Essays

Bookstore Prophecies

I worked at a bookstore for about a year and after being there for about 6 months, I decided to start a blog called the Bookstore Prophecies. So here it is. It’s quite long (as it spans about 6 months), but I think you’ll find it at least somewhat entertaining.

The Bookstore Prophecies

March 18, 2003 10:30 PM – For those of you who don’t know me, I work in a bookstore. You wouldn’t believe the number of interesting things that happen at a book store. Well, interesting to me in any case because my brain wanders during work. I am also the head of magazines at this book store. So here is my story from the bookstore. The Bookstore Prophecies.

March 22, 2003 6:12 PM – Being the head of magazines basically means that I’m Better Homes and Gardens’ bitch. I have at least 40 titles by them, and that’s probably an understatement. Every month I get three new publications that say “Display until June 1st… and if you even think about taking it down before then, I’ll put out a special interests publication on your ass.” You have to read the fine print to catch all that, but it’s there. They have a Bathrooms magazine, a Kitchens magazine, a Kitchen/Bathrooms magazine, a Kitchen/Bathroom Makeover magazine, and a Women and Faith magazine. Beats me how the last one fits, but it exists. But don’t worry, kids, I won’t take this abuse. The war on Better Homes and Gardens is just beginning.

March 24, 2003 11:47 PM – So today a co-worker and I were talking, as we often do, about nudie magazines (which by the way, I’m supposed to refer to as “Sophisticates,” although they’re traditionally called PORN), and he stumbled upon an interesting conclusion. Here are his exact words: “You know how you sometimes find a Playboy or Penthouse tucked inside a Scientific American or a Smithsonian? Well, car magazines are like a nudie magazine already tucked inside another magazine.” Excellent observation I thought.

March 25, 2003 10:41 PM – It always cracks me up when magazines like Maxim or Playgirl have big slogans on the front that say “The Sex Issue.” When you have nude (or practically nude) people, is there really anything different about “The Sex Issue.” There was also a Playboy special that said “Big, bold, and NUDE!” Really? Nude girls in Playboy?

March 30, 2003 7:08 PM – So a guy came in to the store today with his wife and kid wearing a Red Wings jersey. So I figured “I’m a Blackhawks fan, I’ll give him crap for his jersey.” However, I soon discovered that he was holding a Playboy in his hand, and he turned to his wife and said “I’m going to go buy this.” He went and came back and said that he looked at it and that the cover model is so hot. I really wanted to walk up to him and say “You asshole. Not only are you making your wife feel like shit, but you’re setting a great precedence for your kid too.” But I didn’t. The wife sulked and looked at a couple Parenting magazines. Frickin Red Wings fans.

April 1, 2003 7:16 PM – It occurred to me today that magazine companies are kind of like college professors, in that they think that they are your main concern. For example, when I get a Martha Stewart special, there is a note on the package that says “Display in every other pocket at cash registers, and face out in section.” “But Martha, I have other magazines that need attention too.” “I don’t care. Just do it!” “Yes mam.” Once again smacked around by an interior decorating company.

April 6, 2003 1:04 PM – There are some book titles out there right now that struck me as being pretty ridiculous:

“Deja Dead”

“April Fool’s Dead”

“The Runaway Duke” – with the caption “He could run away from everything… except love”

April 7, 2003 11:10 PM – I am so damn sick of people who cannot put their magazines away. I just don’t understand. What is so difficult about sliding a magazine back into its appropriate place which is, I might add, the exact place you grabbed it from. Now I can understand there are exceptions, like if you’re wife goes into labor while at the newstand, and the apocalypse appears to have begun, and you want to say a last few prayers to notify the Lord you’re on his side, then I can understand why you’d set down your Paintball magazine in House and Home. Otherwise there’s no excuse for you to take a stack of every hairstyling magazine in the store and then leave it in disarray in front of the computer magazines. Makes no sense. If you’re reading this, and you’re a person who does that, go to hell.

April 9, 2003 1:11 PM – I realize that my last entry was a little angry, I apologize. But I’ve had a couple more relaxing days at work, and a couple more trivial, meaningless observations with which to share and calm my coffee-jacked nerves. One thing I always notice is that every issue of every magazine ever is a special issue. Every damn one of them. Every issue is the “Annual catalog issue” of the “Jumbo May Issue” or the “Extra special, thick, celebrity issue” or the “Couples issue” or as I mentioned before, the ever popular “Sex Issue.” Just once I’d like to see a big bright slogan on one of these magazines saying “Nothing Special about this one,” or “Amazingly normal issue,” or “Don’t bother with this one.”

