Self: When you choose a book to read at Logos on your work day, do NOT choose one that is a guaranteed tear-jerker!
I was wandering around the store shortly after I got there today, looking for my book to read. I had chosen a book -- I don't remember the title now -- but then went into the back room, where they store the books that haven't been priced yet, or are waiting for room on the shelves to move out into the store part of the store.
I saw a book that I naturally had to read. It was called "The Compassion of Animals: True Stories of Animal Courage and Kindness." If the title alone weren't enough to get me, the cover definitely was.
This book wasn't just a tear jerker, it was a tear jerker with every story, on nearly every page. Dogs, cats, horses, pigs, an affectionate iguana, even a cow all acting heroically, lovingly.
They saved lives, encouraged the discouraged, chased the bad guys, pulled people out of icy waters and burning buildings.
They saved babies, saved strangers, helped the disabled, did things that were seemingly unheard of in the days when we were taught that only human beings could think, could reason, could use tools, could make compassionate decisions.
I loved it.
But I fought tears for 200 pages. With customers in the store. I made so many trips to the back room to get tissues and surreptitiously wipe away tears. But of course the problem with that is that I don't just cry beautiful tears, like Meryll Streep. Once tears well up in my eyes, my skin gets blotchy, my nose gets red and it doesn't go away soon. It's there for hours. I tried not to make eye contact with any customers. I have been told by my mother my whole life "Don't CRY! You always look TERRIBLE when you cry." But the book was so readable that I couldn't put it down even though I realized early on that I was making a huge mistake by reading it in public.
Fortunately, either nobody noticed, or nobody was rude enough to make a comment.
It was kind of a weird day at the store. It had been deadly dull for Peter in the morning. I had more customers so overall it wasn't a bad day, but there were noteworthy things. For one, I had requests for "Johnny Got His Gun," "The Ugly American" and "Fahrenheit 451" -- all books I read in college and that nobody has heard of these days. Just strange that they should all come up on the same day.
And then there was the short, round, balding middle aged guy who wandered around the store for quite a long while, until the other customers had left. Then he came up and asked me, in a quiet voice if I had a certain book. It was not one I had heard of before so I asked the author and genre. He only knew the author's first name, so I looked it up on Google and got the author's last name. He also said it would be a fiction book. I told him I had never heard of it, but showed him where he was likely to find it. He looked around for a bit and said we didn't have it and I suggested that he try the other bookstore down the street, which had new books, not used books.
After he left, I got curious about his book and looked it up on Amazon. I was curious because the name of the book sounded more like something Danielle Steele would have written, rather than the truck / history / war books that most men of his age and appearance usually buy in Logos.
Wellllll....turns out this is hard core erotica, which includes, in part During the period of his life that he describes here, he futtered his way from London to the Himalayas, coupling with two women at once, as an hors d'oeuvre, then taking his pleasure from gorgeous trios and beautiful quartets until his magnum opus—an extended orgy with a dozen female participants.
No wonder he couldn't find it; Logos doesn't have an erotica section...and it would never have occurred to me that this might be an erotic novel, though maybe he was throwing out clues that I was too naive to catch.
I wonder if my customer found a copy of the book at the other book store. Somehow I doubt it. I don't think they have an erotica section either. But it did, briefly, spice up my life imagining him sitting in his living room reading this book!