My Visit to the Bookstore

Judge Bean

Senior Member
My Visit to the Bookstore

Browse the bookstore; suspended in the place in a sparking fog, coated in pogonip, barking mad, between the years 1979 and 1998, to confront the horrid array of bestsellers, which’d actually reviewed themselves already and were presented to us as of high worth and merit; public agreed, on the basis the books sold well; public consequently buys more of them—O prescient transaction.

They were full of visions of us all going to hell in a handbasket—popularizing science, politics, economics, and religion just to retell the End of the World—illustrated meteors unwrapping flipping lava hurtled 3D at the readerbuyer, mushroom clouts Everested over hapless spanbridges and skyscrapers, with little toy cars, playthings of the gods and kremlins, tumbling into the drink, The Coming Collapse of Everything We Hold Dear; How to Get Even and Blame Your Parents Before the End; etc…

Although these stories were only the most recent versions—the story of the End of the World being the single most repeated story in the history of something that has yet to happen and probably never will—there must be a good reason, I’m thinking, why it’s dragged out and retold by every generation, why everybody remembers it before it can happen, and why most of the literate folk carry on in spite of its huge omen.

We must have assumed that, whatever came about, for the most part humanity wouldn’t be left in the lurch; history looked planned; important people called the shots; a lot of people would probably die, a great many more would forever be miserable, and to a lucky few would fall the chance to pull the fat out of the fire and live high off the hog, or at least high above the ground in New York City—but it’d never really come to an end.

The current version of the End set the deadline as soon after 2000—by, say, 2005, the human race cashes it in—just after the storyteller has made his pile.

Some put the End sooner: The World Bible Society, of Nashville, Tennessee, published 88 Reasons The Rapture Will Be in 1988, and closed its offices in expectation of the Second Coming on September 13, 1988—guess again!

But the stuff people believe you wouldn’t believe it: there are books in this place professing that trees communicate in lowlevel waves, that the government has John F. Kennedy on lifesupport in a cave in Utah (where else, I wonder), that pricking the sole of your feet with Chinese needles can cure cancer—you name it.

When you feel like challenging the veracity of a timetraveler, take it easy: you’re not being asked to believe that reindeer can really fly—you should take a close look at what you do believe:

Though almost half of Americans, for instance, can’t locate Central America on the map, none would deny its existence; however, the existence of Atlantis, an entirely imaginary place like Shangri-La or California, is an issue of hot debate, and there’s a organization for those who converse in Klingon, a fictional lingo invented by television writers.

40% of Americans believe that there are intelligent beings on other planets—only 40%, mind you, in spite of the scientific propositions suggesting that there must be millions upon millions of inhabitable planets, at least inhabitable by Sagans, or beings with a digestive system that discharges their brains seasonally, like fallopian productions, that sort of thing—not exactly life as we know it, but what do we know?

10% have seen UFOs, a number which vaulted to 30 or 40% in the late 1990s—you know what UFOs are, the aircraft constantly spotted by an extraordinary number of lousy photographers—Unfocused Flying Objects—and the most poorly-photographed aircraft are believed to be on missions to hypnotize and kidnap thousands of unattractive, uneducated citizens who are sane but for their sojourn into mystical science.

25% believe in reincarnation—not just the revivification of the flesh, mind you, but the rebirth of every celebrity ever born who has been included in any encyclopedia—along with obscure persons who lived colorful and interesting lives due to their contact with great personages or pyramids.

Famous Romans and Egyptians kept coming back to life in places like Spokane, Washington, by means of taking the bodies of only those who believe that famous dead people are reborn right and left—gives me the creeps—then again, it’s not so scary when you realize that 40% of Americans have been in contact with the dead.

Even more unsettling, 80% believe in heaven and 70% in hell, and about two-thirds of those who believe in heaven also believe they’re going—the rest are obviously the ones who believe in heaven but not in hell: in other words, all who believe in hell believe others are going there.

All in all, it’s plain that a great many of us are so dissatisfied with the physical limits of life that they’ve created an entire supernatural universe, that can’t be proven but by individual testimonial, full of flitting spooks, hightech nightriders, disgruntled former angels, and intensified, unendurable, perpetual sensation.

Perhaps this is what happened to the 90% of the universe physicists can’t locate, such that even your most rational people believe in a great mass of unseen thrones and dominions—that’s the kind of stuff you believe is true—that the visible, real world is collapsing and the invisible church and government, full of fellowtravelers and strangebedfellows and bestsellingauthors, is secretly overtaking reality.

In light of this unseen empire, you know, any plain account of actual experience is rather modest—so I will show you this old visit of mine to the bookstore—walk with me in the aisles—something for everyone…