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September 12, 2019 2 Comments


My husband is far more organized than I am. I call it anal, but let’s just say Mark is organized. He is the one to say it’s time—time to go through the books and clear out the excess; time to get it done.

I’m inclined to put it off, but the books were starting to pile up. All the nooks and normally clear spots were so stuffed that I’d started making piles on the floor. They were nice piles—really colorful decorative stacks that added a lovely touch to the room, or so I thought.

In hopes of convincing Mark of my genius, I searched my design books for a picture to prove to him it was actually a stylish way to resolve the overcrowding problem. “See? It’s not a mess,” I said, displaying the image of a study in a Paris apartment with stacks of books everywhere. “It’s a decorative statement.” He didn’t buy it.

When I glanced at the books in search of something to discard, I saw my cookbooks. Absolutely not; they were staying. My art books no, nor my collection of poetry books, not all those great novels, and I won’t talk about my magazines; I’m slightly obsessed.

I have to admit I did notice some titles that were out of date: How to Use Word Perfect, Start Your Own Blog, Make Money in Real Estate in the 90s, and manuals for computers we didn’t own anymore. It was time; I couldn’t hold him off anymore; I had to concede.

By the time we started clearing, I was motivated. I emptied the shelves, made pile after pile of books to keep and books I was ready to pass on. I wiped the shelves down so they sparkled and I began to replace the books that were going to continue to live on my shelves. Everything was beginning to look organized and the giveaway boxes were filling up.

Yet, when I looked around at the mess we’d created, I felt like taking a break—a long break! There were books still scattered everywhere and the room was a mess—no elegant stacks.

“Wow, I just found a library book from when I was in high school!” yelled Mark from the other room.

I laughed. “And you thought I was the one that held on to stuff!”

When we finally finished, the books were back on the shelves with room to spare. The boxes were stacked in the car and we were getting ready to drop off our donation.

Mark climbed into the driver’s seat carrying a package wrapped in brown paper. “What’s that?” I asked.

“The library book. I’m sending it back to my high school.”

“You’re what? You’re really going to send it back? Don’t you think they’ve replaced it by now? It’s been over forty years!”

“I wrote them a note and included a check to cover fines.” 

“Are you kidding?”

“No,” he replied, as if it was what anyone would do.

A week later the high school librarian called. She wanted to thank him for returning the book and for the check, but, more urgent, she needed to notify him that he had gone viral!

“What?” he asked. “What does that mean?”

“We wrote a small article about your returning the book after more than forty years and that you included a generous check to cover fines. The story was picked up by local TV stations and then the AP (the Associated Press) picked it up and this morning,” she continued, “we realized your story had gone viral and you’re the number one trending story on the Internet! So we thought we’d better let you know.”

“What!” I exclaimed when he told me. Then I went online and started reading. The comments! So many comments, I spent hours in disbelief. People try to figure out what to do to go viral and Mark had done it without trying.

The comments ranged from how thoughtful he was, to what a candy ass, and everything in between but the best one was: “The book was a manual on how to masturbate and he was a slow learner!”

Honestly, the clean up was worth the laugh!!

What’s that expression? “You can’t make this stuff up.”


What about you?

Have you ever had an experience take on an unexpected life of its own? Was it funny or just surprising?

Let me know; we’d love to hear. 

Join the conversation.

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2 Responses

allan simon
allan simon

September 13, 2019

I also have the problem with books and book jackets, since iwas abook jacket designer for more
years than I will admit

Judy Taussik
Judy Taussik

September 13, 2019

OMG! Love this! 💕

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