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Staying Alive Costs Money

, , , , , , | Right | February 27, 2023

I got this nugget of wisdom from a client who was a spiritual self-help author.

Client: “I know you’re upset that we haven’t paid you yet for your work on the website, but take it from me: life isn’t all about money. If you had taken the time to absorb the message in the content, you’d see that and be more patient.”

These Books Are Sensored, Not Censored

, , , , , , | Working | February 23, 2023

I’m a school librarian. We’ve just gotten a new computer circulation system, and my library aide is learning the ropes. She comes to me, furious.

Aide: “Mr. [My Name], can you believe this? There’s an option here to ‘desensitize’ the books! This PC garbage is getting ridiculous. Now we have to worry that a book is too ‘sensitive’ and have the computer fix it?”

Me: “Um, ‘desensitize’ just means that if you have a security system in your library — which we don’t — the book can be removed without setting off the alarm.”

I wonder what she thought would happen if she clicked it — that all potentially offensive words would vanish from the printed page?

That’s One For The Books!

, , , , , , , | Working | February 23, 2023

When I was a middle schooler, I attended a Christian school. I loved books and didn’t have good social skills — thank you, undiagnosed autism — so I spent a lot of time in the school library, which had a few odd inclusions.

One of these inclusions was an adult novelization of the Biblical book of Daniel, which had been out of print for years. Age-inappropriate or not, I enjoyed it enough to ask for my own copy for Christmas several years later after being unable to find it anywhere else. My mother found a last-of-stock copy listed on Amazon, ordered it, and checked it off her to-do list.

When I unwrapped the book on Christmas morning, it was slightly damaged, but I didn’t think much of it. However, when I opened it, a piece of folded paper fell out of the front inside cover. I opened it up to find a handwritten letter from the seller, addressed to my mother.

I’ll summarize the contents of the letter. The copy my mother had ordered didn’t exist. It’d been sold some time ago, but Amazon hadn’t updated the listing. Instead of sending a message informing my mother of the error, the seller started scouring every bookstore and yard sale she could find looking for a copy. It had already been out of print for more than a decade, so this was no easy task. She was eventually able to find one, albeit one with a slightly damaged jacket — which she was apologetic about — and that was the one she sent to my mother to give to me.

I still have that book, and I still keep that letter folded just as it was inside the front cover. Sometimes I use it as a bookmark. And every once in a while, I’ll read it again when I need reassurance that there are still good people in this world who would rather search book bins and garage sale tables than let a stranger down.

[Cries In Editor]

, , , , | Right | February 17, 2023

I’ve just proofread a book for a client. Before we started going through the corrections, my client asked me if I had found any mistakes.

Me: “Honestly, there’s no page without errors. They’re mostly comma mistakes.”

Client: “Oh, my God! I don’t believe in comma rules! Who is anyone to tell me where to put commas?!” *Pauses for a moment* “Well, okay. Let’s start. But if I have the feeling that a comma is right, we leave it.”

Altogether, we spent thirty-two hours getting through 224 pages.

The Evil Demons And Killing Are Fine, But Watch Your Language!

, , , , , , | Right | February 13, 2023

Our little used bookstore is actually an offshoot of when we sold solely online; we still do! Our top crazy complaint came from a man who bought a used copy of a Stephen King book from us. He actually filled out the customer feedback.

Customer: “This book is FULL of profanity! You shouldn’t let the author use words like that!”

I had a lot of fun picturing me jumping on the phone and saying, “Hey, Steve, you’ve got to tone down your language, dude!”