Category Archives: Long Stuff That Doesn’t Rhyme (Stories!)

My Bedbug Nightmare

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I would not wish bed bugs on my worst enemy. You think you have it bad with a roach infestation or termites? I would rather sleep in a bed of termites gargling cock roaches than deal with another bed bug infestation in my life. Sounds like the finale of Fear Factor, am I right?

It all started when I began to wake up with itchy red bumps on my arm. There would usually be about 40 of them in an erratic pattern. The first day I wrote it off as allergies. Yet each following day, the problem only got worse. Eventually I woke up to a flat black bug crawling on my arm. Was this a beetle? I flicked the first one off in disgust. Waking up to bugs in your comfort zone is not exactly ideal. After flicking off the first bed intruder, two reinforcements took his place. I threw off the covers and started feeling a bit sick. Then I noticed some motion out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see dozens more of these critters crawling up my walls. I made a retreat to my shower, only to find yet another small, black armored bug on my shower curtain.

Okay, first they invade my bed and then my shower? Time to put these guys on Chris Hanson’s sexual predator list.

When I squished the bug a bright red liquid squished out onto my finger tips. This had to be human blood because bug guts are usually brown, and I don’t think bugs have a tendency to eat ketchup.

After some well educated…Wikipedia research (it counts sometimes) I uncovered the identity to my bedroom intruders: Bed Bugs.

At that point in time, I didn’t even think Bed Bugs were a real thing. I thought they were part of a phrase to scare children from  going to sleep. “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” But the nightmare that was about to unfold was all too real.

Check this out. Bed bugs can last an entire year without food. So if you think you can outsmart them by sleeping somewhere else, think again. They’ll either wait near your bed until their favorite human blood pie returns for a snooze, or more likely, they’ll follow you to your new slumber spot. They are a menace that will follow you into the depths of the Earth for a chance to drink a drop of your blood. Bed bugs put vampires to shame. After all, a crucifix, garlic, a silver bullet, daylight, or badly directed movie starring Kristen Stewart will do nothing to kill a bed bug.

Not only are these creatures nearly invincible, but they pop out babies like jack rabbits on speed. We’re talking about more than 200 babies within the span of a month.

If this isn’t bad enough, this army of numerous and nearly invisible creatures can also hide virtually anywhere. So to get the record straight. They’ve got the blood lust of a vampire, the invisibility of Chuck Norris, the stealth of a ninja and they make an exponential number of children.  Not to mention that they are itchy and annoying – the bed bugs, not the vampires or ninjas.

So how does one go about eliminating such a beast? If you are a tidy person, there is some hope for you. Yet if you are a slob like me – getting rid of bed bugs will be about as difficult as escaping David Bowie’s labyrinth with pickle juice in your eyes. You see, bed bugs can hide between the pages of a book and lay nearly invisible eggs in your clothes. You must wash everything you own twice in burning hot water and then seal it in airtight garbage bag. That which can’t be washed is thrown away. But even washing and throwing away almost all of your possessions will not eliminate this curse.

The only thing that can truly kill a bed bug is extreme heat. If you live in a Sauna or Sahara desert you may be okay. Yet if you don’t, you will have to call an exterminator to bring the heat to you for about $800 a room. The exterminator will push something that looks like the world’s biggest slinky through your window and then heat your room up to the temperature of 200 degrees. Thus melting many of the possessions that you haven’t thrown away or washed.

So surely this expensive and extreme procedure will kill the bed bugs, right?

Not necessarily. Even after all this, there will still be a few survivors left living in your mattress. Which means you will have to encompass your mattress with a protective casing that will keep all the bed bugs trapped inside. Yes, you will be sleeping on a Sarcophagus of blood hungry vermin for about a year at this point. Only then, will you POSSIBLY get rid of the plague that is bed bugs.

To make a long story short. I would rather swallow a gallon of live millipedes marinated in a spicy Vindaloo while laying on a bed of nails than ever, eeever deal with bed bugs in my life again.

Rapido!

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The joyful & unbroken creative power that sustains the universe.

I get to work a few minutes after 5:00. No one says anything my tardiness. I zip off my jacket and squeeze it into a cabinet under the bar along with the straws, stop tops, and rags. I’m a bartender at an Indian restaurant.

