Friday, October 21, 2011

The 'Bib' in 'Bibliomaniac'

*editor's note - This is a post from my old blog, "Red, White and Esoteric." It was originally posted February 22, 2007.

Most of you have met, or know of my cat, Bella. Bella is my favorite thing in the whole world. She is gray, tailless and quite fat. She is also vicious, violent and unrepentant. It would take weeks of therapy to even begin to touch on why on Earth I worship her so. Aside from Bella, my very favorite things are books. Books, unlike Bella, let me pick them up, carry them around, pet them lovingly and, in some cases, break their spines, all without complaint. I pride myself on how much I read. I was a secretly thrilled the other night at dinner as I listened to Significant Dave tell someone I don't just read books, I consume them. And it got me to thinking: what if I did really consume one?

I didn't eat a whole book of course. I thought about it, got the mental image of me sitting down at the table, fork and knife in either hand, napkin tucked in to my shirt, book on a plate. Unless you eat a paperback, I can only imagine the cover is tough to chew. And books have no nutritional value. I didn't think eating a whole book could be good for my digestive system. The term 'book binding' would take on a whole other meaning, I'm guessing. But a page, where's the harm in that? I've eaten paper before. Not recently, but I've done it. Once, in high school, I guilted my mother into buying me an expensive Georgetown Hoyas sweatshirt. She told me she wasn't sure she was going to let me keep it, so to hold onto the receipt. Of course, as soon as she turned around to leave the store, I swallowed it. Then there were those little pieces of Trident gum they said you could chew with the wrapper on. So my friends and I did, because we were cool and tough. And weird, apparently. Who chooses the "eat paper" option?

So, a page. The question was, what page? Not one from a book I didn't like. I could imagine it making it taste worse. Not an important page, from the body. That would ruin the book. I settled on the title page from a copy of Light House by William Monahan. I own two copies, because its easily the funniest book I've read. I have one copy for myself and one I lend out to a very lucky few. Next, how to eat it? There's very little preparation necessary. You don't have to peel it, slice it or bake it. I thought cramming the whole thing in my mouth would be like eating a giant spit ball, so I ripped it up into little one-inch pieces. The good thing about my apartment is that while I have no actual sustenance, I do have lots of condiments. I ate a couple of pieces dry, wadding them up into little balls, then I tried a couple dipped in ketchup and a couple dipped in maple syrup. They didn't help with the eating, though, they just hid the cardboard flavor a bit. I finished the rest by slugging them down with Diet Coke. There. I ate a piece of a book, actually consumed it. I'm proud. And still...weird.

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