My favorite client and I went to BAM. BAM is Books A Million and it replaced Borders here in Maine. I’ll quickly sum up why he’s my favorite kid by telling you he wanted to listen to Pink Flloyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on the way there. The whole album. And he got annoyed when I talked to him during it.
I wanted to show him a book I thought he’d like and I also wanted to use the outing as a chance to practice one of his goals: improving interactions with the opposite sex. I haven’t seen any signs that he actually needs help with this and the fact that he plays the guitar tells me he’s going to be fine. We enter the store and he politely asks a female employee where the book is, finds it, and reads the back. He tells me it doesn’t look good and truth be told, it is a pretty lousy book. He continues to score points as he politely puts me down. Goddammit, I respect you.
I notice something in the corner of the store and we go take a look. It’s a big stand of sorts, and I see that it’s some sort of printing press. We find out that it’s this machine that makes books for you. You bring in a word file with your book, poem, or whatever and they covert it into a nice looking, bounded novel. We both got excited. He writes himself, and I’ve heard some of it. I’d describe the experience as scary slam-poetry. I, on the other hand, wondered if this would be the publisher I needed for my coffee-table book on hot tubs.
The girl working the stand, blonde and in her twenties, talked with two girls as we waited to ask questions about the machine and what it had to offer. I overheard excited banter about Jane Eyre between the three. I morphed into stupid teacher-mode, as I sometimes do, like when I see someone reading on the T in Boston. It’s an arrogant type of thing where I giddily want to chime in, especially if I’ve read the book and have something to say about it. I’d imagine it’s the same annoying type of thing that happens when a Red Sox fan sees someone on vacation wearing a Red Sox hat.
One of the girls was converting a downloaded version of Jane Eyre into one of these personalized books. I have no idea why she’d do this when she could just buy the book as it is, so of course, I started my judging process. After 3 minutes, my kid had reached his waiting limit, and chimed in with: “Who’s Jane Eyre?”
And this is where my inner asshole decided to come to the rescue.
“It’s a book. You’ll probably read it high school,” I say. “It’s Jane Austen and hopefully you don’t have to read it.”
I then turn to the girl working the printing press, who not seconds before said how much she loved Jane Eyre.
“How can you like Jane Eyre?! It was a nice combination of charming and sassy.
The girl, ever so politely turned and said, “It’s not Jane Austen. It’s Charlotte Bronte.”
My soul left my body immediately.
So much wrong with that.
Judgmental : Who even cares what people like to read? Yes, I kind of think everybody who likes Jane Austen is a lesbian cat-lover but I shouldn’t care!
Stupidity: It’s not even Jane Austen.
Hypocritical. I’m trying to teach the kid how to interact with THE OPPOSITE SEX so I decide I’ll insult a woman’s taste and not even be accurate about it.
So what I’m trying to say is don’t give advice and then be an asshole. I was in the hot tub for a lot of time this past week so I think I’m just adjusting to dry land. Either way, I’m owning up to it. But I don’t go to church for penance like some Catholics and do seven Our Fathers. I do 3 replays of Mr. Feeny’s “Do Good” speech.