Friday, July 27, 2012

Killing the Stranger Within

I often buy used books . . . and therein lie certain discoveries, as I often find marginalia, bookmarks, notes and whatnot inside these pages. In fact, I would rather read a used book, knowing that it has been in the hands of a previous owner and has some wear to it.

Most recently The Best American Essays 2011, edited by Edwidge Danticat offered its clandestine history to me.  As I opened the book, I noted that it had been purchased at a gift shop in a National Park--and for $19.60 to boot (a price well beyond the retail markup).  Clerk # 17 was the person who rang up the purchase, and the buyer's VISA card was used, of which I have the receipt and the last four digits.

Inside, between pages 112 & 113, I also discovered a business card for a behavioral health manager, a non-profit firm located in an Eastern state.  And stuffed next this card for health management is a prescription for the person whom, I presume, was the owner of this book before me.  I won't note the name here, as I have probably killed this person, seeing as how "he" doesn't have "his" behavioral modification drugs--as "he" never did purchase the medication prescribed.

I can't read the prescription . . . what mortal can read a doctor's handwriting (and really, can pharmacists, or do they just fill random drugs into those little plastic bottles and let the chips fall where they may, and would we really know the difference anyway if all medications were placebo)?

I can't reveal more about this used book, as it is now in my possession and has obviously travelled around the country.  But listen, if anyone out there is having behavioral issues and is saying to "himself":  Holy Toledo, I don't remember being in that National Park but I do remember thinking I was a pelican and trying to fly across Route-66 and screaming like a wild boar all the way back home because I didn't have my meds . . ."  Well, I might have your prescription.

There's an essay in there somewhere.

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