The Paperback Paradox

July 28th, 2021

“I don’t get it. Why do you have a book and I don’t?”

That is a question I receive in infinite configurations and with consistent frequency. I’m going to share a secret with you and it isn’t a pretty one, and it comes in the form of a story that I’m kind of pathethic in.

It’s gonna be super fun, I swear. Put on a pair of comfy pajama pants and come laugh at me — er, with me.

I lost someone’s credit card the other night.

I have never done that in my entire restaurant career, at least not permanently. I’ve dropped them or misplaced them, but this one flew straight into the Bermuda Triangle.

Initially, there was fair concern. The disappearance happened within a traceable ten-foot radius. At an early point, the people around me genuinely cared, and I had at least half a dozen staff helping me to locate the card. No one did. Then, like normal people do, they moved on. In fact, the person whose credit card I lost moved on, couldn’t have been kinder about it, and said they would just cancel it, no problem.

Everyone moved on.

Everyone but me.

For the rest of my shift, I had one eye on my tasks, and one eye searching for what I had lost. After we locked the doors, I did a full sweep under every location in the bar, confirming it never fell to the floor. I rubbed my hands against every elevated surface and — improbably, impossibly — a wall in the bottle well moved. The card had lodged itself in a crack between the metal pieces. The card was — improbably, impossibly — found.

And this is why I have a book and why some people, who have better ideas and better words than I do, do not.

I have an aptitude for obsession. And when that defect of mine finds a character or a story, I can’t let it go. Long after everyone has stopped caring and gone home, I’m still here, doors locked, working at it. Improbably. Impossibly.

I find the card.

I make the story real.

The first thing I tell someone who wants to write a book is that they have to write. The second thing, the thing I just described, I can’t teach — and wouldn’t wish upon any other human being in the world.

Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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