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The Main Drawback to Library Books

On my current austerity plan, purchasing books has become a fond memory. Other than the occasional free ebook and revisiting whatever's on my shelves, the library is my preferred source for reading material. I have been going every 4th Saturday, usually borrowing 3 volumes -- two mysteries and one biography. Or the other way around. Having finished Ruth Rendell's The Monster in the Box, I've now turned to Brian Wilson's memoir Wouldn't It Be Nice.

Wouldn't it be nice if prudes were as illiterate in the practical sense as they are in the philosophical? I'm on page 10 or so of the Wilson book and am forced to wade through numerous annoying little blots of blue ink that have been used by someone to scribble over various expletives.
Whoever the jackass is who did this, they couldn't even get hired as a censor, because as many four-letter words as they bowdlerize, there's an equal number still showing their scandalous little faces to the reader. There's no rhyme or reason to it. Blue-nose with the blue Bic left in "You're as rich as fucking Christ." In my religious days, that's the one I would have been tempted to tinker with. Who was this guardian of morality endeavoring to protect? What was the point of it? I vividly remember a lot of my favorite literature as an early teenager, and how grown-up I felt reading words like "tits" and "screw." Hide them from my mother, maybe, but never try to contravene an author's testimony.

As I concentrate on reliving the nadir of Wilson's existence, when the Beach Boys fired him until he could get himself back together, I'm having to re-read lines to make sense of them and keep the narrative flowing, to the point where I catch myself mouthing the words -- arrgh!

One of my elementary-school teachers would often tell us how lucky we are that the New York public schools did not allow teachers to whack students with rulers. She said she felt like doing just that every time she saw a pencil or pen in the hand of a student holding anything other than his or her own notebook. Our textbooks were covered with brown paper and free of any scribbles. She checked them all and reduced our grades if any book got defaced on her watch.

Someone deserves to have their walls marked up by small children with crayons. With "Good Vibrations" playing in the background.


I'm stunned, not only that someone would deface a book (and make it all but unreadable in the process), but that they would presume to apply their moral compass in that way. Boo to them!

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