I know it’s been quite some time since my last post (17 days by my count), and I know you have all been biting your nails in anxiety over the thought that some tragedy may have befallen me, but fret not: I do, in fact, still exist. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why I’ve been so quiet lately, although I think I may have been nursing a Shore hangover. I’ll address my radio silence in a subsequent post, however; that’s not what I’m writing about today.
This weekend, I kidnapped my overworked girlfriend (take a breath while you contemplate the thought that there exists a woman who willfully dates me) and took her to Saratoga Springs for a brief getaway. I chose ‘Toga because it’s far enough from the city so that you know you’re actually gone, but close enough that the journey isn’t tedious. I also happened to live there for a summer (another story for another time, cats and kittens), so I know the town. All other things being equal, it seemed a good destination.
After breakfasts (not a typo; we literally ate breakfast twice) on Saturday morning, we took a walk through downtown Saratoga. Our first stop was at Borders, which may seem an odd choice for shopping on a vacation outing, unless you know that: this particular Borders was having a liquidation sale; I’m a broke-ass writer; and we’re both huge book geeks. To express this idea even more simply, I’ve developed a simple analogy:
closing Borders:Dan::porn star holding a crack vial:Charlie Sheen
“I like cheap books” I guess would be the main thesis of what I’m trying to convey to you here. So, into Borders we went, rubbing our palms together at the prospect of weighty, discounted volumes. Upon crossing the foyer and opening the second set of doors into the store proper, I stopped dead in my tracks at this sight:
No, not the dude in the North Face. Look in the lower right corner. Those are stacks of the
instant classic worthy read kindling known as America By Heart, by Sarah Palin. If you look in the foreground, you can see the store has been fairly well picked over. You wouldn’t come in here expecting to find a particular book, you’re really just fishing for bargains. If you’re especially keen of eye, you may even notice that the price of this particular paperweight has been reduced from $25 to an astonishing $1.99. That’s a 92% discount! Taking into account the sub-$2 price, and the extent to which the rest of the inventory had been plundered, this little display table says a lot about public opinion about the world’s most famous hockey mom. In a store that had sold just about everything, this garbage can fire waiting to happen book endures. I soon discovered that wasn’t the end of it, however. Copies containing pages and pages of undoubtedly lofty prose still inhabited the store not only in the entrance, but also here by the registers:
And here, in the middle of the sales floor:
And here, in the biography/politics section:
When I took this last pic, a fellow browser chuckled and said “You’ll take a picture, but you won’t buy it, huh?” I remarked that I was simply amazed they still had what seemed like 500 copies in stock, to which he responded, “You could give it to me for free and I wouldn’t take that book.” I know what I won’t be getting that guy for Christmas. This wasn’t the end of the ubiquity of unsold Palins; I just got tired of taking pictures of all of them. There were dozens more scattered among shelves and on display tables. Some end caps were dominated by row upon row of that glistening conservative visage. Their were copies everywhere, it seemed, except for where Borders was hoping they would go: in customers’ hands and out the door. Alas, despite the author’s fondest wishes, the book just would not “sell, baby, sell!”
I know the question on everyone’s minds right now: “Dan, did you buy one or not?”
Let me put your minds at ease: I did not…but it was a near thing. I debated whether to buy a copy the entire time I was browsing, on the basis that at that price I was getting enough value to at least see what kind of
ideas opinions drunken, childish hallucinations the Palinator mustered the brain cells to put into print. I even planned out my whole speech to the clerk. I intended to loudly proclaim, “I’m buying this book, but I want to be clear that I don’t actually want it. I’m only buying it because at less than two dollars, the price is low enough to withstand the torture of reading a book written by someone who is so painfully stupid that she is convinced she can see across a sea from her home. I repeat, I do not want this book.”
In the end, however, I decided that even at 92% off, I was still paying about $3 too much for a book that I would just wind up throwing against a wall within 20 minutes of cracking the spine. I imagined it being something like an Ann Coulter book, minus about 70 IQ points. I had visions of my friends finding me face down on my bedroom floor betwixt an empty bottle of Ambien and a copy of “America By Heart,” by Sarah Palin. Then, I briefly brainstormed alternative uses if I were to buy more than one copy, like heating my apartment or building a doghouse. Again, I just couldn’t subject my dog to that. Sorry, Sarah, no sale here.
Opportunity did not completely pass me by, though. I took the liberty of using a nearby book to create an artistic statement encapsulating the general feeling of the patrons of the Saratoga Springs Borders:
I think I got my point across.