Thursday, September 3, 2015

Donald Trump and Me

All my life I've been telling myself that one day – one day – I would share the front-page news with Donald Trump. Well, my friends, that day has arrived.

Yes, that's the nice thing about living in an out-of-the-way place. There's a pretty low bar for making the news. As you can see, I even made it above the fold. (Well, partially.) Which underscores something that seems rather quaint by today's standards: where I live, if you want to know what's going on, you have to get a print newspaper subscription. Crazy!

The article is in Q&A format. Even if you read this blog only on rare occasions, most of it will be no news to you. It gets my workplace wrong (I work at a university, not a junior college), but that only serves to keep my real-life persona shrouded in shadows of disinformation, much like Batman.

I offer the article mainly as a curiosity, because I feel fairly certain that this is the first time a magazine like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and (possibly) the Hugo award have made the news in my region.

Now, the last time I wrote about my art show, I pontificated in a faintly self-congratulatory manner on the fact that there is no bookstore within a couple hundred miles of Del Rio. Here you can see that I was not entirely correct, as there was in fact a book sale at the "mall" (ahem) that Saturday. I happened upon it while we were at said mall for the tax-free weekend mentioned on Page 1. (Because, for us, Del Rio is the Big City. I mean, they even have a Starbucks and a Chick-fil-A now.)

Whilst perusing the wares, I ran into the reporter who wrote the article posted here. He told me he had read "The Scale-Tree" and enjoyed it. So there: I gained a reader for BCS in the middle Rio Grande border region.

Also whilst perusing the wares I suffered a small indignity. One of the book-sale ladies, seeing me there with my kids, kept pushing children's books on me. She went so far as to hand my kids book after book (all crummy picture books) and try to convince them to buy them. She kept hovering by us and wouldn't take no for an answer.

Finally, trying to be as civil as I could, I told her that, if I wanted to buy my kids books, I was capable of making the selections myself (with their input, of course), and also that I intended to wait for my wife, who was elsewhere at the time.

Not to be put off, she offered to take the books she'd handed us and keep them at the table, "if," she said, "you're really coming back, and not just saying that."

"No thanks," I said. "We'll get them later if we want them."

"If you just don't have the money," she said, "I'll pay for them myself." (They cost a quarter apiece.)

Through gritted teeth: "No. Thank you."

So I guess I come across as a deadbeat who lies to book-sale ladies, keeps his little waifs starved of books, and probably beats his dog every weekend. In reality, my kids have two bookcases filled to capacity, and I have three large bookcases filled to capacity, plus an antique secretary full of books, plus a shelf of art books in my studio, plus two large bookcases full of math books and great books in my office, plus several boxes of books in a closet, plus a bunch more under my bed. So I'm just kind of selective about what makes the cut. (I also don't have a dog, though I do have a pretty brown hen who comes into the house, flaps up to my shoulder, and clucks tenderly to me.)

But I guess it serves me right after my back-patting. Here's these ladies, working as volunteers, and by that simple act probably doing more for literacy in the region than I ever could. So here's to you, book-sale ladies. We're all in this together!

(For the record, we ended up buying two Laura Ingalls Wilder books, The Sign of the Beaver, Julie of the Wolves, a compact Modern Library edition of Pascal's Pensées and Provincial Letters, and a large book of botanical illustrations, all hardcover. Somehow this ended up costing exactly $4.00.)


  1. I miss buying up armfuls of cheap books. Not enough room and the luminous Mrs. V. is very much against anymore double and triple stacking. Oh, and she very much loves the painting.

    1. Well I hope you thank her for me, and giver her my best wishes. I sold the picture at this show; I'd had inquiries about it before, but people were always put off by the small size (2.5" x 3.5").

      As to book-buying, the number of books I own seems to be proportional to the number of years I've been buying them, but unfortunately my shelf space is not, so I think we are on a similar collision course...