I am madly in love with my job. How it works, for all of you who have been wondering, which I'm sure is all of you, is trucks drop off a bunch of books from thrift stores and stuff all over the west, then they get dumped onto a couple of conveyor belts and the workers at stations on either side of them pick them up. CDs, DVDs, and video games get tossed into a special bin, magazines or obviously broken books get tossed and recycled, and VHS tapes and cassettes and pretty much anything else gets thrown in the garbage. If it's an actual book, we scan the barcode or enter the ISBN manually if it doesn't have one (and if it doesn't have an ISBN at all it gets put in another special bin); then the computer looks it up and determines if they'll be able to make a profit on it. If not, or if it's not in good enough condition, it gets tossed and recycled. If so it gets labeled as "Very Good", "Good", or "Acceptable", and set aside and either sold through Amazon or directly from the company; I don't know how they determine that.
Probably eighty to ninety percent of the books end up getting recycled, and they make money off that too, apparently a lot because I don't know how else they stay in business. Perhaps I should be sad about having to throw away so many books, but really, just seeing and handling all of them is enough to make me happy. I just don't take it personally - except when I want to. I definitely allowed myself some pleasure in tossing books like "Fifty Shades of Grey", "The Lie: Evolution", and "Intermediate Algebra". It did pain me somewhat to have to put a "Very Good" sticker on Hillary Clinton's autobiography. But what can you do? We all have to abandon our principles for money at one time or another. I've had to handle a lot of dirty books the last couple days. So many, in fact, that when I washed my hands afterward the water turned brown.
This week has marked a few anniversaries. First, of course, was the terrorist attack anniversary on the eleventh. I regret that I cannot pontificate on it with any feeling of sincerity because it has never resonated emotionally with me at all. I was eight, I was in the car on the way to a dentist appointment and I heard something on the radio about planes crashing into buildings, and I didn't care because I knew that terrible things happened throughout the world every day and as far as I knew this was just another of them. My parents later sat us down and explained what had happened and why it was a big deal, but it was the first time I had ever heard of the World Trade Center, so it was still difficult to feel the impact, and I still don't. It's little more ingrained into my life than the Kennedy assassination. I've said before, though, and I'll say again, that the terrorists won. Fifteen years later we're a lot less free but no safer.
The fourteenth was my own year anniversary of meeting Debbie, which I know not because I'm a creeper but because I found the sacrament program announcing the activity where we met, which was supposed to be a beach thing but due to weather was changed to a screening of "The Cokeville Miracle", which made me cry until I couldn't breathe. After that she saw me leaving on foot and made me cram into her car with four other guys. Some time later she made me get into her car again, though she was alone this time, and I didn't remember her at all from the first time, but when a pretty girl tells me to get into her car I don't ask questions. The sixteenth was the three year anniversary of meeting the most interesting girl I've ever met, one who made me start thinking that maybe vampires are real. That story is recounted here.
Errata: Last week I said that there may be "one or two Canadians" reading this, and that was somewhat rude of me to overlook the person in Ireland who visits with some regularity. At least I assume it's just one person. Maybe it's Enya or Liam Neeson.