First I take the cover off of all the alcohol bottles: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec. Bowman’s alcohol, the cheap rail stuff. Four bucks a bottle I bet. Bowman’s vodka tastes like it is distilled through a vacuum cleaner.  I unveil the finer liquors. The scotches, a drink for gentlemen: Johnny Walker, Macallan, Glenfiddich. With only a shot – you can absorb some sophistication by drinking molten gold. It’ll put hair on your chest though – so watch out!

I’m now already cutting lemons in the kitchen. Why are you still reading about the alcohol?  Stop lagging behind! Hurry up! Rapido rapido!  In the hospitality business there is no time to lose, not even for the people reading this paper. So move your ass!

In the kitchen I greet the cooks, Udu, Alok, and the bread guy Peter. They’re all smiles and enthusiasm. Ram, one of the waiters, comes up from behind and picks me up, threatening to put me in the tandoor. I slap him in the face and his scheme to bake me into a crispy piece of naan fails.

Peter tells me another bread maker in Deli murdered his wife this way. He cut her up into pieces and put her in the tandoor. Not the smartest murder, but it would make a good CSI episode.

The tandoor method of making bread hasn’t changed much over the last 5,000 years. It is basically a large fire pit heated to a temperature over 400 degrees. Baking bread in this Neolithic machine is a dance with fire, a dance that Peter partakes in ten hours a day, six days a week. He takes a piece of dough and spins it like a pizza – a process that seems simple enough. Yet after this task comes the dangerous part. He has to place the dough on the metal walls of the fire pit, with his hand as his only tool. He does this task a hundred times a day; I bet he could do it with his eyes closed and playing baseball with the other arm. He shows me his arms, the hairs are charred and multiple burns cover his flesh.

I walk past the cooking area and ask Oscar, one of the kitchen staff, for help.

“Donde esta la juga de pina?”

Oscar reaches up and grabs the pineapple juice for me. He laughs about my height – I am muy chiquita.

Oscar has a bright red scar on his finger that stretches from knuckle to nail. He refuses to get medical attention. Like most of the staff he shrugs it off, and leaves the healing process to fate. The other kitchen worker, Maria, reaches for a crate containing about 40 dirty dishes. It looks to be about 20 lbs. Much like with Peter and his bread though, Maria does this task almost as often as she breathes. She is also eight months pregnant.

Now I am back at the bar. Rapido, rapido! The waiters yell as I make drinks. The entire wait staff is Indian, yet they frequently communicate with one another in Spanish. A habit they picked up from the kitchen staff. Their “rapido’s” end up transforming into “lapidos or shlapidos.” And then through the two American staff members, it morphs into “lapedo.”

The waiters gossip amongst themselves in a cocktail of different languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Spanish, and English.

Moti Moti Moti! Ram clucks as he walks behind the Pakistani hostess.

“I know what that means!” she yells, “Stop calling me fat!”

She explains that her language, Urdu, is almost identical to Hindi.

“Look at these guys!” She yells over to me, “Aren’t they creepy?” Everyone laughs.

I make her favorite drink. A virgin Mai tai: pineapple and cranberry juice. If you’ve never tried the combination you should – it’s a nice tropical drink to enjoy on a breezy summer afternoon.

I myself drink the Chai tea prepared by the bus boy. It’s an eclectic mix of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and sugar. The American customers miss out on this delicacy. Their chai tea is served bland because the waiters assume American’s don’t like the more complex flavor.

Then the drink orders come in.

“A Taj Mahal with two glasses, one coke, one diet coke, and a pinot greeeeseot (pino gregio).”

No sooner do I start to make this drink when a second order is yelled at me.

“A curry leaf martini, an appletini, and two mango margaritas!”

“Lapido ! Rapido!”

In the middle of the order, water jugs begin to breed on the bar top. Each one requires ice and water from the sink. One, two, and now four jugs lay before me. The customers propagate quicker than the jugs. A tall skinny Indian man has been waiting for service for about ten minutes. He begins to wring his fingers and check his watch. A couple sits down at the bar – they need menus – and someone to take their order. All the while the jugs keep multiplying, the wait grows longer, the curry leaf martini is half finished and the other drinks haven’t even been started. The couple needs a place matt. The tall skinny man needs change for his purchase.

“Rapido, rapido!”

The phone begins to ring.

Welcome to ____, Fuck you. I say – I wish I could say.

“Welcome to ______, how can I help you?”

