Editor’s Note: In an effort to keep Quirk E. Cat from knocking items off our desks, we have assigned him to Advice Column duty. We apologize in advance.
Dear Quirk E. Cat,
I’m writing to you today hoping you’ll settle a bet between me and my best friend. She and I share everything and by everything I mean our home libraries. We’ve been friends for over ten years, so at this point it seems frivolous to keep track of who has what book when. If we’re really craving a reread of something, we’ll just pull it off the other person’s shelf. No big deal. But that gets to our actual issue: my friend recently went through a Marie Kondo phase and while she didn’t get rid of any books, she did throw out all her bookmarks. Now when she reads, she keeps track of her place by dog-earing the top corner. This isn’t a problem for the books she rightfully owns – I’m not here to tell her what to do with her own pages. But because our books are so intermingled, she’s started practicing the dog-earing habit on my books too. How do I ask her to stop and still maintain this decade-long friendship?
Not All Dog-Eared Books Go to Heaven
Did my editor put you up to this? Or better yet, are you my editor!? I swear, I read every single email that comes in. I don’t – as you so rudely insinuated in the last staff meeting – take cat naps on my keyboard, deleting emails left and right. You don’t have to test me by sending me absurd fake advice questions where the word “dog” is used not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. It’s so in-fur-iating I can hardly stand it.
Okay. So…I just got back from my editor’s office. I may have gone a little overboard. Advanced Reader Copies were ripped to shreds, books were knocked off shelves. Her desk looks worse than my scratching post. Long story short, the damages are coming out of my paycheck. Oh. And this is a real email. So…
Hey Dog-Eared – my buddy, my pal. How are things? How’s the ol’ BFF? Still destroying your LITTERature? I sure know what that’s like.
But seriously – and I’m only going to say this once – if this dog-earing thing is aggravating you as much as you say it is, there’s only one thing to do. You and your best friend need to separate your book collections. In the short term, it’s going to be painful. You’ve been lending each other books for ten years. You’ve been generous with these characters and the beautiful worlds they inhabit. But your friend is inadvertently causing damage to a library that you may have for the rest of your life. And while you may be dreading a literary divorce, I know that your friendship will survive this.
Turn the whole thing into a two-part fete – one night at your home, the other at hers. Spend the evening with your favorite food and drink and the memories of each time you loaned a book to each other. Give toasts to the characters that made your friendship stronger. This a celebration of your friendship. Treat it like one.
I’m rooting for you two. I really am.
Quirk E. Cat