All throughout my youth they were the staple. They settled every bet we ever had in our house. They answered every question. They were like a proverbial “magic 8 ball”, answering every question you ever asked of them. They were my trusty guides throughout every torturous report my 6 grade teacher put me through.
I remember once, I lost one. The set was incomplete. It was a dark day. No more could I learn about the history of Prussia, the definition of polyphonic was lost to me, no more could I muse on the paranormal. Without “P”, the world was less bright, and I felt the loss. Thank goodness that next year, my teacher mailed “P” back to me, and all was right again in the world.
I was one of those loud mouthed, know it all kids, and would often spout off to my family about how the clock worked, or that Ben Franklin was a great chess player, or that California’s constitution was the longest in the country. Whenever push came to shove, these books always held the definitive answer, the one even my parents would believe. Great was the day when they proved me right, dark was the day they showed my error.
I am a bookoholic. I just can’t throw them away. (I am the same way with blankets, but that will have to wait till another day) Throwing a book out or donating it to the thrift store almost physically hurts. I love the way they look on the shelf, I like to run my hands down their spines, I love their silent collection of such distinguished dust, they are, my precious.
So the other day, after deep prodding from my wife, I finally took a long, deep, hard look at my shelves, and realized “the books” had not been used in years. I could not blow off them, lest I give my entire family emphysema in one foul swoop, so thick was the dust. It was hard to come to grips, but even I had to realize, “the books” had to go.
I did not cry. I’m the type of guy that knows when it’s time, and I’m tough enough to take the pain. It hurt, of course, but times move on, and my daughters, very carefully took them to the back porch. They haven’t made it yet to the trash, I just can’t seem to bring myself to that final step yet, but it will come. The decision has been made.
Wikipedia, your resources are vast and you answer so quickly that I know you are superior. Internet, yes, you have pages and pages on every topic known to man, rife with opinion and interactive flash media with carefully chosen advertisements to suit my every whim.
You will never have the regal, refined beauty of my encyclopedias.