A Clear Conscience For $14.95

I made a terrible realization a few weeks ago.  I feared that I had actually permanently and forever misplaced that which did not belong to me, that which had been loaned to me on the understanding that it would be returned in the condition to which I had received it: I speak of a library book. 

This one in particular:

Growing up as a librarian’s daughter, I had healthy respect for libraries and library books.  Defiling, defacing, writing in, and doggearing books (even ones we owned) was strictly prohibited.  This was so ingrained in me that when I got to college and was actually encouraged to write in books, I had a terrible time doing it.

But, the gravest sin of all, was losing a library book.  I’ve been late getting my books back, but I returned them and I paid the fine.  I’ve never lost a book.

This time, though, I searched all over hither and yon.  I questioned suspects – Mr. X remembered last seeing it in the bathroom and after that has no memory.  The kitties chose to exercise their right to remain silent.  G listened very attentively but merely reminded me that it had been at least two minutes since I had petted him and it was about time for a repeat performance.  No one gave me any answers I could use.  I searched the house, but to no avail. 

And then, finally, this week, I had to admit defeat.  I had looked everywhere that was possible (and quite a few places that weren’t) and still, no book.  So, head hung in shame, I went to the library, admitted my sin and bought forgiveness for the exceedingly inexpensive price of $14.95.  I was supposed to pay $18.95, but since that particular book had been lent quite a few times, I got a discount.  I have a receipt and should the day ever come when the book miraculously emerges from its uber hiding place, I will be able to get a refund.

Until that day, though, I am now have a clear conscience and cannot be labeled that most terrible name: Loser of Library Books!

5 thoughts on “A Clear Conscience For $14.95

  1. I returned a library book 15 years after I borrowed it. I thought I had lost it but my mother had packed it away not realizing it was library book. I had already paid the fine and could have kept it, but I wanted to say hey you see I didn’t loose it.

  2. I lost THREE books all at once last year, and I kept renewing them while I searched the house, car, coffee shop, etc. I ended up having to pay for them — it was $100+ — and I, too, was ashamed. But this story has a happy ending: Months later I opened a tiny closet I never use in a room I rarely enter. I wanted to remind myself what, if anything, was in it, and there sat the books! I’d stuffed them (along with a stack of mail and other stuff from the dining room table) in there as I “cleaned” right before some houseguests arrived and totally forgotten about all of it.

    Hope you find your book soon!

  3. Glad to hear that your conscience is now clear, Mrs X!

    I think that writing in library books is a far worse crime than accidentally misplacing them. There is surely a special circle of hell reserved specifically for people who write all over books that don’t belong to them!

  4. I could build a small fort out of all the library books I currently have out (hey–I need them for the dis!), and I’ve come very close to losing books in the rubble. I’m glad you’ve regained your rightful position as lover of library books.

  5. I once had The Color Purple completely fall apart on me while I had it checked out. It was in horrible shape to begin with, but I couldn’t take it back with pages & covers falling off, so I went & bought a new one. When I took it in & explained it to my favorite librarian she kept repeating, “You didn’t have to do that. It wasn’t your fault.” But I figured as many book as I checked out (about 3 a week at that time) it was worth it. I told her, “Just think of all the money you’ve saved me on books.” It made me all warm & fuzzy inside.

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