Friday, October 24, 2008
PEEKING AT BOOK TITLES
When somebody sits near us on a train or bus and is reading a book, why do we sneak a peek at the title?
I doubt we're counting on total strangers for help in selecting a book. I think we're seeking, for reasons inexplicable, penetrating insights into their private lives and innermost thoughts.
Hmmm … this plumpish woman sitting to my left … I deduce from the title of her novel that she's a middle child … probably a Libra … prone to crying jags during chick flicks …two miserable marriages … and a son who's in therapy three days a week and doesn't think it's enough.
This bearded guy sitting in front of me … he'll never finish that self-help book … high school dropout… went into his father's printing business … made a shambles of it … no wife, no girlfriend … no doubt lives with a scruffy cat that only stays with him to flaunt her feelings of superiority.
Sneaking furtive glances at other people's book titles is a conceit of jumbo proportions.
From a single feeble clue, we construct a complete character study in about 10 seconds. I think it's idiotic and reprehensible. And it's a shame that the bearded guy with the cat will never get his damn act together.
FORWARD THIS TO FRIENDS AND A POX WILL NOT BE VISITED UPON YOUR HOUSE.