My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

This Paper Towel Doesn't Cry For Me Anymore

2004-10-13
On Monday, I reached a milestone: I finished book #50 for 2004. I may break last year’s record of 62, my highest number of books read in one year to date (I’ve been keeping track since 1989 like a dweeb). And, yes, I have two children. But, one of the bonuses of breastfeeding is all the time spent…….breastfeeding. I have nothing better to do, particularly with the dearth of good consistent television programming, but read during those sessions. #50 was “Bank Shot” by Donald Westlake, one of my favorite writers. Book #51 is “Mapp and Lucia” by E. F. Benson. It might take me awhile to finish this one. It’s good, ‘20’s drawing room humor of a type but its slow reading – there’s so much going on on every page, its almost exhausting to read. And, I’m on the waiting list at the library for Sue Grafton’s newest. Guess what number? 75. Yes, I am on a list with 74 other people waiting to read this book for free. The librarian assured me they have several copies and it’s a quick read so, perhaps by Xmas I’ll get my turn. I can wait. I love the library! Free books!

Dusty loves her some library as well. She is also Junior Bibliophile and confessed the other day that during her nap, she took every last one of her books from the bookshelf and put them on her bed. Why, I’m not sure. And the child has at least 100 books, if not more. But, she knows how to keep herself occupied in a parent-approved way. Dusty’s good people. Hope Red will be the same way in a few years.

It’s funny. My sister, Amblus (link on the right; I’m too lazy to figure out how to do it here), recently wrote about reading and I’ve been thinking about reading myself lately. Books and me go way back. Two good book memories for you: after The Divorce, my mom, sister, and I continued to eat our meals around the table in the kitchen but we all had a book propped in front of our faces, usually held up by the napkin box or another heavy item. It’s not that we didn’t talk, my family is incapable of not talking, but we didn’t always need to and we apparently all needed down time at the end of our stressful post-divorce days. Plus, we all loved to read so we did. I still have trouble eating without at least something to read – junk mail, the comics, ingredients list on the back of a cereal box……something. Even the tag I’ve just cut out of my shirt. Made in Jamaica. Really? How very interesting.

Memory, the second: my best friend in the whole world has always lived in a different town or state than I. For years growing up, that state was Michigan. Now, it’s California. We’d visit each other every summer as kids and for a couple of years, we visited the local library (my branch was only 3 blocks away). We’d each check out the maximum number of books (somewhere between 5 and 10), lug them home, read them all, and then switch stacks. Once we’d read every single book, we’d go back for more. One of our favorite writers then was Zilpha Keatley Snyder (which I may not be spelling right) who wrote a lot of ghost/fantasy books. Great stuff.


In yesterday’s mail, I received a survey (I do a lot of these marketing survey things because sometimes I get money – wow, a whole dollar!! – or free stuff like peanut butter and coffee), asking what I thought of the two free rolls of paper towels they recently sent me. Okay, now I don’t know about you, but paper towels are just paper towels. I expect very little from them and won’t pay more than a dollar for a roll. I don’t need colors or pictures or quilting on something I’m going to use once to clean up baby puke or spilled beer or a big glob of Elmer’s glue. Here are some of the actual statements I was asked to agree or not agree with:

1. This paper towel makes me feel confident.
2. This paper towel makes me feel personally fulfilled/satisfied.
3. This paper towel makes me feel good about myself.
4. This paper towel helps me feel that things come back to normal in my home after messes are made.
5. This paper towel helps me to provide a comfortable, loving environment for my family.
6. This paper towel is an indispensable household helper.

I’m still laughing. And, man, I sure needed the comedy after the day I had (funeral, crying infant, talk about Jesus and sin, long damn ass commute in unmoving traffic). I mean, come on! It’s a paper towel, not a psychiatrist, not a mood altering substance, not a life coach. I opened a beer, took a long sip, and answered “Neither agree nor disagree” to those and many other ridiculous statements. I didn’t even know where to begin. I did write a few personally fulfilling comments on the survey that left me very satisfied. My favorite one is, “My self esteem is not dependent on a paper towel.”

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3:33 p.m. ::
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