A ponder about the addiction of books

Telly, my trusty canine companion, and I, having completed our morning chores, retired to the house for a second cup of coffee and a rawhide chewy.

Having settled comfortably into my recliner and Telly nestled comfortably on his big comfy bed, it was a perfect time for our morning ponder.

Sometimes it’s a discussion, but since Telly was paying more attention to his chewy than to me, I just relaxed and let my mind wander around prospective topics for today’s think. I settled on books, since there are a pile of them next to my chair.

Books have been my friends since I was a small child. Long ago in the pre-video age they transported me to far-off places and introduced me to people I would have never seen in the local JJ Newberry’s.

They were the time machines that could take me anywhere. I could learn about dinosaurs, I chopped on the cherry tree with little Georgie Washington, split rails with a young Abe Lincoln and helped Alexander Bell develop the telephone.

I still have many of my childhood book friends living on the shelves in the living room. Therein lies the main problem with books — they are addictive. Deep inside almost every human being lies the instinct to hoard. We evolved from a long line of hunter-gatherers and as such, we still have the desire to gather or collect things.

Some collections are more obvious than others. If I started to collect old school buses, it wouldn’t be long before the neighbors started to complain. Two or three hundred cats will draw attention from the Humane Society. If you never throw anything away and the garbage builds up two or three feet high throughout the house, you probably will be spending years in therapy.

Collecting books is more sociably acceptable. The more books you have, the smarter people seem to think you are. They don’t have a bad odor and are easy to hide.

I have boxes of them in the cellar and more boxes in the garage. There is a wall of them in the living room and a book shelf or two in almost every other room in the house.

I realize they need weeding out. The problem is what to do with them. Magazines are easy. I have no problem recycling them. Books are harder. If I’ve read it and enjoyed it, I don’t want to get rid of it because I might want to read it again. I have friends I give books to that I’ve enjoyed, but they always give them back after they have read them. They don’t want to deal with them either.

Another thing that factors in to the whole book problem is money. It’s not hard to blow twenty bucks on a book, making the disposal of said object that much harder. Who wants to drop a twenty into the recycling bin?

Sometimes a church or library will ask for donations of books for a book sale, then I load up a truck or two and can dispose of them with a happy heart. They’re going to a good home and are helping raise money for a good cause and I have decreased the surplus population from our book shelves. The only problem is when I deliver them, I start looking at the donations from other overcrowded bookshelves and there’s a couple by a favorite author that I haven’t read. There’s a cookbook that the Queen would enjoy; the one on backyard ponds might be interesting. The Christmas crafts one could be handy, and the 1919 math textbook would be fun to browse.

In the end, I brought in two boxes of books, and I leave with three boxes.

Addiction is a terrible thing.

Thought for the week — I’ve reached the age where “Happy Hour” is a nap.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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