April 13, 2003 3:02 PM – So my co-wroker, the usual one that I quote, had a great idea today, that I think we may go into business together on. To help explain, you got magazines like Playgirl that are supposed to be appealing to women. However, I think I’ve only ever seen one woman buy Playgirl. Mostly it’s just men that buy them. Why? Because the male body is not very pleasing to the eye. In fact, it’s quite disgusting. Even to women who are attracted to men. So the idea my esteemed co-worker came up with was to make a magazine with pictures of men doing things around the house or running errands without being told. I think that could really get women going, or at least a lot more than men standing around nude.

April 15, 2003 12:59 PM – Old people with nothing to do are crazy. For example, we open at ten o’clock. There was an old couple waiting outside our store at about ten to ten. The clocks in our store are a little behind, like 4 minutes. The second their watches read ten they started yelling through the gate “Are you ever going to open?” In that monstrous four minutes that they waited, they also took the effort to call the time lady, you know the one that tells you the time, and by God it was 10:02. We had wasted two minutes of their lives. Finally, when we opened the gate at 10:04, they stormed into the store to get the diet book they were looking for, and guess who they asked. Me. I went to find it and it took me a second to see it, wherein the male said “You need to know your books better.” Although my brain then screamed “Fuck off,” my mouth said “Have a nice day.” Who urgently needs a diet book at precisely 10:00am on a Monday morning? So I think I’m going to propose to my manager that we electrify the gate. We might get sued, but it would sure be fun.

April 20, 2003 7:21 PM – There’s this older guy who comes into the store almost everyday, grabs a USA Today and an Investment Banker’s Journal (or a Wall Street Journal), then sits in various chairs around the store all day and reads. He also has a different hat almost everyday, and here’s what I’ve derived about his life from his various hats. A lot of people at the store believe his name to Ebeneezer, or at least they call him that. However, he was actually born James G. Roscoe back in 1923 in a small farming town outside of Des Moines. He served in the Navy during World War II and found himself in the Northern Pacific Ocean until well into the 1950’s. After the war was over, he spent some time in Russia where he found the air to be invigorating. He met a woman there named Natasha, naturally, whom he loved very much. They decided to get married and move back to the states for reasons he would not reveal, but mentioned something about “red bastards.” It was about two years into their utopian union that Elmer’s Glue started a contest where with 700 proofs of purchase, you could win an original Lionel train set. With 15 you could win a hat. One morning, James woke up and Nasha (as was his pet name for her) was gone, as well as 685 of his Elmer’s Glue proofs of purchase, and, of course, his heart. Despite all this, he still felt the call of the road. So he decided to get involved in Nascar, where he drove the Tide® car. He was quite successful at this for a time, but he lost his heart in the Kremlin, so he retired to a nice place in West Michigan, where he put some duct tape on his old war boots, and decided to visit the local bookstore for the newspaper, without ever actually purchasing a paper. There’s probably more to his story, but I felt like he could have talked my ear off all afternoon, and I was sitting down on the clock for that half hour. Well, three hours.

April 22, 2003 8:59 PM – I’ll tell you something I’ve learned about women. In fact, the only thing I’ve learned about women. And I’m not even sure if I’ve got it right. Anyway. You need to let them just be in control and do their thing. Let’s put it in an analogy. Let’s say, a basketball game. In this case, the woman is obviously Allen Iverson, and the man is Dkembe Mutumbo, or in my case Todd MacCulloch. You have to let Allen get the ball and let him do his thing and hope that eventually he will toss you an alley-oop. That is the absolute ideal. The woman could also pop it out to you for a three pointer, which is good, or maybe a 15 footer even. But you have to let them hang on to the ball. If you decide she’s hogging the ball too much, and you start to leave, she will pass it to you instantly and it will deck you in the head. However, if you try and just take the ball from her, she’s going to get mad and demand to be traded to the Knicks. Women hog the ball, oh boy do they ever, and they take for ever to find that you’re completely unguarded, and the majority of the time they end up taking the shot, leaving you as being completely unneeded. However, they can dribble quite well, and they can pass quite well when they decide to, but let’s face it, they are the star of this team. One day one of them will realize I’m wide open for three.

April 24, 2003 8:34 PM – Due to a recent request from a fellow employee, I have decided to systematically make fun of every employee at the store. So let’s see how many people I offend. Remember I’m a dumb ass, and making fun of people is a way of showing endearment for me. So I’ll start with one of my bosses. Every time he says hi, he doesn’t just say “Hi.” He instead opts for the traditional “Sup G?” or “Word up G?” What I love about this is that I’ve never been a “G” or a “Dog” in all my life, and when he greets me, suddenly I’m a “G.’ And I’ll tell you, it’s a warm and wonderful feeling to be a “G.”

