I fucking loathe people who dog-ear the pages of books. I cringe when I see creased book spines. Waterlogged books, their pages bloated and swollen, send me into a fury. I want to shout at these book abusers: “What’s wrong with you fucking animals! Ever hear of a bookmark!?” Instead, I silently hope for a safe, anvil or large piano to fall on the person’s head. To date, this has not happened. (But I believe it will one day. I’m like 99.9% sure of it.)
Every day, everywhere, books are being abused. Their pages are folded, their spines cracked, their covers stained. They are mutilated and jammed into backpacks, often alongside harmful, sticky liquids, such as Peach Snapple or Mountain Dew; books are torn, ripped, scratched, even destroyed! And the final insult? These travesties are committed by so-called “book lovers.” Ha! Do dog lovers crease their pets’ spine, I ask? Do art lovers bend their Picassos?
Much like global warming, book abuse is a serious but largely ignored issue. Here are some facts. (No, I cannot back up any of them.)
- Every two seconds a page is dog-eared, causing a crease that cannot, even with a flat iron, be made smooth again.
- Every five seconds a book’s spine is cracked beyond repair.
- Every ten seconds a book is “accidentally” drowned in the bathtub.
- 1 out of every 500 divorces in the U.S. is filed after one of the spouses defaces the other’s books.
Why do people abuse books? For the same reason, I suppose, that people text and drive, smokers toss their cigarette butts on the ground, TV viewers watch the Kardashians: They’re jerks.
Something needs to be done. The time to sit idly by while books, some of them even well written, are ruined. (I’ve been known to throw out a book after it’s been defaced; better to put it out of its misery than have it sit looking all bent out of shape and warped in my bookcase.)
So how do we stop these book abusers? Capital punishment, for starters. Murder a book, we murder you. Fair is fair. This will be a long, drawn-out campaign, and there’s no guarantee we will prevail. But that shouldn’t stop us. In the meantime, books are falling by the thousands every day. So, until we start sending book abusers to the chair, there’s still something you can do to end book abuse: Buy a fucking bookmark! *
Together, we can end book abuse.
(*I am in no way affiliated with the Bookmark Sellers of America.)