Monday, November 05, 2007

No cover charge at the Bada Bing

Did you know that libraries still exist? I had no idea. Most suburban roadsides consist entirely of endless strings of Borders and Barnes and Noble stores, punctuated by the occasional Starbucks or dead opossum, so I just figured that the library system collapsed after I forgot to return my copy of “Hardy Boys: Mystery of the Aztec Warrior” in the fifth grade.

But libraries are still holding on strong, despite the fact that, given the choice between free and not free, we have, as a society, apparently chosen not free.

My interest in the library system was recently renewed when my wife Kara brought home season four of the Sopranos on DVD. For free. The whole season. If you’ve ever seen the DVD sets for sale, you know that they’re normally so expensive that a normal person, in order to raise enough capital to make a purchase possible, has to embark on a strict schedule of extorting small business owners.

We’ve since discovered that the local library is just like a free version of Blockbuster, but without the palpable sense of impending corporate doom. Poor Blockbuster. It’s like the neighbor’s arthritic old dog. You feel kind of bad for it, but what can you do? You have to cling to those old memories of paying five bucks to keep “Minority Report” for an extra few hours to make you feel better about its imminent demise.

When I told my buddy Rob that Kara and I had kicked season four of the Sopranos in a fevered and slothful bid to finish every episode before the due date, and that we’d just received notification that season five was ready to be picked up, he said, “Aw, man, you’re so lucky. You guys are about to watch some of the best TV ever created. I wish I could go back and watch it for the first time again.”

You’d be forgiven for expecting the most meaningful television show ever filmed to contain Elizabethan costumes or philosophical dissertations from people sitting in leather chairs. Luckily for us all, though, it appears that the ultimate cultural experience of our generation is mostly comprised of people in nylon jumpsuits wailing on other people with shovels.

I especially empathized with a scene in season four in which one of the characters accidentally sat on a dog and smothered it to death. Except for the heroin-induced stupor that caused the accident, I could identify.

A couple of years ago, I joined Kara on the couch to watch a Law and Order rerun ripped straight from the headlines of 1994. I plunked down on a pile of blankets at her feet. After a couple of minutes, I noticed some movement underneath me.

“Babe, am I sitting on your toes?” I asked.

“No,” she said, wiggling her feet under the blanket next to me.

I shot off the couch and reached into the quilt I’d been sitting on, pulling out a mussed-up and exhausted ferret.

Chopper looked at me with eyes that said, “Dude, seriously, that was so uncool.”

I had broken the central tenet of pet ownership: pets freely offer you all of their unconditional love and bowel movements, and in return, all they ask is that you give them food and water, and that you do your very best not to smother them with your derriere.

To make amends, I gave him a fingerful of peanut butter, to which he responded in the same way Popeye would have responded to a can of spinach, returning immediately to his charming and semi-continent self. You could almost hear the “Popeye the Sailor Man” theme song playing as he finished the peanut butter and started running around the house again. I haven’t sat on a blanket since, and Chopper seems to have forgiven me. At the very least, he hasn’t gotten me whacked yet.

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  1. Sporanos was our all time favorite show EVER. Gary and I did not miss a single episode. It's not the same watching the repeats on A&E or whatveer channel they are on. Waaaaaay too toned down for Tony. He and his crew are at their best using colorful language. It was Chris who sat on the Adrianna's dog.

    The library rocks. We've watched some really cool stuff !!free!! My daughter loves it. We don't let her watch the Sopranos. 4th grade is scary enough.

  2. OMG I hurt myself laughing about the ferret. And I only laughed cuz I have so been there with pets.

    Cat's aren't so nice when you sit on them. lmaooooooooooo

  3. My favorite posts are when Chopper speaks. I asked for one of those talky ferrets at the pet store, but they must have been out because the guy just stared at me.

    Love libraries, but not so much in smaller towns. We are really, really close to getting Rocky I on VHS at ours though! Whooo Hooo!

  4. Sheri -- Yeah, that's true of Sex and the City reruns, too. Not that I watch them. I mean, so what if I do?

    Burf -- Glad to hear I'm not the only one sitting on animals around here. Watch out for the pointy ends.

    Janelle -- Hey, dude! Technically, um, speaking, only his beady little eyeballs were talking, but you can find the talking kind in credit card commercials, too. Anyway, have fun in the library! I hope nobody tells you that Rocky loses before you see it.

  5. We had a mean little bitch of a ferret once. I THINK she might have screamed, "I'll see you in HELL!!" just before she tried to bite my ear off.

    She didn't talk so much after I drop kicked her across the living room and she went splat on the big screen tv, though. I think it might have addled her a bit.

    (ps. no ferrets were ever actually drop kicked in my living room.)

  6. LOVE the library. I can request online and have it delivered to my door. For Free.

    I'm glad you were able to get back in Chopper's good graces with some peanut butter. Does he prefer smooth or crunchy?

  7. Poor chopper! If you had a REAL pet, like a dog, that wouldn't be an issue. LOL

  8. Nothing like getting off the couch with the lights dimmed or off and stepping on your dog's tail. I always feel sooo bad and he always gives me those sad eyed looks saying, "WTF did you just do? "

    My mom and sister basically run the small non-funded(no $ from state like most other towns) library in town. They never seem to have enough room for all the books they have already.

    Every now and then someone suggests they also carry VHS / DVD's but so far the only multi media they carry are books on tape.

    They still have original editions of the Tom Swift series (google, I'm sure you never heard of - they were a kind of early 20th century Hardy Boys type book) I read back when I was a kid - with the little library cards you wrote your name on.

  9. melodyann -- Happy Birthday! Sorry you didn't have an awesome ferret. I bet that varmint sharpened your reflexes, though.

    Carmel -- He likes the nasty runny kind from the hippie food store. He's not a partially hydrogenated kind of ferret.

    Lauren -- But can REAL pets crap their body weight every single day? I didn't think so.

    Buster -- That's really cool that your mom and sister do that. Tom Swift was earlier than Hardy Boys? Did you read them in hardcover or carved-in-stone-tablet?

  10. Thank you, Mikey! Janet threw me a surprise party over at my blog. Who knew 43 could be this much fun!!

  11. Chopper is a [ferret] after my own heart -- a little peanut butter ALWAYS makes things better!!! :)

  12. hah, sounds like fun. Atleast i made it to the wedding. Well sort of. I mean, atleast i made it to the reception after the wedding.