April 28, 2003 10:52 PM – So I have a nickname at the store, which is funny because I’ve never had a nickname in my life. It all started when one of the managers, who makes more jokes about pornography than an Adam Sandler movie, called me “Dutch.” “Why Dutch?” I said. “Better than Camel Fucker,” he said. Dutch it is.

April 30, 2003 1:14 AM – Another interesting observation about magazines that I’ve noticed is that all the Men’s interest magazines have gorgeous women wearing almost no clothing on the cover. Women’s interest magazines all have gorgeous women with slightly more clothing on the cover. Is that simply because of the fact that women are infinitely more pleasing to the eye then men, which is true, of course, because, let’s face it, even women would rather look at an attractive woman, then an attractive, yet hairy, bulky, utilitarian alphamale? It’s also funny to me that the men’s interest section always looks like shit (ie, disorganized by people putting magazines wherever, those people more then likely being men), yet the women’s interest section is almost always nice and tidy whether I keep an eye on it or not. I tell ya, the things you learn about life from the magazines sections.

May 1, 2003 10:57 PM – I always thought that one of the most ridiculous magazines that we carry is “Ferrits USA,” however, today I was proven wrong. I received about 8 copies of “Alpaca Times” today. If you don’t know what an alpaca is, take a look at this, or this. I like that second one personally. To add to this, the cover has the catch phrase “Spring, Love is in the air.” Yeah, that’s just what I want to think about. Those lama-like things procreating.

May 1, 2003 11:12 PM – I had one more prophecy today. Let’s take a little quiz. Guess which one of the following statements on the front of women’s magazines don’t fit. I’m not making any of these up (in fact, I borrowed the magazines just so I could get them right, but I’ll take them back tomorrow):

Cover of May issue of Marie Claire:

“Your Sexual Horoscope”

“Men Confess – What they really notice about you”

“5 sex tips you must know!”

“Is fat in your future?”

“Where girls are raped and turned into child soldiers”

Cover of May issue of Cosmo:

“Our Sexiest Bed Game”

“75 Sex Secrets of Couples Who Don’t know the meaning of Ho-Hum”

“Tricks Rapists Use Against Women in Cars”

“Men Confess – What they really think the first time you get it on”

Cover of June issue of Marie Claire:

“76 sex tips from around the world”

“Your Best Orgasm!”

“What does your look say to men?”

“Women who survived torture by Sadam”

“Why my big butt rules!”

I repeat, I did not make any of those up.

May 4, 2003 3:19 PM – What is it about nude women in magazines that make men go “I GOTTA HAVE IT!!!!” to the point that they rip the plastic covering off and I later discover the magazine crumpled and tossed aside in the restroom, the sad remains of a brief and bitter afternoon affair. Yeah, in the bathroom. Goo. We don’t call ‘em jack-mags for nothing.

May 16, 2003 10:07 PM – Man. I haven’t added one of these in a while. I guess nothing really interesting has happened at the bookstore. So I’ll just make fun of people. I figure that the girl who told me to make fun of everyone had it coming. First of all, I wonder if the weather’s nice in her world, because her brain seems to be out of town half the time. She also tells some of the strangest stories, such as the faceless statues of little children in the corner that lots of old people evidently have. I still haven’t figure that one out. And in the midst of all this, she once came up to me and said flat out “Morgan, what’s your view on religion?” completely out of nowhere. However, in her defense, she’s really a sweetheart and a lot of fun to work with.

May 22, 2003 11:49 PM – Still not many interesting things have happened recently, but I’m keeping my eyes open. However, one random thing I’ve noticed is that the month listings on magazines are getting out of control. For example, I just got a magazine in the other day that was the August issue of something. It’s May. Why? Are people thinking to themselves, “You know I need a magazine about BMWs, this is the June issue of BMW car ….. but soft. BMW Driver is up to August. They’re three months into the future. They are so far ahead. All Hail BMW Driver.” Gosh, people get so into their magazines. Oh, by the way, I found out something else about James G. Roscoe (or Ebeneezer to some). He opened a NAPA auto parts store about 6 years back, which was successful for a while until he tried to make it themed, because he felt like auto part guys could really use some “loosening up.” However, it didn’t pan over to well with the Toledo crowd, but he did get to keep his uniform, mainly, of course, his hat.

