Monday, September 21, 2009

I Like to Find the Things I Find

Remember how I used to have a big office I never went to? Well, they got wise and now I have a smaller office I never go to. Today I went. I found something the previous tenant had left behind: a self-published book called ALLEGHENY MOUNTAIN. The copyright page says that it is "based on a previously published book called Allegheny Mountain," which is an attribution I believe I have never seen before. On the back of the book, where the tempting summary goes, there is a descriptive paragraph containing the line, "The world can be a big bad place and sometimes we are on our own." The long bio on the back flap describes the author, Mr. Hesselbein, as "a brave soldier and an honest and competent roofing contractor... Love came easily to his heart... Near the close of his life he is quietly proud of having lived a life of manly virtue." There is a chapter called "Savage Girlfriends." All of this makes me want to drop everything and read ALLEGHENY MOUNTAIN. May I tell you about something else I found? In the campus coffee shop there's a shelf where the library places free discards. The other day I saw a gigantically fat (but not particularly tall) book with the imposing title GUIDE TO PRODUCTION. When I opened it, there was a card inside, perhaps a bit larger than an ordinary business card. There's the black-and-white picture of a smiling man on the left side of the black-and-white card, a thin, clean-cut young white man with a modest pompadour, like if you looked in the dictionary under "1950s white guy" you would find this picture. The card is printed with the message "ALEXANDER JESSE For Arts & Science Representative EXPERIENCED & QUALIFIED." Two ampersands! I hope he got the job.