A 69-year-old French woman was recently locked in her bathroom when the doorknob broke, and spent three weeks in there before someone finally noticed she hadn’t picked up her mail for a while. The bathroom didn’t have any windows, and she evidently didn’t follow the number one rule of bathroom safety – always keep a fire ax handy in case your doorknob breaks. I can’t tell you how many times that one’s saved me.
The woman survived by drinking tap water, but couldn’t get the attention of anyone else in her apartment building, even by banging on the pipes and the walls. The neighbors said they heard the banging, but thought it was workmen, and eventually started a petition to stop the noise. I can’t imagine who would be working in the middle of the night, but maybe that’s common in France. Or maybe the neighbors are all idiots.
What I didn’t understand was why the lady didn’t just stop up the drain in the bathtub or sink and run the water until someone came to find out what was causing the flood. But what do I know? When she was interviewed after her ordeal, the woman said her only regret was that she didn’t have a French copy of my book in there with her, to keep her entertained.
OK, she didn’t say that, but I imagine it would have helped. Granted, my book isn’t published in French, but I’m considering it. I’m also considering having it translated into German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Swahili, and whatever language my teenage sons speak. That one would be full of m’s and n’s, and not much else. My only holdup is that my publisher won’t answer my calls anymore. I think it was something about my idea of having copies of my book included in Happy Meals. Publishers are apparently pretty picky these days. If it’s not their idea . . .
My publisher did, I must admit, create a website for my book, although I can’t, technically, find it on the internet now. I know it’s there, somewhere, because I’ve seen it, and I’m supposed to be maintaining it, but I seem to have misplaced it somehow. I don’t think anyone would steal it, so I’m probably not looking in the right place. It doesn’t matter, anyway, as far as maintenance goes – I have a hard enough time writing columns on time and putting my socks in the right drawer. I’d never get around to doing anything on a website, even if I could find it.
I did find other websites selling my book, though. One, called Buy.com, offers my $15 book for $27.95, plus four bucks for shipping. Now, math wasn’t my best subject in school, but it seems to me someone is trying to make a few extra bucks selling The Buck Never Got Here for way more than the normal retail price. My advice would be, if you want a copy of my book, don’t buy it from Buy.com.
But Amazon.com seems to be confused, too. They have the book listed, new, for either $11.69 or $10.29. Your choice, I suppose. I haven’t figured that one out yet, but even more baffling is that they also offer used copies starting at $14.99, which is the regular retail price. I guess Amazon thinks some people just can’t be bothered to go to all the trouble of breaking in a new book, and they’re willing to pay extra to have it done for them. Which makes a sort of sense, if you’re dumber than a dust jacket.
The bottom line is that there’s no telling what you’ll find on the internet, but if you do decide someone on your Christmas list needs a copy of my book, you’re probably better off buying it directly from me. That way you can get it for $14.99 plus $3 shipping, or $10 plus $8 shipping, or free, but then the shipping costs $18. Or I can put a C note in it for a bookmark, and the price is $14.99 plus $103 shipping. Your choice. Just be aware that sometimes bookmarks get lost in the mail.
Plus, if you order from me, I’ll personally autograph your book with my very own name, or, if you prefer, I’ll sign Rush Limbaugh’s name, or George Bush’s, or whoever. They don’t care. I asked them.
My friend, Judy Jurek, who is a fine writer herself, just ordered some books to give to folks at Christmas, and she sent me a bio on each recipient, and asked me to write something pertaining particularly to each person. I can do that, too, although they cost an extra $3. But the shipping is free, so it works out.
The main thing you need to remember is to have a copy of my book in each room of your house, in case you get locked in there for three weeks. And put some matches in each room, too, so you can light the book on fire and send some smoke signals. People just don’t pay any attention to banging noises anymore . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who plans to write another book, on things to do while you’re locked in your bathroom. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org