June 5, 2003 10:51 PM – I graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science and Theatre, two very unlike crowds. One thing they do have in common, though, is that they both have very distinct stereotypes that are true 98% of the time. What drives me crazy is when I meet people who are in Computer Science or Theatre, and they fit the stereotype to a T. For example, at work there is a girl who majors in theatre at school. She is completely pretentious when talking about theatre, and never fails to mention the numerous voice coaching classes she has had as well as the musicals she has been in. I just want to say to her “Why must you perpetuate the sterotype that already gives us theatre people such a bad rap?” There’s a guy at work who is into Computer Science, and so of course, he talks about video games all the time, and refers to technical progress in that non-chalant, know-it-all way that only Computer Scientists pull off flawlessly. I also had a roommate who was completely pretentious and felt the need to always be a philosophical brooding intellect. Big surprise, he was a poet. So although Computer Scientists don’t know how to talk, and Theatre people talk way to friggin much, they share the simlarity of being completely pretentious. They totally act pretentious and they don’t even know what they’re talking about, whereas I have my PHD in pretentiousness, so believe me I should know.

June 5, 2003 11:00 PM – There’s a book we have called “How would Jesus raise children?” My response was “Like from the dead?” My esteemed colleague’s was “Oh, son, did you break your arm? Let me get that (waves hand).”

June 11, 2003 11:07 PM – A woman came in the store today that I can only describe as a middle-aged Lolita. She was wearing a tight see-through hideously pink dress with a low cut revealing an unflattering amount of cleavage and massive high heels. She asked me if I was putting out any new fashion magazines such as In Style or Vogue and got quite excited when I mentioned I had the new issue of Elle. She then bent way over and, since her dress was see through, it soon became apparent to me that she was wearing a thong. I don’t know if she was trying to flirt with me or not, but I withheld my gag. However, I’m curious about her real life and think she may have inspired a character for me to work with.

June 11, 2003 11:12 PM – So we have the new Jewel CD, and for those of you who haven’t had the disprivelage of hearing or seeing it, it looks as if the frumpy folk artist that was the Jewel we knew and loved got together with the popular girls in school like Christina and Britney and let them do her makeover in some sort of twisted manic pop culture episode of the Brady Bunch. Just when you thought there was a music icon you could maybe rely on, she goes from songs like “Who will save your soul” to songs like “You + Me = Love.” Well, so much for Jewel.

June 11, 2003 11:35 PM – One more BP today. A woman was looking for the new Newt Gingrich book “Gettysburg,” which is categorized under fiction, and when I told her we were out she commented, “They should put Hillary Clinton’s new book under fiction too.” I realized later what I should have said in response – “Yeah, and Bush’s foreign policy.”

June 15, 2003 11:48 AM – Here’s the cover of the most recent issue of Book Magazine:

Book Magazine

That, of course, is none other than JK Rowling. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were about to sell 600 million copies, or whatever, of my book and be about the best selling author of all time next to God, I’d be smiling.

June 17, 2003 11:50 AM – There is a series of books that we have at the store called “Penthouse Letters.” I’m sure most of you have heard of them. They’re up to volume 26 now or something, and I see them all the time, because they end up in the bathroom, as we’ve already discussed. However, everytime one of these ends up on my desk, I always open up to a random page and read one sentence. Everytime I’ve done this, I end up blushing. After one sentence! I don’t know how someone could buy and read the whole book, let alone all 26, because I’m spent after one paragraph. It would take me like a full year to finish it.

June 17, 2003 11:55 AM – Am I the only person in the world who is indifferent to Hillary Clinton? People seem to either absolutely love her, or absolutely hate her. I’ve heard people talk about wanting to burn every last copy of her new book while standing on the balcony at the white house. (I’m not kidding, I really heard someone say that). And then there’s people hoping she will run for president. I don’t hold any contempt for her but I’m not all pro-Hillary, but I’m just baffled by the absolute worship some people have for her, and the absolute hatred others have.

June 26, 2003 10:44 PM – It blows my mind sometimes how people just rely on the media to be their brain. For example, there are all sorts of people coming into the store asking “There’s this brand new book on Oprah, it just came out, it’s called East of Eden.” Here’s what my response should be to those people: “Yeah, I’ve heard John Steinbeck is making a killer off it. Not as good as his one he wrote last year though, The Grapes of Wrath. It’s almost outselling that one that came out three years ago, what was it called, Hamlet. Oh and that mid-nineties book The Bible.”

June 26, 2003 10:47 PM – I’d like to think that I’m partially responsible for Martha Stewart’s downfall. I’d had enough of her stupid magazines. Now if only there’s a way to bankrupt Better Homes and Gardens, my plan for total magazine domination will be complete.

