My book referral system was set in stone (boots) from the time I loaned my copy of Peter Benchley’s Jaws to my high school girlfriend. Right before she left for the shore. It’s a miracle she didn’t return with a tat of some lifeguard named Sando stitched across her ass. Maybe if she had, I would have stopped recommending books to people.
Experience hasn’t helped. If anything, I became progressively worse at recommending books as time went on. Like the time I recommended The Da Vinci Code to a church friend, who damn near had a nervous breakdown after reading it. My takeaway lesson from this episode wasn’t to quit recommending books, it was to quit the church. There was the time I recommended The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to a friend . . who had just been fired. And the time I recommended Naked Lunch to a girl who had a habit of reading aloud. And a little advice?- Never recommend The Sound and the Fury to someone with ADD.
Anyways, I went back in the water. Yep, I recommended a book. Not just any book, but one of my favorite reads, Life of Pi. I figured if I was dealing from the heart, I couldn’t go wrong. Thanks for bupkus, Jane Seymour!
Here’s an excerpt . . .
“How did you like the book?” I asked.
“Ugh . . .” Was her reply.
A dubious beginning to any response, considering the history of the word.
A brief history of Ugh
“How was the play Mrs. Lincoln?
See what I mean?
“. . . I’m still reading it, but it’s so hard to get through.” She continued.
My brain was stuck in a quagmire of less than adequate responses whilst I prayed for an asteroid to shear the awkward silence. My short list was coming back emptier than the Fed.
B) Laugh maniacally until she ran away
C) Inform her she had been the subject of a sociological experiment. Hand her $100 dollars for her trouble
D) Tell her I had a week to live
E) Tell her I was the author, Yann Martel
F) Both D and E
It didn’t make sense. She is from India, a land of conjurers and a million Gods and Bengal tigers in every backyard. I know that sounds horribly stereotypical but no worries, I’m an American.
“Have you seen the movie?” I suggested.
“There’s a movie?”
Well, obviously the woman is living under a rock if she didn’t have a clue about an Academy Award winning masterpiece . . available on Blu-ray, no less! I no longer felt ashamed of my crack profiling job. Okay, I really didn’t feel ashamed to begin with.
For all I know, maybe she’d assumed Life of Pi was a recipe book. And here I was, subjecting her to a story with nary a chiffon or lemon meringue to be had. And no, Pondicherry doesn’t count.
Let this be a lesson to you, that stereotyping people can be a dangerous thing. I happened to luck out in this instance, since Indian people are pacifists.