Yay! It's here!
Or, it was here! But it's gone already.
Being, as I am, a shallow follower of trendy internet-based fads -- often as not, rather sparkly sissy girly internet fads -- I recently ordered a copy of Wreck This Journal</i> by Keri Smith. I thank, or blame, my pal Q. Q. Kachoo (yes, that's her real name!) for introducing me to yet another time-wasting, frivolous pursuit; because after all, why be productive when you can goof around and accomplish nothing? I mean, just imagine what the world might have been like if aspiring artist Adolf H. had been distracted by testing different colours of ink in his journal rather than getting arrested for rabble-rousing in beer halls? The whole concept of that book he wrote might have veered in a totally different direction.
Anyway, this book arrived via Amazon -- the online retailer, not the river in Egypt... no, that's not right. Hmmm... Well, whatever, it showed up in a box today. It was kind of smaller than I expected. The book, I mean. The box was about the right size for such a small book. I guess I would have been less surprised had I looked at the dimensions of the book on the mail order site more closely. Or, at all. It's, like, about 5-1/2 inches by 8 inches. You can convert those dimensions to centimeters by multiplying by 2.54. You might want to use a calculator. Or if you're particularly clever, you can estimate. Most kids aren't very good at estimating, I've noticed. It's my job to teach them to do that. What's weird is, they don't even get the concept. I tell 'em, "it's a lot like guessing; you know, close enough?"You'd think kids would be all about the "he said we can guess" stuff, but by the time they reach age nine or ten, it's been so ingrained in them that they must get "the right answer" and that they should never "guess," that it's almost impossible to teach them to estimate.
For those of you who need a refresher: 2.54 is about two and a half. If the book is 8 inches tall, times that by two. No, you do NOT need a calculator for that one! If you had a calculator, you wouldn't have to estimate at all, now, would you? Jeepers, get with the program! 'Kay den, two times eight is sixteen. Now you have to add the "half" part. No, not sixtenn and a half. Half of eight -- oh, shoots, now we have to know fractions! See, this estimating thing is a lot harder than you'd think! Really, it's no wonder the kids don't get it.
I don't think adults get it, either. Like those people in congress and the senate. Do they have any stinking clue as to how much a billion is? All those zeros do not mean... zero. They mean a really really REALLY big number! So ten-billion is TEN TIMES a really really big number. And a hundred-billion is TEN TIMES as much as that! You can't count that high. I can't count that high. NOBODY can count that high! So, nobody should be willy-nilly spending that much money as though it were just a bunch of zeros.
Half of eight is four. I'll save you the work. We had sixteen. We add four. Eight inches, then, is about twenty centimeters. See? Nothin' to it. But, uh, I'll let you figure out the 5-1/2 inches on your own, because, well, that involves multiplying fractions by fractions, and, like... yeah. Calculator. Screw this estimating crap.
The book is about half the size of a sheet of typing paper. Or printer paper, I guess it's called now. That would be "letter size" in the U.S. In other countries, they use the letter A followed by a number to indicate page sizes. I don't know what "half the size of a sheet of typing paper" corresponds to in A notation.
The only reason the size of Wreck This Journal is significant, other than perhaps whether I can see the type without my reading glasses, is that the size and weight affect the cost of mailing it. Now, the book just got here this afternoon, so why would I be mailing it? Didn't those Amazon people (I wonder, the people who work at Amazon -- are they either really tall girls, or some kind of pygmies? Do you think there's anyone named "Diana Prince" working at Amazon? If there were, that would be kind of funny. I worked with a girl named Diana Prince once, but we weren't working for Amazon.) just mail it to me?