June 26, 2003 10:48 PM – Okay, I’m finally going to record my reaction to Harry Potter, as some people have requested. I’ve needed some time to think about it since, as you all know, our lovely country is completely psychotic. Here are the casualties we’ve suffered thus far as a bookstore: Broken hand, twisted ankle, $10,000 from a blow torched safe (didn’t happen to our store, but a relatively near by one), and a lot of contrite spirits, all thanks to the P-man. Now the $10,000 may take some explaining. A group of people actually organized a “hit” on a bookstore. They cut the phone cords, evidently got through two key coded doors somehow, then used a blow torch to cut a giant hole through the safe, and stole all the money. Their first mistake was in not realizing that bookstores don’t make dick for money, so they made off with about $10,000, even though we are carrying the most popular book in the last 1,000 years. $10,000! That’s it. It’s not even worth the effort. If you’re going to go through all that organization and what not (I imagine them wearing ski masks and AK47s at this part), wouldn’t you just rob someplace like, I don’t know, a BANK!!! The only thing that could make that story better is if they somehow electrocuted their testicles so they could end up on the next Darwin Awards.

June 28, 2003 0:16 AM – So what exactly is the deal with the low cut pants? Are women pretty soon just going to start wearing some sort of crescent moon device to cover up the naughty bits so that every possible centimeter of leg, stomach, and back can be revealed? It’s getting out of hand. There is a girl who works at the bookstore who is a mere molecule away from showing her ass crack at every moment during the day. I’m not sure if she never sits down, or if she just makes sure there is a full back to the chair, but she’s walking a thin line. It’s getting to the point where there is no margin for error. Women everywhere are wearing such small tops and such low pants that one false step could expose your whole being. Call me naive, but that just seems like walking around all day holding back a sneeze.

July 2, 2003 10:44 AM – I don’t know if it’s the heat or just a lot of projects arriving with the summer, but it’s turned into bitching season at the store. I’m just as guilty as anyone else too. We’re all complaining constantly, as if we’re the only people working, and everything is just inconveniant for us. I’m the worst, too. I hate bitchy employees, but worse is that I hate being a bitchy employee. Ugh. There I go bitching again.

July 6, 2003 5:58 PM – Okay, I’ve had about enough of the airbrushing on magazines. Here’s the cover of last month’s GQ:

GQ

That picture doesn’t make me say “Oooh, sexy woman.” It makes me say “Where the hell are her nipples!?” This is from last month’s FHM:

FHM

First of all, she has no nipples, and her torso is evidently twice as long as a normal one. It’s ridiculous. If you can’t show nipples on a magazine cover, then don’t show them, but don’t shoot pictures where there should be nipples and air brush them out. I’m tired of these sex-less female statues that are dominating magazine covers.

July 6, 2003 6:11 PM – Here’s another picture I took of a ridiculous magazine:

Xbox Boobies

Yes, that is an Xbox controller that she’s pressing into her breast. That’s great. So let’s teach these stupid guys who waste their lives playing video games that beatiful women not only like video games, but that they play nude. In my experience, they almost always have a bra on.

July 6, 2003 6:19 PM – A strange thing happened to me at work the other day. There was this couple sitting down looking at magazines, and the guy’s cell phone rang. He answered and started talking to a friend who just had some sort of test or something, and he and his significant other were very excited about whatever it was and kept passing the phone back and forth. I suddenly got so excited for these people and I was just so happy that they were so excited about life and friends and stuff. This wave of contentment and happiness came over me because of this couple’s excitement. It was amazing. Imagine if I stopped thinking about myself and just let myself get excited for other people’s happiness. What if I could live my whole life like that?

July 23, 2003 11:20 AM – So I called in sick a few days ago, and I always feel guilty when I call in sick. I always say “If you really need me, I can still come in,” even though I may be puking at the time. I don’t know what it is, but I always feel like I’m letting my team down.

July 28, 2003 10:44 PM – It’s amazing how there’s this total double standard in regards to nudy magazines. Famous women will often pose in playboy and always in Maxim/FHM/Stuff (which are the magazines I refer to as Porn Light – all the lust with half the guilt), because it gets them loads of publicity (even if it is scandalous) and sometimes even respect. Men who pose in Playgirl are rarely famous, and get no publicity or respect (not that they should). Interesting.

July 28, 2003 10:47 PM – What a state our country is in. A few days ago I was putting magazines away (which I often do, if you hadn’t noticed yet) and a young boy of probaby 10 said to his mother “Did you hear they killed Saddam’s sons?” The mother then said “I know, isn’t it great.” I never thought I’d be involved in a culture that praises the killing of someone’s children (I don’t care how awful they are).

July 28, 2003 10:50 PM – It is unbelievable how often parents will leave their children in our store. Some people evidently believe our kids section also serves as a day care. It is standard fair to hear a mother say to her several children, “This lady will watch over you while I go shopping.” I’m no parent, but I can’t imagine leaving my children with total strangers in a retail store so I can go try on shirts at Marshall Field’s.

