Is There?

I’m not asking about Life in Trump’s America, I’m asking about in your own, private, non-headline-news life. Because I have the least demanding life I know of (I, *cough* write for a living, at home with cats and plenty of tea, and I have zero kids so, really, I should have nothing to stress about ever) and still, I have to deal with bullshit on a daily basis.

One morning last week I stumbled into the kitchen at dawn for my wake-up cup of tea. While the water was heating up I checked my phone, which I usually leave on my desk in the den.  I discovered that someone had called and left a message the night before.

At 11:20 PM.

The message was from a woman I don’t know, calling about volunteering at the used book store that I manage out of the goodness of my heart for our local library.

I’m trying to be a better person these days. I’m trying to meditate and be compassionate and give people dignity (like it says in the book I’m reading) and to not assume everyone is an asshole whose purpose in life is to piss me off (like I do because I’m me). But who calls up a stranger at 11:20 PM to talk about becoming a volunteer bookseller?

An asshole, right?

So that pissed me off, and I hadn’t even heard the morning news about the latest Trump atrocity yet. And I hadn’t had my morning tea either. I don’t like to start the day like this, and it seems that I start a lot of days like this.

But I didn’t call this lady back and fill her in on how much I hate her, for two reasons: It takes too much effort, and I’m trying not to be a fight or flight kind of person who confronts every single instance of assholery in my life. I’m trying to send love from my heart to all those who annoy the crap out of me and thus become a more evolved and self-actualized person. Well, that’s what this meditation book promises. We’ll see.

But speaking of books, here’s this month’s most useless book that came in as a donation to the used book store that I manage for our local library here on the north shore of Long Island:

If you need a book in order to think of a name for your horse, maybe you aren’t smart enough to have a horse. I hear they are very intelligent animals and they require a lot of care. Naming a horse is the easiest part of having a horse.

It’s been a while since you’ve seen what a typical few days’ worth of book donations looks like. This is what I deal with every four or five days:

This pile of books was weirder than most because it contained some very specific tastes in reading. Such as:

Also, this:

Including this:

I don’t know. That seems like an awful lot of bookmarks for a book about polar bears.

In fact, all the bear books had little book marks stuck inside them, something I’ve only seen before in self-help books. Seems to me that these books about bears, mostly ones about polar bears, must have meant a lot to someone, obviously at some challenging phase in their life.

But no matter how lost you are, desperately grasping for meaning via polar bears, it would have been polite to remove those stickies before you made them my problem donated them to the library’s used book store.

Here’s a book that we in the used book store have absolutely no use for:

Not because sailboat racing rules are not a fascinating subject. It’s because, maybe as you can see in the photo, the book is, literally, filthy.

We can’t use this book (below) either (this time because the subject happens to be boring, sorry, Canada) but it had a killer cover and it made me happy, so I have to show it to you:

That’s enough of about books I can’t wait to throw out. Here’s the book about meditation that I hope will make me a better person:

This book comes highly recommended (by the Dali Lama, among others), and I’m determined to learn from it because in the near future I’m going to have a lot of free time on my hands and I can’t spend it being constantly pissed off. I need to find a way to have a spectacular Third Act, and I don’t want to read a lot of books about polar bears to find out how. I hope this one book will do it.

At this week’s board meeting of the Friends of the Library I turned in my notice. I’m closing the book store for the ChrisHanuKwanSolstice/New Year’s holiday on December 21, but I’m not coming back in January. I quit.

And it feels FANTASTIC.

In other news, our old cat, Lickety, is still with us, bless his darling little heart. I don’t know how he does it, since his cancer has made him skin and bones, but he is enjoying left over Thanksgiving turkey and, now and then, a sunbath in the back yard:
It’s hard for me, now,  to remember him as the cat he’d been for the 12 years before cancer:

Lickety is on my lap as I type this:

As weak and cancer-ridden as he is, Lickety is still as gentle and loving as he was when he was  fat and healthy . I think there is definitely something deep and meaningful about his life, and we could all learn from him.

But then, we all know that cats are deep and meaningful creatures:

Here are some more life thoughts to get you through the day”


Have a great weekend, everyone. And if telling us about an recent incident of bullshittery in your life helps you get the ball rolling on a joyful TGIF, please feel free to share in the Comments.

Here’s you political righteousness for the day:












I miss Obama more every single damn day.


9 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan

    Oh Vivian you do brighten my day. Love the thoughts for the week ahead they made me laugh mostly, not always with humour… I am still stuck on “too peopley” that’s why I have cats. Congratulations on the new phase of your life, hope you don’t miss the library too much, you have had some good times there even though some of the people you have encountered have made it difficult. God bless Lickety, there is an inspiration for us all. Glad there is still some sun to be had and green grass. Everything on this continent has turned to brown and ash, how I envy the green grass. Luckily our Clive loves the temperature as ‘hot as Hades’, at least he is in luck.

  2. Kirra

    Thank you for sharing your bullshit of the week Vivian, mine was full of a bit too at work but later in the week I got to avoid the offending people and had better days.

    Also thanks for sharing the hilariously hopeless donations to your library, I’m sure they’re much more annoying in real life. Congratulations on resigning from the used book store!! You’ve really done a great job over the years and now it’s definitely someone else’s turn to get the 11.20pm phone message (I agree, seriously what an asshole).

    Dear Lickety looks happy in the grass and on your lap, what a cat. Good luck with the meditation, I’ve tried but am undisciplined about it at the moment, will try and get back into it. I’m trying not to get angry at people as I know it’s probably not good for my health, it’s hard though. Thanks for making me laugh at the end of your post!

  3. Adrienne

    Congratulations on retiring from the bookstore! (ps not that it’s important but I am sure some child used those polar bear books to write a research report)

  4. Thea

    The Rock has been with us a few days now, but in a universal mockery of all that is holy both John and I are stricken with awful, Awful AWFUL colds. The list of places for The Rock throbs on top of the delivery envelope, THROBS. Lots of places, and we’re up for all the fun. MONDAY. Expect to be up, bouncy and out Monday. And, by gosh, The Rock’s coming with us. (in case anyone worried The Rock was just gone, vanished once it reached SoCal. No, it’s here, and awaiting release. MONDAY.)

  5. Wow! Big changes! I’ll miss your reports of the bizarre and useless books people donate. As for the bookmarks in the bear books, I’m thinking some kid had a report to do on polar bears. Just a guess. (We get a lot of books returned to our school library with notes stuck in them like that — and like you, I always wonder why the borrower couldn’t have removed all those notes before dumping the book in the return bin.)

    Lickety looks like he’s still enjoying his life, which is the main thing.

  6. There’s a whole lot to be happy about in this post. Number one, Lickety. He looks so sweet and content and I’m glad he’s hanging in and enjoying his time. That’s the best.

    And glad you are letting go of the bookstore. It sounded super extremely stressful and we don’t need more stress, none of us, in these days. When it gives you more irritation than smiles, then it’s time to say goodbye. You can walk away knowing it made for some wonderful inspiration for your book art and gave your readers a few grins! And that’s good.

    Thanks for the weekly dose of Donnies. I’m not sure where you find them all but I’m glad you do!

  7. Kate

    I’ll miss your bookstore tales but can sure understand how good it must feel to let go of that responsibility!

    Just don’t stop blogging, eh? Especially now that you’ll have all this extra time on your hands.


  8. Sending hugs to Lickity.
    Oh the signs, every one of them, just make me smile and laugh. Thanks for the humor in these insane times. Oh for Obama!
    Good luck leaving the book store for the last time, but what will you share with us if you don’t have the book inspirations?

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