Tuesday, November 22, 2005


This is one that has stuck in my mind for years.

I read about this lady who, once a year, would look through her closet. Any clothes she hadn’t worn in that year she’d throw out.


That concept is so foreign to me that just thinking about it makes me dizzy.

I bought a topcoat in 1952. I seldom wore it but everyone needs a topcoat. That was my topcoat. No closet should be without one. My brother kept it for me while I was overseas.

When I moved to Bangkok, I no longer needed a topcoat. I gave it to Goodwill. I had kept it for 52 years.

Some years ago when the postage rate was raised by two cents I happened to listen to an interview of the head postmaster of a large eastern city.

He was asked, in a somewhat jocular vein, if he had a large supply of two cent stamps on hand.

No, he said, he hadn’t thought of that. There was no follow-up question.

I once did volunteer work in the local library. (That is a great way to meet the women that you would never meet in a bar.)

Everything had become computerized. What a great tool for a library. Especially for a library.

They could see in an instant which books were popular and which weren’t.

So I asked them, “Do you check what books are never taken out and get rid of them?”

No, they said, they hadn’t thought of that. There was no follow-up question.

Here is the library of the future:

It will start out with absolutely no books.

All the books will be on the computer.

People can browse on a computer.

The shelves will be filled with dust jackets of books available. That is for people like me, who just like to browse up and down the aisles.

When a book is requested, it is printed out.

When a book is returned, it is put on the shelf.

The library thus becomes filled with books that people have requested.

This is a concept so simple and perfect that it will never be done.

(Don’t bug me about binding. I hate to micromanage.)


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