I Read It In a Book
Chuck Wendel and I often got in heated discussions about a variety of things. Often, we would argue about whether or not a word he used was actually in the dictionary. One of our biggest brouhahas was over the past tense of the word shit. if you know the past tense, you will be a rare individual in my opinion. He also teased me about being a retired teacher of English and not being a very good speller.
Of course, I had to agree that I never, as a child, read the dictionary from cover to cover, but according to Chuck he did. Given the number of times I lost my arguments on the existence of a word or how it would be spelled, I have no doubt he did.
One thing Chuck and I had in common was our love of books. He had owned a bookstore at one time (my secret all time dream) and throughout his life rescued old books and collected them in both English and German. We often searched the Internet for information about the books he owned. Having been a teacher, I brought my modest collection into our library, most of my books were on history, poetry, writing and religion. While my books took up one set of shelves, Chuck’s numbered in the thousands.
We were both avid readers, and after his stroke because it was difficult to figure out how he could comfortably read a book, I read to him but not often. He could remember the content of all of the books he had written, and would refer folks who called with questions, to a book of his that might contain the answer. As he was writing his final book on steam locomotives before his stroke, he had volumes of references to use on his shelves.
During our years together we had many disagreements in which there did not seem to be a way to compromise. It could have been as complex as Luther’s works, or as simple as whether to use lard or butter in a recipe. When all else failed, we would end our discussion with this dialog.
Question: How do you know that?
Answer: I read it in a book.
We both used this ploy often. IT KEPT US LAUGHING.
And given the number of books we had both admitted to reading, it very well could have been true.