Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Book ‘Em

Well, we all made it back to work after the weekend that marks the unofficial start to summer. We celebrated with 55 degree weather, the Danica Patrick 500 Indy 500, lobster ravioli from Trader Joes (I swear to you when I saw it in the freezer section, I heard angels sing for the first time. And I mean real angels, not the ones in Anaheim or the ones from those crappy Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercials) and of course a BBQ. Ok, you got me. The BBQ was actually a fire in the fireplace to keep the house warm, but there were flames and I got to go all goo-goo while watching them flicker. I also got to spend some time in a book store, which got me thinking. In my defense though, I only mentioned to my friends three times that I was going to have to blog about it. Ever notice how often we say that phrase? I just spilled lemonade on my shorts, I gotta blog about it. Thanks to a fortunate twist of rigor mortis, the dead possum in the middle of the road looks like it’s flipping me off. I gotta blog about it. I just saw a program on TV about cheese. I gotta blog about it. I woke up today with the greatest idea for a blog post, ever. I gotta blog about it. Wait, that one kinda makes sense…

So like I said, I found myself in a bookstore over the holiday weekend. I don’t know if everyone who likes to write and has ever dreamed of publishing a book feels this way, but I’m always amazed at the variety in a bookstore. Though I guess that’s the natural thought progression to being amazed as a kid by the variety at Baskin Robbins. 31 different flavors? Do you know how long it would take me to sample that many different varieties of ice cream if I could only have one flavor a day? It would take like a month. Hmmm, that’s not as impressive a stat as I was hoping it would be, unless…it was a month like February. Yeah! Then it would take me a month and a couple of days!

I always get the same feeling when I am in a bookstore. Actually, I guess I always get two feelings, but one of them is an urge. Yes, I seem to always want to bust spontaneously into a song and dance number. I assume that’s because it’s so quiet in a bookstore and I seem to have issues with the status quo. So, pardon me if you are ever in the same bookstore as I am and your reading a book instead of buying it browsing is interrupted by me dancing through the store loudly singing John Menllencamp’s ‘Authority Song.’ The other feeling is the one I meant to write about. I always look at the ginormous selection of books on every topic known to man and some that weren’t previously known to man (or woman or child, sorry) and think ‘who honestly reads this stuff?’ That thought is followed shortly thereafter by ‘if I bought a cup of coffee in the bookstore’s coffee shop and promptly spilled it all over a large paperback book, would I be liable? After all, by selling coffee in the bookstore, they are saying it’s ok to parade around inventory consisting of basically nothing but paper products with a hot and stainable liquid.’ I also find myself thinking ‘not only do I wonder who reads this stuff, who writes it? And better yet, who gets paid to write it and why didn’t I think of that?’ Those last questions there are more to the point. The spilling of hot liquid, while valid, doesn’t really have anything to do with this post.

If you have ever suffered from writer’s block, take a trip to your local mega-chain bookstore to get over it. It will most certainly inspire you to write about whatever you want. I saw books about road trips based solely on great food joints, books about the hamburger and books containing nothing but surfboard photographs. By the way, I now have the utmost admiration for the original surfers. Their boards were featured in the surfboard book and the tips of the earliest boards were essentially the same pointy-ness as a knife used to cut open the secret ingredient on Iron Chef America. You could grab one of those boards and easily surf and harpoon a large sea dwelling mammal at the same time. I guess it would be called Surpooning?

All of this brings me to an idea. Don’t worry though; this idea will be much better than my idea for combining lawn darts and the Slip and Slide (Darts and Slide – trademark TBD. It was inspired by Dan Akroyd’s character who sold Bag O’Glass and Johnny Switchblade on SNL). I had sensory and creative overload after my most recent trip to the bookstore and started reeling off dozens of book ideas. Though the one I had for a coffee table picture book featuring time-lapsed photography of me shaving my face with a dull electric razor did not qualify as a real idea, according to family and friends. Nor did my idea for a book that could only be read under black ultraviolet light called ‘The Big Book Of Almost Invisible Stains.’

And need I really tell you that I thought the ‘Yearbook of Potato Chips – Portraitures in Similarites, Class of 2008’ would be the biggest fad since ‘Where’s Waldo?’ It was going to be a fake yearbook containing people’s yearbook-style photos of their potato chips that look like Jesus, Elvis, Richard Nixon, etc. I was really ready to move forward with this one, until I went through 5 bags of different types of chips (including those fakers – Sun Chips) Memorial Day Monday and did not find a single look-alike. I did find one chip that looked exactly like another chip in the same bag, but since neither chip looked like someone famous, I don’t think the unique twin factor is as impressive.

