Pop quiz! What is this thing? Is it A: A rocket ship, B: A fish standing on its tail or C: A pterodactyl egg that landed on the roof of a house? We found it in a box labeled “Pottery.”
Chris and I unearthed another box of CDs today. Upper left corner is Dolly Parton, upper right corner is Type O Negative, lower right corner is Red Hot Chili Peppers, and lower left corner is The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Here we have an ancient relic, possibly an item once associated with religious worship. There appears to be an all-seeing eye within a pyramid. We have heard garbled tales of people inserting these silver disks into their primitive computer boxes, only to have the computer protest with loud squealing and harsh static.
These symbols are still widely worshiped today.
This is just one of several books on the Civil War we found today, along with Revolutionary War history, and biographies of Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.
My Dad, the serious historian.
My Dad, the conspiracy nut.
Apparently, my Dad decided at one point that just going out and buying books wasn’t enough. He needed a guide to tell him how to buy more books …
These are the stacks of books that Chris and I want to keep. Rather, these are the stacks we made today, from the 10 or so boxes we went through. Over 75% of the contents of those boxes went into the Salvation Army pile, or the “Give to Other People We Know” pile or the “Jewish stuff” pile or the “Old and Valuable” pile. These are just the books we wanted to keep from TODAY. *sigh*
So here is our theory on Dad’s book collection. Most of the books fall into one of a few possible categories – World History, World Religions, Politics, Science/Physics, Great Leaders, Great Leaders who were Evil, Collapse, Education, and How to Influence People/Management. Dad spoke often and authoritatively on what he saw as the inevitable collapse of the United States and the rest of Western Civilization. We think Dad was trying to prepare himself to be a great leader in the event of societal break down, while at the same time preserving his favorite bits of wisdom in his own mini Library of Alexandria.
Sadly, he overlooked the tedious and unglamorous bits of everyday life like How to Disinfect Water and How to Not Starve.
I think about the collapse of civilization fairly often myself, and I probably have Dad to thank for that. I’m a lot more concerned with food and water and shelter than How to Win Minions and Influence Rival Gangs, though. I can see my Dad making it through, especially in his position as a beloved high school teacher. He could have blockaded himself in his class room or even taken over the entire building with the help of some of his students. He wouldn’t have known how to grow food, but at least for the first little while, his adoring legion of students would have kept him alive with tributes of scavenged canned goods. With a Boy Scout manual, he could have set basic snares for pigeons and raccoons. Pretty soon, he could have been trading raccoon pelts for blocks of cheese from a rural school district/castle.