July 28, 2003 10:52 PM – Speaking of children, it amazes me how sometimes they can be so wonderful and cute, renewing my faith in humanity, and sometimes they can be pure hell-spawn. Two nights ago, I cleaned up shit and piss in the men’s room after some children who were evidently not toilet trained. I have two college degrees, I’m not a parent, and I’m cleaning up shit after some kids. What a miserable life this turned out to be.

July 28, 2003 10:54 PM – Here is an ad for a hair styling gel called “Bed Head.” It can be found on the back cover of the most recent issue of “Cosmopolitan Hair and Beauty.”

Bedhead

I don’t know about you, but I’m not putting anything on my head that comes out of a bottle shaped like that.

August 18, 2003 12:52 PM – Whew it’s been a while. I went on an 11 day vacation there for a while, and I actually got paid for that. My first paid vacation. I’m growin up quick. However, I did have a prophecy on vacation. One day I went out to dinner to Mongolian Barbecue with a friend of mine, and as we sat and ate stir fry served by the cantankerous but funny chefs, a young attractive woman walked in. Now, she would have been more attractive to me if it had not been for the fact that her shirt was made up of 1 cubic inch of material. Basically, the shirt was a diamond shaped napkin, just enough to cover her breasts, leaving the entirety of her stomach and back exposed. The hankie was held on by a spaghetti noodle around the back and across her neck. What irritated me was that I was not trying to check her out, but when a man sees a completely bare backed woman out of the corner of his eye, masculine instinct is too much to fight. On top of this, she obviously was not wearing a bra, and the place was air conditioned. Do the math. So all I really had to do was imagine a slight coloration change and I had seen her topless. So all night I’m distracted by this almost exposed girl and then feeling guilty that I checked her out. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for a completely natural instinct. If I’d been eyeing her constantly while she was modestly dressed, or at least wearing more then a coaster, I should feel guilty. But I wasn’t. And then I thought, if her or her boyfriend complains about guys checking her out, they are so full of it.

August 18, 2003 1:01 PM – Why are ass holes always the loudest? These two guys came in, the typical magazine fare that I’ve described countless times now, looking at Maxim and Playboy. Then one complained in full voice “Geez, don’t they have any hustler or anything?” If you’re a jerk, you might want to keep it on the DL.

August 18, 2003 1:06 PM – I found out a couple of days ago that I hurt someone with something I said on an earlier prophecy. Although I know sorry is little consolation, it is the best I can offer. The person that I hurt was developing into a friend that I really enjoyed, appreciated, and cared about, and due to an early observation I made before getting to know them, I may have damaged the friendship we developed irreparably. That saddens me greatly. So if there are any others of you who have been offended or hurt by something I’ve said, please accept my apologies. I obviously have no malicious intentions with any of these prophecies, as they are meant to simply be very honest observations of mine, and the only person I intend on maliciously criticizing is myself. Well, me and Barbara Bush. However, they say good intentions pave the road to hell, although my road is paved with a lot more then that. So, once again, I apologize to those I have hurt and those I may have hurt with any of these prophecies. I do not wish to harm anyone, but only to make observations and bad jokes, as I will continue to do.

August 21, 2003 1:03 AM – It seems like we, as a people, are always looking forward. I will relate this to magazines, naturally, because this all occurred to me back in February, when I was receiving magazines about gardening for the spring and summer, baseball guides, and other mags dealing with hot summer fashion. A couple months after that I started receiving guides to the NFL season, which was still about 4 or 5 months off. About a month and a half ago I received another magazine by Better Homes and Gardens (oddly enough) entitled “Cross-Stitch Christmas,” and just today I received a ski equipment buyers’ guide. It seems like we get all excited about the upcoming things, then when those same things come, instead of enjoying them, we look forward to the next thing. It’s like when you buy something that you’ve been wanting and you think “Okay, now if I could just afford this other thing too, then I would really be complete.” Market economy at its best, I suppose.

August 21, 2003 1:08 AM – So middle-aged lolita came in the store again tonight, wearing a dress that looked like it was straight out of Hamlet when Ophelia goes nuts, with a low neck line, revealing cleavage so long you could sled on it. What consistently amazes me about this woman is that she carries herself as if she doesn’t notice these things, like the plumber who obviously cannot feel that his ass is sticking halfway out of his pants or a young girl who either can’t feel or ignores the pain of having underwear riding up her ass, with part of it revealed over top of her pants. I’m constantly adjusting if my pants or shirt are one thread too tight, I can’t imagine what the rest of those scenarios would feel like.