After that spectacular failure and consuming 30,000 calories in chips that looked like no one, not even President Millard Fillmore, I have decided I want to write a book about all of the books in the bookstore. It’s similar to other ideas people have had, but if I pretend not to be aware of those ideas, it holds me unaccountable, right? The book can be my written tour of what’s actually in a bookstore, including the popular, the mundane, the obscure, the best-sellers and yes, the bargain table. Or, I could just live inside of the bookstore and be sustained by only things in the bookstore (including the coffee shop) for 2 straight weeks. Picture Morgan Spurlock’s McDonalds stunt combined with Les Stroud’s Survivor Man on The Discovery Channel. I’ll just work my way through each and every aisle, chronicling what I find and the books I skim. It would be an avid reader’s idea of heaven. I was going to go with the working title of ‘Book Whore in the Book Store,’ but I fear my mom would be very embarrassed when she finally sees my name in print and it’s next to the word ‘whore.’

So, if any of you know of a bookstore that is willing to let me live there (rent free) for 2 straight weeks, please send them my way. Although, I guess I should find a publisher first. How ironic would it be to write an entire book about bookstores and living in and off of one and then not be able to get it published or sold in a bookstore? Actually, when I stop to think about it, that sad eventuality kind of sums up my life. Wow, that’s depressing…

19 comments:

Eva said...

Awesome and funny post subject, Mike! :D

When I'm in a quiet place, this is what I always feel like doing: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=NHAwZyIqbfg

And also, don't dis the Sun Chips, man. French Onion is the shizznit.

Sunshine said...

I'll watch the TV show with you living in the bookstore...let me know when you're on air!!

Michele said...

Trader Joes has lobster ravioli?

Excuse me, I have to go shopping....

Michele said...

Okay, Book Whore in the Bookstore is an awesome title!

Sorry to hear your potato chip book won't work out,I bet that would sell too. :)

I do like your new idea, and think you should pursue it. Sounds like it would be fun, even if you can't find a publisher. :)

How about a book on the different cheeses of the world?

Selma said...

I'm just honoured to be in the presence of someone who has heard the angels sing and who wants to live in a bookstore. With the housing crisis at boiling point it might be a way to rehouse a lot of people. I'd like a bed next to the section on Tanks of World War Two or the history of the Glee Club.

Patti said...

But the sweet irony of writing a book about living in a bookstore and not being able to get it published is worth the endeavor.

And at least you could get a blog post or two out of the experience.
:-D

Go for it, Michael.

Odat said...

I like the Pototo Chip Yearbook idea...you could expand to peanuts...and pretzel lookalikes....dress them up even, in cheese!!! or humus!!
Peace

Mel Heth said...

If you do write a book on cheese, can you leave out the maggot variety, please?

I get the same "who writes this stuff" feeling at Barnes & Noble. There HAS to be a way we can make it on the shelves there.

Whatever you do end up writing and publishing (because you WILL), I'll totally read it.

meleah rebeccah said...

'Book Whore in the Bookstore' ROCKS for a title.

(I too wish to dance and sing or at least create NOISE inside of a bookstore. I cant with silence.)

I wish there was a Trader Joe's by my house. Damn it.

On a limb with Claudia said...

Um... I think you're looking for a library. Our library is so large that people can easily live there an no one would know.

I hate it when you bring up Trader Joes - they refuse and repel Colorado. Doesn't that suck?

Amy said...

Oh how I miss Trader Joe's...hubby and I are hitting the store this weekend on our excursion away for the Anniversary.

I thought of you and your love of cheese this morning when I saw this book in our local paper. 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheeses of the World'...thought you'd enjoy this for a good summer reading!

Amy said...

hee-hee...guess that does sound a bit not nice...sorry about that...you're not an idiot! ;)Actually, when I saw that it was all about cheese I thought of your love for it!

It really is a book...I promise. ;)

Carrie said...

I think that too when I'm browsing Chapters - Canada's version of Barns & Noble - and I'm lost in SO.MANY.BOOKS. I mean, who reads/writes these things, thinking that they WON'T end up in the bargin bin?

ANyway, I'm still wondering who this angel was that you heard singing...

Sounds like your Mem day was like our Victoria day... except 55 degrees was WARM for us.

Valerie said...

I smiled when I thought of you singing the Authority Song in a bookstore. That seems like a fun song to sing randomly where people are trying to concentrate.

magickat said...

At work yesterday a co-worker showed me this rock. He said "look it has a face in it" (it didn't) and then continued "and the face looks just like my friend, gary".

He would buy your potato chip yeabook.

I, however, would buy ‘The Big Book Of Almost Invisible Stains.’ Because that just sounds like so many hours of fun and discovery!

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