Evil Dwight took time from his busy schedule to send me a link to a local Houston blogger who apparently works for Half Price Books saying “This should bring back memories” to which I responded “Yea, memories of being held up at gunpoint!”
Back in the 80’s I worked for Half Price Books when it was located in the converted church building on Waugh Drive.
One night as I was working the late shift I recall being in the process of chasing off the habitual and perpetual browsers so we could close up for the night.
As I was doing this I remember asking one particular customer if he wanted to go ahead and make his purchase. He said he needed to find his wife and went into the back shelf area. I headed back to the checkout and then felt a tug at my sleeve.
When I turned around there was that guy. In his hand was a .38 caliber revolver. He walked me the rest of the way to the register and demanded the money. I pulled about $300 out of the till and handed it to him.
At this point he asked me to come outside and around the back of the building. I knew why. I knew he was going to kill me. I looked at him, I looked at the gun and I thought…”I’m going to die”
Somehow I managed to speak. I said “Look, just leave. You have the money. I’ll lay down behind the counter. I won’t see which way you went and I won’t call the cops.” He looked at me, he looked at the door and he looked at me again. He told me to lie down. I did. He left.
I stayed in the floor until a co-worker came up out of the back sorting area a few minutes later and asked why I was on the floor. He had missed the whole thing. I could barely speak. I told him (as best I could) to call 911 and that we had been robbed.
The cops came and I gave my report.
One might think that would have been that. Chalk up another personal experience and let’s move on. But no, there’s more to this story…
Since the beginning of our relationship, on occasion, Cynthia would get a wistful look in her eye and say to me “Jay, if we ever win the lottery, I’m buying an O.E.D.
I’ve always told her we should just buy one, but it was an extravagance she would not indulge as they are rather expensive. As she has a degree in library science, I’ve always thought she should have one but knew she would frown on me if I paid out the asking price.
Over the years I’ve asked if she would consider the condensed or mini-version of the O.E.D. and she would flatly say no. In more recent years the O.E.D. has been made available in CD ROM format but Cynthia would have none of it.
Last week as I was tinkering around on the Internet I casually typed Oxford English Dictionary into Google. The first search result was an Amazon.com page offering the O.E.D. for $332.00. This was around $800 off off the list price which translates to roughly $600 off the price of most booksellers.
I could not believe what I was seeing.
I checked to make sure it was not the CD ROM – It wasn’t
I checked to make sure it was the 20 volume hard cover set. – It was
I checked to make sure it was being sold by Amazon and not one of their partners – It was
I thought about it and thought I should just buy this and surprise Cynthia. But I couldn’t just move on it without really making sure this was the same thing she wanted and not some abridged version or factory second or something.
I decided to show her the web page.
Like me, she was skeptical. As I suspected she would be.
We tried just searching from the Amazon page and not one of the results returned was the page we were viewing.
We both were very unsure and we even said in unison “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” It just didn’t add up. How could it be that they would sell this item, BRAND NEW, at such a discounted price. After some more discussion we agreed to give it a pass.
I had the next day off and I couldn’t let it go. If what I was seeing was correct I had the opportunity to acquire the O.E.D. for not much more than the CD ROM version which runs around $250. This would be a chance to score major spouse points!
I checked it again and I verified the return policy and I ordered it. Of course I couldn’t keep a secret and I told Cynthia. She was dubious but hopeful but didn’t allow herself to get her hopes up too terribly much.
Well, they arrived this evening. 5 boxes containing the 20 fat volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary. Individually shrink-wrapped and in perfect condition. It’s an impressive resource.
Cynthia’s in hog heaven and may not get any sleep tonight….
1. Go to Google.
2. Type “find chuck norris”
3. click “I’m feeling lucky”
Sir New England James Alan of The Light Rock Express
Cynthia baked a lemon cake from a recipe she found. After it was done she sampled it an pronounced it “inedible.”
In keeping with our “Waste Not, Want Not” policy she decided to offer it up to the birds in the yard…
The birds seemed to agree with Cynthia’s initial assessment and left the cake uneaten and in tact, even after sprinkling it with bird seed to entice them.