Today a student told me that he’d ordered a copy of The Grapes of Wrath to read for my class, but the wrong book had been delivered. Turns out that some yahoo published a book with the same name as the Steinbeck classic. Maybe he thought he could get some sales through accidental purchases by students looking for school supplies.
There are clues that this is not the book you’re looking for. For example, it was published just a few months ago. Notice that people get the wrong book so often that Amazon suggests bundling this with another Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men.
But the reviews are priceless! Angry people feeling ripped off, confused people searching for meaning, and at least one reviewer who posted five-star praise about Steinbeck, for some reason.
I went through my bookshelves last week and cleared out a lot of clutter. One book had this coupon stuck in it as a bookmark. I found it and was excited to get a free frosty. But I guess I had forgotten about this book and hadn’t picked it up in a while. As you can see from the dates at the bottom, the coupon expired eleven years ago :(
The syndicated New York Times crossword today is from July 4 (hence the theme, if you see it), but what really struck me was this odd bit of synchronicity: what are the odds that the crossword and one of the cartoons next to it would both use the word “sauté?”
My mistake at 37 across is because the clue “Country singer Tillis” initially made me think of 90s star Pam, she of “Maybe It Was Memphis.” But this made the answers going through it wrong, so I had to look it up. Turns out her father, Mel, was also a country singer. So I learned something today!
Only at the very end, when I was selling my dumpy old Kia after 12 years of use and abuse, did I come up with that pun–that I should have called that car Kia-stine. Old school Stephen King fans will get the joke.
Speaking of jokes, when I was selling it, I put up the following ad on Craigslist–I just messed around with it because I didn’t think anyone would really want it. The ad got a lot of positive feedback: one person texted and said, “I don’t want to buy the car, but great ad!” After some yahoos jerked us around about it, though, so I just ended up giving the car to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Anyway, preserved now for all eternity, is the Craigslist ad:
“2004 Kia Optima LX In Truly Awful Condition”
Listen, folks, I’m not gonna lie here. This car is falling apart. It actually used to be a great car, and was for many years, but I ran it into the ground with minimal maintenance. I’m asking for only half of the “fair” listing in KBB.
PROS: It always starts and runs. Never a problem there.
Battery and tires are strong with plenty of life left in them.
Has never exploded, caught on fire, divided by zero, committed a felony, or watched an Adam Sandler movie.
Radio gets some good stations to help distract you from all the cons.
In relationships, never give up on people. Stick it out, make it work.
In reading…just the opposite. A book should always be a perfect ten. If your connection to a book ever cools off, feel free to kick it to the curb and find another one. Plenty of fish in the sea, plenty of books in the library. Life is short and you deserve the best.
Just don’t get these two ideas confused. Your life will be fun for others to watch, but frustrating for you.
EXTRA (adjective): describes any act as having been done with any degree of quality or style at all, as opposed to rock bottom apathy.
*student does a project to the bare minimum expectations, with a minor flicker of creative investment*
Other student: What?! Why do you have to be so extra?
In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a character calls a short young woman he doesn’t like a “dwarf.” One enterprising summer school student, doing a creative writing review of the play, took this quite literally.
Nevada’s flagship newspaper has three minor stories at the top of its web site this morning. They all involve violent death, but those things don’t really matter as much as the main story…our real estate bubble is inflating again, guys! Sweet!
My local newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had a couple of droll headlines of the “No kidding!” variety this morning:
I should hope the police have some questions when they find a dead body!
Actually, if you live here, you know that this is hardly news at all; it’s “dog bites man” stuff. A more interesting headline would be the opposite: “No dead bodies found in desert yesterday.”
The humor in the other headline is even darker.
Every time I proctor the SAT, I laugh at this little redundancy in the script we use.
Meta mash-up idea: Henry David Thoreau’s 19th century classic of transcendentalist philosophy, Walden, BUT one random day while he’s meditating in his peaceful forest cabin, he finds an elevator that goes past a bunch of monster cages, and sees a control room with a red button…
Based on many exchanges with feisty unbelievers, this seems about right.
Well, Mr. Huston certainly thinks so.