One of our regulars came in looking for a book, but oh, darn the scrap of paper he had written the title on had gotten left at home. Do we not have days like this? Grocery list left on the kitchen table, only hitting all the red lights after missing your off-ramp, running late-grab shirt-grrr, button missing, do car keys drop onto nice bare pavement…no, into muddy street runoff. Etc. We at the bookstore live to loosen the tangle, restore the groove, and maybe even deliver the goods! So…the forgotten note is my happy opportunity! He ponders a moment, then confidently claims: the title is “The Death of Democracy” by Chris Hayes. Well, as it turns out…not. Surprised, he remembers Liberalism being involved. Death of Liberalism? Nope. Democracy and Liberalism, Liberal Democracy,…no and no. Chris Hayes? Well, there’s a Chris Hayes Macromedia Study Guide, and a Chris Hayes with Green Bay Packer inspirational stories. No dice. Shifting scale, we consult the planetary scanning capabilities of Google, and still nothing.
In addition to the universe sometimes having a contrary flow, this is the other impediment we face…the fallibility of memory. It’s so comforting to feel we remember accurately, but police line-ups and scientific research have so often proved this to be sweet self-deception, as we at the bookstore regularly witness. We do not give up. The strategy now is to abandon title, and author. Where did you hear of this, I ask. On NPR, he says. Well, bingo! Do you remember the day of the program. Friday, he says confidently. Of course not Friday. Nor Thursday, nor Wednesday. He says definitely not Saturday, but maybe Sunday. Ah memory. Of course not Sunday. I try the denied Saturday. There it is, big as life. Death of the Liberal Class, by Chris Hedges. Oh so yummy, memory outwitted, harmony restored. All is well in the world. Or at least here at the bookstore.