Tuesday 19 November 2013

A Book Found in a Mud Puddle

A few weeks ago, the furnace didn’t start when it was programmed to start. I had to turn the power to the furnace off, shut the gas off and then restart everything to get it working again. Everything was fine until just last week when the same thing happened and I had to go through the re-start process all over again. Something is wrong!
I mentioned the problem I was having to my buddy at coffee and he asked if I had changed the batteries lately. Ummmmm….batteries? Now that I think about it, I had to put some batteries in the programmable thermostat Maegan and I installed at her place a few months back. I’ve never changed the battery in mine in over ten years; I didn’t know there was one. I said that I would check when I got home and promptly forgot all about it.

Just yesterday morning, my buddy asked if the battery was dead in the thermostat. I told him I wasn’t sure ‘cause I had forgotten to check. He called me an idiot and to tell you the truth, he was right.

Yesterday I was sitting in the basement trying to find something to watch on TV when I noticed the dresser that the television was sitting on. It is an old dresser that I inherited from my grandmother. It isn’t a very good dresser, but still I do like it. What interested me yesterday was that I had no idea what was in the drawers. I supposed that they were a repository of assorted memories and junk that I put there so that I could avoid deciding if I should toss the stuff in the garbage. I pulled out one drawer and looked through the old candles, pictures, balloons some old bills and at the very bottom, the instruction manual and warrantee for my programmable thermostat. Funny how life works isn’t it?

I put in new batteries this afternoon.


I remember walking along Lawrence Ave E. in Scarborough when I was about 18, just after a summer rain. I looked down and saw a book sitting in a puddle that had swollen up and looked like a really fat, wet fan. It didn’t have a cover, but for some reason I decided to take it home with me and dry it out. I guess I felt that a book, any book, doesn’t deserve to end its life in a puddle at the side of the road. I let it dry in the sun and eventually it was all dry and just a little worse for it’s experience.
I felt that it was only right for me to give the book a last reading before I tossed it into the incinerator at my apartment building. I started reading and I couldn’t stop. It was one of those books that drew you in and wouldn’t let you go until it was done with you. The book turned out to be “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein who was one of the greatest science fiction writers of his or any time. He was really one of the founders of the genre. I went on to read all of his books and short stories, articles about him and was eventually saddened when he passed away in 1988.
In my mind, his books are the gold standard of what I consider entertaining literature. There are probably more literate authors, but if I ever aspire to become a writer, I would be happy to be a pale imitation of Mr. Heinlein. I suppose that you could say a lot of my core beliefs and values are at least in part a result of my reading Robert Heinlein. I still read “Time Enough for Love” from time to time, and everyone should read “Stranger in a Strange Land” at least once in their lives.

You might not like any of his books; I can’t help that, but give them a try. Who knows, you might end up altering your moral values like I did, from a book found in a mud puddle.

No comments:

Post a Comment