If you ask me this question – the one in the title, you will see me hesitate and most likely make some kind of an excuse as to why I cannot let it out of my sight. Either that, or I’ll act as though I didn’t hear you at all. This is nothing personal, and it’s not that I don’t trust you with part of my beloved collection of books, it’s just that…okay, I don’t trust you with part of my beloved collection of books. It’s taken me years to accumulate the amount of books that I have. Taking any amount of those away from me is sort of like when you take a cub away from its momma grizzly bear; it’s just not good, and someone will inevitably lose a limb. I’m just sayin’. People don’t like to give things back. They say, “Oh, I’ll read it later – I have plenty of time.” No, you don’t. When you decide to hold one of my books captive, I start to hunt you down. Normally I’m pretty polite, and I don’t have the guts to say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings, but if you over-extend the allotted time that I expect it to take a human being to read a novel (based on the amount of pages, of course), I become frantic. When you ask to borrow something, that means that you’re going to give it back. I would rethink lending you anything if you truthfully said, “Oh, hey. Can I pretend to borrow this but really I’m just going to hang onto it until you forget about it and hopefully let me keep it?” NO, FOOL! Is this a joke? I paid good money for that pile of pages in your hand, and whether I’ve actually read it yet or not, we have a history together.
I must confess that my friend, Jackie, loaned me Gone with the Wind when we were in the fifth grade, and it’s still sitting on my shelf. She will end up with a spanking new copy of that book on her doorstep one of these days, but until then, I’m a hypocrite, and it’s become a running joke between us. I love you, Jackie! With that being said, I don’t intend to give her back a copy that I’ve beaten the crap out of for eleven years, with its pages torn and spine broken. Therefore, I do not expect a copy like that given back to me. If my books are damaged, it’s because I accidentally did it myself. You, however, are not allowed to damage them.
What REALLY gets me going is when I give someone a book to read, and once they’re finished, they give it to someone else without even asking! Goodness gracious.
If you sincerely want to snag something from my bookshelf, please be kind. If you respect the pages, they will respect you, as will I. When people aren’t passionate about literature, they just don’t get it, and if you plan to keep it for a year and ruin its crisp corners, go to the library, instead, where they charge you fines for that sort of thing.
That is all.
p.s. My brother and sister-in-law looked dashing at prom tonight!