Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in the Bookstore

It’s hard to write about Christmas without resorting to maudlin platitudes, crass commercialism, miserable complaints or childlike retarded cheer. The only good thing about writing about Christmas is that you’re certain to offend someone and it’s easy to pretend innocence as to why. But enough. Christmas at Beazley Books is like Martin Luther King Day in Moscow....subdued. No Christmas music, surreptitious drinking beginning at noon, and calm people (see: drinking beginning at noon).

I like Christmas in the bookstore because it’s easy to pretend it’s 1842. People come in with lists of names, not lists of gifts. They spend a lot of time looking for the right gift for Aunt Sophie who had very poor judgment in her youth and Uncle Norm who really should have known better last summer in Cuba. Sometimes people wake me up and ask for advice about what to get for a sibling or a friend but usually they know better and make their own mistakes. Some people stumble in from an afternoon of Christmas shopping and become disoriented. No music, no tinsel.

But there’s one evil even the bookstore strains to keep at bay: the It’s-For-A- Good-Cause people trolling for money (in 1842 they were called beggars and you were allowed to kick them). I keep a sharp machete on the counter to discourage them but some have religion and are drawn to martyrdom. I am not completely without a heart, however. If the spirit moves you this year, you can make a cash donation to: The Beazley Books Fund for the Enrichment of Beazlies.