Library in my Pants
So, this morning when I looked at the paper, I saw a review for a book by a guy who lived in the same town as I did when I was growing up. And then I remembered this totally embarrassing thing I once did–or tried to do—that has to do with this guy.
I don't know why I am even telling you about this, except that a lot of times people think their favorite authors are totally perfect, and I wouldn't want anyone to think that about me. When you read this story—which is 100% true—I doubt anyone will think I ever think I'm perfect again. Not that there was ever much doubt in the first place.
Anyway, I was friends with this author's little sisters (I am omitting everyone's names from this but mine, to protect their anonymity). I used to hang at their house a lot.
One day I walked by the door to their older brother's room, and I was astonished to see that he had the largest collection of science fiction and fantasy books that I had ever laid eyes on. It had to have been the biggest collection in my entire TOWN. Bigger than the library's. Bigger than the BOOKSTORE'S. It was HUGE. His room was WALL TO WALL SCI-FI/FANTASY BOOKS (or at least, that's how I remember it).
The only problem was, when I asked the guy's sisters if I could borrow one of his books (he was away at college) his sisters said no. I wasn't even supposed to be in the guy's room in the first place. The girls explained to me that their brother was very private and didn't want people snooping through his stuff.
And I could relate to that. I mean, I didn't want anyone in MY room when I wasn't there.
But the books in this guy's room were too much for me to resist. I was a sci-fi/fantasy NUT, and I had read every single sci-fi/fantasy book in both my school AND county library, and my parents wouldn't buy me any, because they wanted us kids to learn to be responsible with our money. Basically, they were like, “If you want a book, save your allowance and buy it yourself.”
But my allowance was like FIFTY CENTS A WEEK. That was barely enough for a Marathon bar, let alone a book. Book—Marathon bar—book—Marathon bar…you can see my difficulty.
And here was this guy, with all of those books cramming the shelves of his room, totally going to waste with NO ONE to read them. I was SURE that someone with such good taste in books would WANT to share them with someone like me, someone who so fully appreciated his good taste. He would, I knew, be GLAD to loan one or two of them to me when he found out that I had seen Star Wars 47 times, I was writing the fanfiction prequel, it was about Ben Kenobi's spunky Jedi daughter, etc.
But every time I appealed to his sisters, they said the same thing. They seemed genuinely to care about honoring their brother's pleas for privacy.
“Please,” I'd beg. “Just one book. Just let me go in there to borrow ONE book. He won't mind my borrowing ONE book. Besides, he won't ever even KNOW.”
“No,” they'd say, sadly. Sad because I was a guest, and they wanted to accommodate my wishes. They were those kind of girls. “He would be upset if he found out.”
“How would he ever find out?” I wanted to know. “Unless one of you TOLD him.”
“Our parents would see you holding the book when you left,” they explained to me. “And they would know we let you go into his room and let you take one of his books.”
Then I came up with what is, perhaps, the finest plan I'd ever come up with in my life, then or since. Their parents would never know I'd borrowed one of their son's books because on my way out the door I would hide the book IN MY PANTS.
Yes! My pants! Have you ever heard of anything more brilliant? Of course not!
Okay, whatever. I was TEN. At ten, this seemed like a totally infallible scheme. No one EVER looks in a ten year old's pants. I could bring the book BACK in my pants, too. And then borrow another one. Like a library.
A LIBRARY IN MY PANTS.
I had really big pants back then, too, with elastic waistbands. I could have fit two or even three paperbacks in them, and no one would ever have known.
It was the best plan EVER.
But his sisters wouldn't go for it.
So I couldn't go through with it. Because of course while I would have smuggled this guy's books out of his room in my pants without HIS permission, I never would have dreamed of doing it without THEIRS. I mean, a girl's got to have SOME principles.
But his sisters shot my brilliant library-pants plan down. They seemed to find the idea of my putting their brother's books in my pants…well…weird.
Which, looking back, I guess it WAS weird. And dishonest (even though I was going to bring the books right back when I was done reading them, of course). Not to mention kind of…gross.
So, that's what I thought of this morning when I saw the review of this guy's new book in the paper. That at one time, I was going to start a lirbary of his books–not ones he wrote, but ones he owned–in my pants.
Looking back, I realize now that his sisters did exactly the right thing.
Still, I can't help thinking…he really never would have known.
Unless he read this blog, that is.