“What are your lamb dishes?”

We have over 40 items on the menu. I don’t have time for this. Ram asks where his drinks are for the second time. I shove the phone into his hands and try to finish his order.

A woman with curly hair wants to pick up her take out order at the bar. I place a bag before her and go over the items on the receipt. Yes, yes – she insists the bag is her own. She waves me off, and walks out the door with the food.

20 minutes later a man is upset because his order is missing.

Raj, the head waiter, gestures for me to fix the problem.

I pull an apology out of my ass.

For the third time Ram comes by asking for his drinks. The customers have already finished their food, they’re wondering where their drinks are.

“Have you made the Appletini yet?”

“Yes”

He begins making a drink. It is a bright green fluid in a cocktail glass garnished with a cherry.

“I made that drink already! That’s an appletini!”

I hear a string of Malayalam explicative accentuated with English “Fucks!”

Raj helps me take orders. I continue making the drinks.

The customer traffic dies down and sanity is restored.

A woman in her 40’s drinks a margarita and insists to her husband, on the phone, that she hasn’t had a drop to drink.

A man in a blue blazer and a crew cut is texting his friend.

“He’s at the Congressional Black Caucus hearing the president speak. We were supposed to catch some drinks tonight – but hey, when you get tickets to hear the president speak, it’s kinda hard to turn a thing like that down.”

“Can you text your friend to tell Obama I said ‘hi?’” I ask.

Obama never returned my “hi.”

Guess who I’m voting for?

The last few customers trickle out and the clock on the register hits 10:30. Closing time!

“Turn off the sign Drew!” I yell to a waiter. “Lapedo Lapedo!”

The neon “Open” sign is turned off. We eat biryani rice – my favorite.

I collect my tips.

“Oh you’re rich!” The bus boy jokes.

“Yeah, you and me are gonna run off to Vegas.” I reply.

I drive Ram home. Most of the staff doesn’t drive – not because they don’t know how, but because their driver’s licenses from their home countries are not accepted in the U.S. Two of the staff members bike home. Eight of the staff live together.

“This is no life.” Ram says. “Work six days a week. Ten AM to Ten PM. In America and don’t have time to see America. But what can you do?”

Their days aren’t linear, but cyclical, like the Goddess herself. Each day begins and ends exactly like the one that came before. No one calls out sick and few complain on the job.  As a customer we only see exotic food and smiles. Little do we know their backstory. All we know is that they are a joyful and unbroken creative force that sustains our experience.


If I die and I’m a Mormon, Can I Call Dibs on Saturn?

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What’s going to happen when I die?  Will I become crispy like fallen leaves and dissolve into ash? Will I droop as the frost bitten flowers of yesterday’s spring? Will my soul transcend into a nether realm of eternal light? Or is the “soul” nothing more than a connection of synaptic flashes in the brain that dim under a gray winter sky?

For centuries prophets, gurus, talk show hosts, and phone mediums with fake Jamaican accents have investigated the question of death. Perhaps there isn’t one answer, but many. Egyptians have their hearts weighed by a talking alligator and Mormons inherit their own planet – I call dibs on Saturn. Would Mormon Jesus let me do that? And if he did, would I automatically have dibs on Saturn’s moons as well? Maybe I’ll convert and start my own real-estate business in the afterlife. Or maybe we’re already dead, and Adam and Eve were the Mormon souls who inherited the Earth.

I hope not. What a disappointment.

Does each animal have their own heaven too, or is heaven a human only zone? I hope for the former.

Heaven is a celestial zoo for all life-forms. There is eukaryotic heaven, prostista heaven, fungus heaven, an ethereal realm for all – except bed bugs of course; bed bugs burn in hell.

Cows roam eternal pastures of lime green grass; cats retire to the land of yarn; and goldfish swim the Elysian bowls of porcelain ivory – the clearest, bluest waters that a toilet can offer.

What happens though, if the bureaucratic process of heaven selection gets mixed up? The angelic clerks who preside over this process are privy to a mistake every now and then. Why do you think the platypus exists? God can make mistakes, okay?

What if I die, and I am accidently teleported to Lady Bug heaven, and I’m doomed to lick aphids off of leaves for an eternity. Or maybe I’m reborn as a shoe in a closet that breaches three different time zones. How I became a part of Mariah Carey’s heaven? Don’t ask me.