August 25, 2003 10:45 PM – More of the same, more of the same. The kids with the nose rings wearing all black consistenly ask for the “Necronomicon” and look at heavy metal and hard core magazines. The younger white blond girls with the ditsy voices and the half shirts look through Cosmo Girl, J-14, and US Weekly. The guys who buy gun magazines are the last people in the world you want owning guns. The hard-nosed conservatives ask for the latest Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly book and make some crack about Hillary’s book. The eccentric liberals ask for the latest Michael Moore or Al Franken and make some crack about Bush. The loud mouth partier guys walk in and flip through playboy, bizarre, and high times, occasionally placing one of these in front of a more popular family magazine, snickering at their unbridled, rebellious wit. The young African-Americans ask for Omar Tyree or Eric Jerome Dickey, then flip through The Source, King, or Ebony magazine. The confused old ladies come demanding some new cookbook they read about in the paper, the author and title of which is on the clipping they left on the counter at home. The nerdy guys come in asking for sci-fi and roleplaying books, while performing terrible impressions of Monty Python and the Simpsons. The 7-14 year old boys ask for the video game strategy guides, then subsequently piss off their mothers when they spend more than their gift card that grandma gave them, leaving mom to foot the bill. When a book doesn’t scan at the cash register, everyone responds with “It must be free,” chuckling at their Oscar Wilde-like wit for coining the phrase. And there never fails to be that one mid-thirties woman who picks up every hairstyling magazine in the store, looks at them on the opposite side of the store, and leaves them there. Is there such a thing as change?

September 1, 2003 11:50 PM – As of tomorrow, I will no longer be the head of magazines. However, I will be the head of the gift department (journals, address books, bookstands and other crap) and Humor. I’m still the head of the Religion section as well. So hopefully, this will revitalize my prophecies, as it will give me a new perspective. So keep an eye out.

September 1, 2003 11:51 PM – So the other day at work, I had two things happen to me within ten minutes of each other. First off, I was hit on. By a guy. He came up asking for a book that he had ordered, and was inquiring as to if it had come in or not. After constant chatter with me, in which he called me by name (I’m assuming he read it on my nametag), he finally left. I turned to a female co-worker who was standing near me and smiling sheepishly at me, and she said “I think you just got hit on.” I was a little flattered, since women rarely hit on me, so I guess you take what you can get. Not ten minutes later, a husky jamaican guy approached me and I recognized him instantly as the guy who ran the model scouting agency, where I worked for a day. For more information to that story, see The Second Worst Day of Morgan’s Life.

September 1, 2003 11:55 PM – This didn’t happen at work, but on the way home. I was listening to a Chicago sports radio station, which I often do because I’m pathetically addicted to sports, when they had this segment they do every week called “Jag Bag Thursday.” I have no idea what a “Jag Bag” is, and I have a feeling I don’t want to know, but the game consists of calling in and nominating someone, usually someone involved in professional sports, for that week’s “jag bag.” “Jag Bag” is evidently an insult. So this one guy calls in and nominates President Bush. Now, as anyone who knows me could concur, I’m not a big fan of the president and could think of a thousand reasons to nominate him for a “Jag Bag,” however, the guy who called nominated him because he claims President Bush was lying about the NYC blackout being terrorist related. His defense was that there was the power outage in London just recently as well. So he nominated Bush because he said he “lied to us about the terrorist relation to the blackout.” Now any ragging on the president is usually well accepted by me, but I feel like I have to stand up for Bush, because a blackout happening in London does not prove terrorist activity, nor does it prove that Bush knew there was terrorist activity involved in the NYC blackout. So, guy who called in saying this, you are a “Jag Bag.”

September 3, 2003 1:25 PM – Anyone reading this has probably seen those little cards that people leave around that say “When I die, I’m going to H_____” or “You are a sinner, but there is a way out,” or some of the nicer ones say “Have you ever lied? Then you are going to hell, Sucker.” (Italics are mine.) Anyway, I’ve noticed these quite a bit in bookstores, however, the most common place seems to be on top of the urinal in the men’s bathroom. (I don’t go in the women’s bathroom, so I can’t speak for them) Now, if I were contemplating the after-life or the big G-man, I think the last place I would choose to believe and commit is standing in the bathroom taking a leak. The urinal in the men’s room is not a place to be taken seriously, and definately not religiously. The urinal is a place for jokes, such as “Why are you looking up here, the joke’s in your hands,” or something dealing with people’s mothers, both of these examples being the more high brow jokes of urinal humor. I would think a more effective place for these religious cards would be on the lip of a toilet in a bar, so that when someone is plastered and puking, thinking to themselves (as all people who have been drunk enough to vomit can confess) “I’m sorry, God. I swear, I’ll never drink again. Bwah!!”

