Christmas snippet

1-uncleHi all you BigD-ers and supporters.  Have a great Christmas!  I hope the day brings you joy and something nice to eat.  This post is just for Christmas.

This post is just for Christmas.

A Christmas Story

As part of my Christmas, earlier this week I had an interesting experience.  I went for my usual Christmas haircut at my usual barber.  The guy settling into the chair before me was an elderly gentleman who has owned one of the local coffee shops since Adam was on the breast (hmm, not sure who’s breast that might be…).  Anyway, I was surprised to see him there, because ever since I’ve known him (not personally, just to look at), he’s worn a very cheap wig plonked on top of his head.  It is vaguely human-ish hair, vaguely grey, almost matching the long wispy hair around his ears and the back of his neck.  But it is plainly a wig, and one with a mind of its own, rarely even trying to sit straight and hair-like. It sits more like a hairy hat, worn at a jaunty angle in a devil-may-care attitude.  Most people who visit his shop are used to it to the extent they unsee it most of the time.  However, turning up at the barber’s seemed to me to be one step too far.

Not so for the barber, who was in a far more advanced state of unseeing.  He sprayed his head all over with water mist and started combing.  Same as usual? says he.  Yes, says coffee shop man: Just clean up at the back and around the ears.  So he did; not once clipping or nudging the rug covering his cranial bowling ball.  A few minutes later, with newly short back and sides, he paid and departed.

I moved into the chair briefly meeting the barber’s eye.  No one said a word.

Every village has its personalities.  I’m not sure if ours is the coffee shop man or the barber.

My Christmas Theme

I decided to buy something a little different for the adults in our family this year.  Early this year I worked through a MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course on the Internet, called Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World.  It was six weeks long and each week involved reading a book a week, watching a lecture, writing a short essay and marking two other essays.  I enjoyed it immensely.

And one of the many things I learned was that many of the classics are classics for a reason.  Their problem – or my problem – is that they are so well known, turned into movies, plays and otherwise used and referred to, that I thought knew them, and so often didn’t bother to actually read them.  Some I had read, but others like Alice in Wonderland and HG Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Invisible Man, I had ignored.  So much pleasure missed needlessly.

If it can happen to me, it can happen to others.  So this Christmas I decided to give everyone a classic.  Not just any classic, but those based on a formula: it should be a classic in English, I had to have read and liked it, it should be a hardback (no ebooks or paperbacks) and the actual book should be second hand – I love the feel and spirit of books that others have read before (and scribbled notations in the margin too if possible).  In short a working member of our Classics heritage.

I bought most online, from Australian (Brotherhood Books) and US (Better World Books) second hand charity bookshops.

On the day, I got a lot of puzzled looks, but after some fast talking, things have worked pretty well.  I think most receivers will read theirs, and if they like them, maybe others too.  Books I gave include (authors are obvious): A Tale of Two Cities, Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, Northanger Abbey, Lord Jim, Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury), Catcher in the Rye, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland.

Well, That’s my Christmas snippet for this year.  Hope you have/had a cool Yule!

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