When I was six years old I became obsessed with the question of death. My parents weren’t particularly religious – so I was never given a finite answer about the process.

I had religious neighbors who tried to fill in that spiritual void. They were the kind of Christians who said “God Bless” on their answering machine and they wouldn’t let their daughter, Rebeccca, watch 90 out of a 100 television channels because that 90% was “satanic.”

On Sundays they took me to church, which my secular parents didn’t mind, because it was a form of free babysitting. I didn’t mind because Rebecca and I got to make glitter Jesus t-shirts.

“Only believers go to heaven,” Rebecca’s mom told me.

“What if the person is a baby, and doesn’t know about Jesus?”

She explained that all the unbaptized babies went to purgatory along with pre-Christian pagans who never had the opportunity to hear the Good Word. I conjured in my mind an image of people like Julius Caesar and Cleopatra – surrounded by a sea of screaming poopy babies.

My Catholic grandmother had a different story. According to her Jesus died for our sins, so everyone had a ticket to heaven.

“Can my pets come to heaven too?”

“Heaven is a paradise where you can have whatever you want, right?”

“Uh…yeah.”

“Therefore, if you want your pets, they’ll be there.”

My father’s story was less optimistic.

“Heaven doesn’t exist,” he said flatly. “But maybe there’s reincarnation?”

With all these conflicting opinions, I realized that I would have to find my own solution. The solution came to me in a dream. Death washed over me not as a bitter winter wind, but as a warm, amber ocean wave. I woke up on a beach of toasty sand. The angel of death stood above me, and pulled me up with her white arms. She had choppy, mosaic features like an image shining through a stained glass window. We were on the other side of the horizon, she informed me.

She took me to the beach shore, which was populated by empty Condominiums. There was no furniture, carpeting, insulation, books, supplies, or anything in these units; only hard floors of concrete and missing walls. Yet the people who lived here were blissful, content.

Death is the greatest happiness. It is peace without material supplication; Liberation from the needs of existence; a departure from Samsara – the Hindu wheel of continued existence and pain.

Stone walls do not a prison make

Nor Iron bars a cage

Minds innocent and quiet take

That for a hermitage

If I have freedom in my love

And in my soul am free

Angels alone that soar above

Enjoy such liberty

~ Richard Lovelace 1618-1657

Noah’s Ark and the Bunny Apocalypse

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Growing up my family had pets from all five animal kingdoms: birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish. We had chameleons from Hawaii that my dad smuggled into the continental states, geckos, iguanas, snakes, parakeets, mice, crickets, worms, rabbits, cats, dogs, newts, salamanders, and fish – a large variety of fish. We had two of each animal. I wouldn’t be surprised if my dad had a unicorn stashed in the closet.

With multiple creatures come multiple personalities. Many of our animals were liberal spirits at heart, roaming the house quite freely – despite our best efforts to contain them. The gecko liked to hide behind paintings. Perhaps his own coloration made him identify with Van Gogh – his back was bright blue with black dots, his underbelly neon orange.

Flick the parakeet wasn’t much of a talker, but a great listener. He was my first mate who sat on my shoulder while I played pirates. While he was only a first mate, he constantly tried to promote himself to captain. When I placed him on my shoulder, he used his beak and talons to climb up my hair and stand on my head. He would also mutiny against me when I tried placing him into his cage. When I wasn’t looking, he would reach his beak through the bars of the cage, push the latch away, and escape to tease the cat, poop on the sofa, and commit other acts of pirate barbarity. I never asked where he hid his “treasures,” nor did I want to know.

Then there was Adora the gender bending rabbit. When my family first received Adora, the cashier at Pet Smart informed us that our rabbit was a girl. Shortly after, we decided that Adora needed a gal pal so she didn’t get lonely. Two weeks later our two female rabbits somehow managed to create 12 nugget sized, furless creatures. Either it was an act of immaculate conception, or Adora was more of a Hugh Hefner than a Playboy bunny.

Before Adora got married, when he was a Bachelor bunny, his nature was much more peaceful. He would amble into my lap like a self-possessed fur ball and watch TV with me. His head tucked between his front legs, his ears drooping over his sides. He would sit there calmly for hours and soon my lap would begin to feel warm, as if I was holding a loaf of freshly baked bread. I thought it was the warmth of affection, but when I looked down I realized that it was the call of nature. It’s difficult to train bunnies to use a litter box.

