I’m in Wal-Mart, in the middle of the night, as I often am, when I shop, due to my weird sleep schedule. It’s also easier and faster to shop in the middle of the night because there are no lines. But there are lots of stock-people. I wanted some bookends of the heavy-object variety, rather than the thin metal ones that slide under the books. I had already seen those in the office supply aisle.
I stopped one of those stock-guys to ask, “Do you have bookends?”
“Book-ins?” he says.
Yes a gathering of people in libraries all night with the doors locked. “No, bookENDS.”
“I don’t know what them are,” he answered, with abject honesty, and not a hint of shame.
I squelched the eye rolling that almost made its way onto my countenance. “I’m looking for the kind that are usually heavy objects that you put on either side of a row of books to keep them from falling over.”
“Oh…” He summoned another stocker moving up the aisle. “Hey, do you know if we have them thangs that hold up books? Called bookends?”
Contemplation, the scratching of the chin, then wandering to the office supply aisle.
Sure enough, he had found them. The ones I already knew about. Time for a promotion. “You don’t have the heavy kind that just brace the ends?”
“These ain’t heavy, but they’ll brace ‘em.”
The other stocker was thrilled with his new discovery. “Bookends. Hmmm.”
I mean, obviously I can’t fault him for not knowing what bookends are, when he doesn’t own any books.
Need I launch a tirade in favor of educational opportunities in America?
I’m thinking, hey, don’t quit this job.