September 3, 2003 1:33 PM – So yesterday was my first day in my new section, and I’ve gotta tell you, I friggin hate bookmarks already. What do we need 200 different kinds of bookmarks for? Why?! And half of them have these little stuffed animals on the end that have movable arms and cost $7. Who needs that? Folding the corner of the page works just fine, or if you’re more of a “mint condition” kind of person, the receipt you got when you purchased the book works fine too. I have a snake skin bookmark that I got when I was 6. I have never needed another bookmark since. I have used that bookmark like crazy. I’ve chewed on it, I’ve dropped it all over the place, and it’s suffered God only knows how many suffocations by my fat ass, and yet it’s still going strong. But man, if it had a little dark blue bear on the end that said “Taurus,” then it would really be something.

September 12, 2003 12:38 PM – I realized the other day that I completely forgot to mention something that happened a few months ago. These two people came in, an older man and woman, wearing protective breathing masks. Like SARS. So they’re walking around the store just normally, and all of the employees and customers are trying to pretend like nothing is out of the ordinary, heaven forbid someone call us gas-mask racists. I was in the middle of putting away magazines, and the male approached me and asked me a questions, through his mask muffled mouth. It was like the scene in ET when the goverment shows up and puts plastic over everything. This guy may as well have been in a Hazmat suit. To add to this, this same guy sat down in one of the big poofy chairs we have right next to James Roscoe (or Ebeneezer), who was like hacking and spitting into a paper cup while he read the newspaper (which, of course, he didn’t pay for).

September 20, 2003 8:58 PM – The bookstore chapter of my life has come to a close in such a bittersweet way of shame and compassion, that it only makes sense that the end would mirror the process. Many of my co-workers from the bookstore are in a state of confusion as to my exit, as it happened both sudden and dramatically. As much as it shames and pains me to admit how everything happened, I feel that I have no choice but to make it entirely public. Seeing as I have been painfully honest to this point through these prophecies, to not be so now would be as hypocritical as my sin that has caused my leave (my God I’m dramatic). For those of you still wondering what exactly happened, I will tell you. For about a six month period of time, I periodically would purchase cds, ringing myself up and discounting my purchase significantly. Basically, I was stealing. I didn’t do this often enough to think it was a big deal, but often enough to draw the corporation’s eye. Like so many other things in life (a lot pointed out in these prophecies), the little things count, against you and for you. To live a life where I have professed to be a Christian, but cutting corners on my morals, saying “Oh this little thing doesn’t matter” has been extremely hypocritical of me. I don’t know why I did this, and I am extremely ashamed of my behavior. I had never told anyone about this because it is not behavior I condone, and I selfishly thought that if I kept it under wraps, I could feel guilty later and still get away with it. I was sorely mistaken. Although I did feel guilty enough to stop doing this about a month ago, it does not make up for the fact that I did what I did, and I was caught. When everyything was happening, I kept thinking “This can’t be real. I’m going to wake up soon and everything will be fine. That isn’t me. I’m not that kind of person.” Well, evidently I was that kind of person, and from here on out am no longer. My actions were not only against company policy (the same company I had grown quite loyal to) but against my basic beliefs and morals. For this I am a hypocrite. A man from corporate headquarters personally came to the store to approach me on what I had done, and my manager had no choice but to fire me and restrict me from ever entering the store again. They did, however, choose not to press charges. Both handled it very professionally, and I hold no ill will toward either of them, as I have no excuses and no one to blame but myself. I simply should have known better. My parents raised me better then that. But I fell to the temptation that most people in retail have. However, I soon learned that being fired was exactly what I needed to start acting the way I should have been the whole time. Within hours of all this happening, I discovered that my co-workers not only forgave me for whatever it was I had done, but cared enough to let me know that I wasn’t beyond contact. The outreach of compassion from them is a moment I will never forget. I had grown to love all of them so much, that the thought of not seeing them anymore was far more terrifying than the thought of not having a job. Their concern and care for me comforted me more than I could have imagined. I hope that all my co-workers and managers can accept my apology and forgive me for what I’ve done. To all those at the bookstore, I care about you all, and I hope we don’t lose touch.

So this is the last bookstore prophecy, and it seems to complete the bittersweet melody that has been played through all of these quite nicely, although it certainly was a dramatic and sudden way for it to end. Although the shame does not end so easily, I have learned quite a bit already about the person I should be and the way that person behaves, and that I will carry with me. But thus it is written, thus it concludes, and thus a new chapter begins.

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