Yet after his bachelor days were over, our relationship changed. As I tried to hold him in my lap he would kick me with his back legs or chomp on my fingers like they were peach colored carrots. Every moment he spent away from his wife was a moment he missed out on fulfilling the creed of the Bunny profit Abraham – he needed to go forth and multiply; and bunnies were very devout to this principal.

Adora didn’t discriminate. He fulfilled the Abrahamic creed with his wife, daughters, and any object that moved. Within a month two bunnies turned to 12, and 12 bunnies turned to 30. Within a year we would’ve had a full blown bunny invasion on our hands. If the trend continued, bunnies would be popping out of cabinets, falling from the ceiling, and flooding the house in a tidal wave of poofy, fluffy fertility. A throbbing mass of button eyed cotton tailed creatures would descend upon us like a plague of locusts. It would be the final apocalypse. A bunny apocalypse; which I admit, wouldn’t be a bad way to go.

My parents decided that they couldn’t let the bunny apocalypse happen. Therefore they needed to take action. One day, the whole cotton tailed tribe vanished.

“We took them to a farm, a bunny farm.” My Dad said simply. He said it was a place where they could run free, feed off of vegetables, and get lots of fresh air and sunshine. It was bunny heaven.

Today I have to wonder if this is true, or if they simply released the poor creatures into the woods. I guess wherever they are, they’ll be a force of fur and fertility for another person and another day.

Don’t Buy a Python!

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Many children grow up believing that they have a monster in their basement. The only difference with my childhood is that the monster was actually real. I was around 8 years old when my dad brought a Burmese Python home.

He let me hold the creature and even took pictures. It was three feet long and smooth like leather. Its feather light tongue flicked in the air as it slithered up my shoulders. My dad informed me that snakes guide themselves by their sense of taste. I should’ve asked it for fashion advice. It’s no wonder that so many models wear snake skin clothing.

Sometime later my dad came home from Pet Smart with a gerbil in a white box. It had moist black eyes and silk soft fur. I took the gerbil out of the box and placed it in my lap. As I stroked my new friend, I felt the pulse of his beating heart through the warmth of its tummy. I began to go through a list of possible names: “Fuzzy”, “Gerald the Gerbil”, “Fluff Ball”, “Brownie.” I got up to perform some task – I don’t remember what it was. I put the nameless creature back into his box. About thirty minutes later I heard a shrill scream from the basement, the poor guy never ended up getting a name.

It was only a few weeks later that my dad found out that it wasn’t necessary to feed a python live food, it was perfectly content to eat raw chicken wings. As the months passed into years, the belly of the beast swelled to the width of a grapefruit and it achieved a length longer than Shaquille O’Neil is tall; our snake grew to be 8 feet long.  On average, a Burmese Python can grow to 12 feet in its lifetime.

A detail I neglected to mention in this story is that my baby sister was sleeping upstairs. While the python was 8 feet long, she was about the size of a bucket of chicken wings.

When my dad was at work, my mother conceived of secret ways to kill the monster. Sometimes she would place a fan in front of its cage, and pump out the cool air at full power. Other times she sprayed it with bleach.  Yet the beast kept growing all the same. She could’ve taken the beast out of the cage and attempted to slice it with a knife – but like the rest of us, she was terrified. She could only attack from afar, if she got too close, she would’ve got bit by its razor edged fangs, or perhaps something worse.

My mom begged my dad to either sell it – or just kill the damn thing himself.

So my dad ended up calling pet stores, pet traders, snake owners, and even the zoo! But no one was interested paying for an 8 foot long Burmese Python. Then he contemplated the possibilities of releasing it into the wild, only to imagine the destruction he would cause when a few children started to go missing. Finally, he realized that he had to take the least appealing option. He had to kill his beloved monster.

He ended up placing the python into the freezer, believing this to be the most humane death possible. It’s hard for me to understand why he sympathized for a creature capable of eating children and strangling a horse. Yet he was the one who fed it, he was the one who helped it grow.

It may have been a monster, but it was his monster.

A Eulogy for Borders

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Today, e-readers are enabling more authors than ever before to publish their work. Stories are cheaper and thus more people around the world are reading, which is good.

