Monday, June 18, 2012


Our public library, one of several dozen branches of Houston Public Library, this one about 1½ blocks from Our House, is a beautiful place. From outside, the Nike-swoosh-shaped roof is more graceful than a roof should be, and is nonetheless impervious in a climate in which it never snows. Inside, the library is light in a way few contained spaces are light: there are few pleasures exceeding that of sitting in a comfortable chair by an outside wall (they're all glass), direct or indirect sunlight streaming in (depending on which wall you choose and what time of day), reading... well, whatever pleases you. Ah, bliss!

Today Stella and I made a hasty trip, more a functional run than a pleasure outing, to that library, near closing time. While Stella collected the on-hold books she had reserved online, I returned one of the library's two books by Richard Dawkins (not including his signature popular work, The Selfish Gene... never fear, the library has dozens by Tim LaHaye) and browsed through the sale books. Those books were donated to the library but were in one way or another unsuited to inclusion in the collection... most were popular fiction, novels of which the library system doubtless has dozens of copies already.

One book attracted my attention by the fact that its title included "Darwin". I pulled it from the shelf, only to discover that its title was "Fighting Darwinism" with some equally ridiculous subtitle. Stella happened to be nearby, so I showed it to her and asked, "Is it worth $2 to me to have the privilege of destroying this book?" No, we agreed, $2 should be better spent. A middle-aged African-American lady with the shortest hair I've ever seen was browsing nearby, and said, "I noticed the book you were looking at; I think I'm going to buy it... it might be useful sometime." Realizing that I was being poked at in jest, I replied, "For a window prop?" Fortunately she was good-natured enough not to be offended. But she did indeed buy the book.

So I went to the library today and contributed to the ignorance of the community. At least I feel no need to apologize to any deity for what I did, and after all, the lady did get what she wanted...

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