Yes. The book arrived today. I looked at the front. It has this neat sort of textury finish on the part of the front cover that looks like strapping tape. I thought at first it was masking tape, but to me it looks more like that clear tape with the fibers in it, for "extra-strength" applications. It's not really tape, though. I tried to peel it off, but it's just printed on there. Clever, that textury tape-like finish. It feels like tape, even though it's not. That must have cost the publisher something. A cost which, I'm sure, was passed along to the consumer. I'm just glad I wasn't buying the book in Canada. In the past, it made sense, sort of, for Canadian prices to be higher, because the Canadian dollar was only worth about sixty American cents. Today, however, the currencies are at approximate parity. ["Parity," in this case means "equal value," as opposed to being a small, sharp kitchen knife of the type used for peeling carrots; or, the celebration of a birthday." -- L. S.] That makes the book quite expensive in Canada. I wonder, do Canadians make more money than Americans? Unequal pay for equal work? Could I find a higher paying job were I to move to Canada? Are prices higher for everything in Canada, or just for books? Well, books and greeting cards? Factoring in the higher cost of printed matter, and possibly other expenses, would a move to Canada, assuming higher wages, result in a net economic gain or a loss?
After admiring the tape, I turned the book over, expecting to find a brief biography of the author. Of course, in my eager anticipation preceding the arrival of Wreck This Journal, I couldn't help but seek biographical information about the author via the internet. I was not disappointed in my search; yes, I found photos, and yes, she's kind of young and kind of hawt, as one might expect of a woman named Keri. Keri is not an elderly, frowzy, dumpy sort of name, now, is it? I mean, you must admit, when you hear the name "Keri," spelled with an "i," you're not picturing, like, Gertrude Stein, now, are you? Could Gertrude Stein have a successful literary career today? It seems to me that the publishing industry is more about marketing than anything else. Romance novelists have little video clips on various web sites, with warm lighting and the wind ruffling their hair, just like the heroines on the covers of their sordid little paperback novels. Can you imagine late-night TV talk show hosts ogling Gertrude's display of cleavage through the scoop neck of her form-fitting mini-dress? Yeah. And like, after that, you'd care about that rose thing? At least when Gertrude hit sixty, she didn't have to worry about whether her name still fit. How do you keep your literary career afloat at age sixty or seventy if your name is Keri? Maybe the objective is to be really successful at an early age, and be totally retired and living on investment income by age 37. I like that plan, actually. Sadly, even were I to have a cute name ending with an "i," I don't have the other assets required for literary success. As in, contrary to the quips from pundits of yore, I don't have a "face" for (modern) journalism.
I turned the book over, and rather than finding an author bio, I read this terse command: TAPE THIS JOURNAL CLOSED. MAIL IT TO YOURSELF.
So that's what I did; 'cuz, like, Hawt Chick who takes charge, says exactly what she wants -- who'm I to argue? I used masking tape for the taping bit, because I didn't have any of that fiber-reinforced strapping tape. It cost me $3.38 to mail it First Class with Delivery Confirmation. I used Edgar Allen Poe stamps. I bought, like, a bunch of them back when they came out, because they were cool, and because I was going to use them on letters to friends. Yes, I have a few friends. Of course, they all live far, far away, and most of them have never met me in person. That's how we stay friends. Sometimes we even exchange real letters. That's why I bought the stamps. Of course, that was before postage rates went up. Being, as I am, me, I misplaced the stamps, and only recently rediscovered them. Now they're a few cents shy of what it costs to mail a First Class Letter. This book, however, is both larger (whether you're measuring in inches or centimeters) and heavier than a First Class letter, so it took more than one stamp to send it to myself. Indeed, with the inclusion of Delivery Confirmation, it required eight stamps, plus an additional two-cent stamp, which I had to purchase at the post office. If you're observant, you'll notice that there are only five stamps affixed to the book in the photograph. I under-estimated the postage. I took extra stamps with me to the post office, because -- ha ha! -- I cleverly estimated that I had underestimated the number of stamps required!
Now the book is on its way... back to me. I didn't so much as even peek inside it yet. I have no idea what other arcane (and expensive) propositions for adventure and excitement those carboard(ish) covers might hold! I can scarcely wait to get my copy of Wreck This Journal in the mail... again... and dive between those covers with Keri!