparing dinner. I wanted to read, but did not have a book, so I decided to look for one.

I got the address of a bookstore a mile or so away, put my shoes back on, and set out. Unfortunately, “Gale’s Bookstore” was actually “Gale’s LDS Bookstore and Religious Gifts Store.” Even more unfortunately, I was not looking for Mormon texts or supplies this particular afternoon.

A quick call to my sister back home, and I had the address of two more bookstores in Vernal. A little farther away, but still within walking distance for a Crossroader, the hope of a success to redeem the recent disappointment urged me onward.

I found a second bookstore downtown, but a “closed” sign hung in the window. Peering into the darker store, it became evident that the store had been closed for some extended time, not just for the evening–perhaps for renovations.

Another walk brought me to the third bookseller in Vernal. An old sign promising literature swung above what is now a Cross-fit gym.

Three strikes and Vernal’s out.

With so many bookstores going out of business, I decided to walk down Mainstreet, half hoping to see some giant new Bibliophilic Emporium that has monopolized the industry and where everyday, “the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo.” I walked a long way–a very long way because I was frustrated and did not want to wander for two hours only to turn around one block too soon–but found no such engine of enlightenment.

Trudging back to the RV park, defeated and depressed, I spied a pawn shop and, in desperation, decided to see if they sold any books. In the window, a sign advertised: “DVD’s, 10 for $10!” This gave me hope that the shops also might carry books. The store sign preached a closing time of 6:30pm and I got there at 6:28. I almost walked away, but then marched in. At this point, I was not about to pass up the chance to buy a book even if I only had two minutes to pick it out. Sometimes that is how one discovers the best books anyway. I walked in, snooped around the DVDs and Blue-Rays, but saw no books.

“Looking for anything in particular, sir?” Asked a clerk.

“Yeah,” I nodded, “Do you have any books?”

“Books?” He looked confused, “You mean like for reading?”

“Yeah.”

“No, I am sorry I do not carry any of those.”

Walking out of the store, the irony of the encounter set in and I found myself wishing that I had the singular sangfroid and lightning wit of a certain famous round-head kid.

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Alas, if I only had ten more seconds to think up a zinger!

I am sure the bookstore incident says something about society, but I will leave that to others to figure out.

– Richard

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