Yet with the death of the nation’s second most prominent book store marks the end of an era. Gone are the living, breathing characters who exited the two dimensional pages of a book to come to life. Dead is the tactile interaction with lore. And even more dead is the social meeting ground for screaming twilight fans, or dressed up wizards standing in line for hours in anticipation for the midnight release of the next Harry Potter Book.

You don’t usually think of a eulogy being spoken for a bookstore. Let alone a massive retailing enterprise. The purpose of a eulogy is to say a few words about a person before they die, to honor their memory, to celebrate the prominent moments of their life, so that while their life is over, their memory is immortal.

Borders wasn’t just a friend, but it was a family for me. Amazon may offer cheaper merchandise, but they don’t have restrooms you can use if you’re having an emergency.

When I was a child, Borders represented my indoctrination into the world of books. It offered a brightly colored, tactile, and tangible jungle for me to explore. I remember roaming around the towering shelves with a sense of wonder – hoping nothing would fall on me. The newest in 90’s hits played over the speakers: the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Smashing Pumpkins. The smell of coffee and chocolate banana muffins wafted into my nostrils. As I leafed through the pages of each book, a hundred different fantasies entered me through the touch of my fingers tips.

As a young adult I began my employment at Borders. Like any good book, Borders had its share of characters, and I have to wonder to myself – where will these characters make their home now?

When I signed up for the job, I was required to take an online personality test – which I failed twice – you can only imagine the effect on my self-esteem. Luckily, my friend Mel worked in the café, and as the old cliché goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.

As I worked at Borders, I realized that it was a haven for groups of people who weren’t into things like bars, clubs, or friends.

One of the gentlemen who resided in the manga section was an aspiring priest in his late twenties. Every day he wore goggles, sweat-pants, and drank an indulgence of soda water, almond, hazelnut, and coconut syrup. He described it as a carbonated Almond Joy.

Yet even more eccentric was the Mathematician. His formula for a tasty snack was a chocolate chip brownie microwaved at exactly 49 seconds. It didn’t matter what I was doing, even if I was cleaning the juice out of the garbage cans he would talk to me about his computer program that could predict the patterns of the housing market.

In addition to these lovable eccentrics, there were other story book characters who must’ve escaped from the pages of the books themselves; probably to use the restroom, or catch a nap on the sofa.

A gnome slept in the gardening section, although my boss argued that he was “Father Time”. More practical (and therefore more boring) was another co-worker’s theory that he was a hobo.

However, in this story I am going to insist that he was a gnome. But anyhow, everyday without fail, the gnome would come to the café to check the time and then ask for “a bloody cup of hot water.” What he used the hot cup of water for; I’m not sure, since he didn’t appear to have any tea on him.

One day, he gave me something he called his Business Card. It was the name of a Vision Improvement Center with directions to a pawn shop scribbled on top. He said if I wanted to make money, I should meet him there on Sundays. Perhaps he was going to show me his Gardening tools.

Santa Clause, a heavy but jolly man with white stubble, came almost nightly and always left a generous tip of five dollars.  Then he would complain about Obama, and the failure of the Borders Business model – which he ended up being right about. Perhaps this financial wisdom is what has been keeping Santa Claus in business all these centuries.

The people who weren’t regulars of Borders have consoled grieving customers by saying, “at least you can go to Barnes and Nobles;” Barnes and Nobles, a store with such a sterile atmosphere that you could safely get heart surgery on a shelf.

Borders was so friendly that we would let people sit in our cafe all day, use the internet, read books – all without buying a single thing. It was our ludicrously generous policies that ultimately put us out of business: Forty percent off coupons on everything and a free coffee for every five purchased.

If anyone let Borders fail, it was not the employees, but the poor decision making skills of the CEO. He had us try to sell “glitter balls” with each purchase, for five bucks a pop. Is it so hard to imagine why Borders failed when our best plan was “glitter balls?”

Yes, with death there is creation. We are entering an era reminiscent of the Printing Press boom of the 17th century. Scribes who embellished royal scrolls with gold leaf were replaced by legions of ink blocks. Ultimately the Printing Press was a good thing; it unlocked a world of literature for a class of people who never even held a book before.

Yet as I give this eulogy I struggle to imagine where Steve the Mathematician, the Garden gnome, Republican Santa Claus, Anime Geeks, Vampires, and Wizards will all live.

On the day that Borders died, the world became that much more two dimensional.