Humor by Chason Gordon. See below.
I’ve always wanted to own a book ladder (see above). It’s not typically associated with status symbols, like a two car garage or a remote controlled barbeque, but it matters to me most. I’d rather climb it than any kind of social ladder.
I’m not referring to those step stools kids use to reach their dad’s gun, or the ladders with the false step and a metal tray for beer, or the ladders Mario uses to reach Donkey Kong and the Princess. These mean nothing to me. What I desire is a towering book ladder which reaches high into the upper shelves of a monstrously pretentious book collection. That is what I want, and it must have wheels, for which to slide on.
The ladder will look over a massive office where the bookshelves reach to the ceiling (perhaps higher), where soaring windows shed light on the endlessness of the stacks, and where a grooved track system allows me to slide around the office in a “U” formation (for it is the vowel which is most suited to transportation), and find the exact book I need.
Whether or not I’ve read the books is of no consequence, but they must there, so I will have someone take care of that. I want the books to be all hardcover, the most limited of editions, in which the author wrote personal notes to the editor, slandering his wife and family. None of the books need to open secret passageways, but if they do, it will only be to more books, perhaps my most special ones.
The sight of the ladder will astonish my visitors, as if to say, “Look, my knowledge is so extensive I require a physical contraption to reach all of it, while the rest of humanity is limited to the ground, with the two or three things they know.” My clever friend might respond, “Ah, but I prefer to keep what I know close to my heart,” at which point I will run him over with the book ladder.
I want the ladder to always be part of the conversation, so no matter what a friend is discussing, I could say, “You know, that reminds me of…” and pull the ladder to a predetermined location, climb to the precise level, open a book, and nod knowingly, “Yes, this is what I was thinking of,” muttering a line of Joyce, or Eliot, or Blake, and descending the ladder as I read in a professorial tone, eventually handing the book to my friend, as if he asked for it. This would give the impression that all the contents and wisdom of the books are always at my mind’s grasp, easily referenced and quoted, as though I read them yesterday.
My friends will often find me sitting atop the ladder reading when they come in, but they will never see me sliding across the room on it, letting my hands drag against the leather-bound hardbacks in an orgiastic haze. They will find me up there drinking tea and staring deeply out my thirty-foot windows, but they will never see me spill it and slip down the ladder, comically hitting my chin against every rung as I fall. No, they will not see that.
They will see only what I want and dream of: a shimmering Babylonian spire of steps, ascending high above my desk and always revolving globe (spinning at a speed linked to the earth’s rotation). They will see me climb up to unimaginable heights and disappear into clouds of dust, returning with a warm smile, as though retrieving the book from the hand of God. Taking a deep breath, they will look at me, astonished, and say, “Chason, when is the rest of the house going to be built?”
“When I can afford it Pete, when I can afford it.”