Just say no

June 7, 2007

It’s happened to me again.

You make one careless mistake, you turn your back for a minute, and these things turn up like ants at a picnic. Even though you know that this is a highly preventable occurrence, and you swear that in the future you’ll be better, and this is absolutely the last time, it happens a couple of times a year.

I got a package from the Book of the Month Club.

I joined when #1 son was an infant, and I was stranded at home, and starving for intellectual stimulation. I got one of those offers that would net me six books for a penny, no obligation.

There never is, other than to remember to notify the company that you want to cancel the shipment, before the due date. I momentarily forgot that I am the sort of person who can’t remember to look down and make sure her shoes match each other, much less to organize bills by due date or turn the page on the calender.

Six books for a penny? Count me in. There was nothing to worry about because:

“I could quit, anytime I wanted to.”

You know who else says that? The Columbia Record Club, and crack dealers. Two more things that are much easier to start than to stop.

It didn’t take long to discover that the real name of this particular company should be “Two Books of the Month Club.”

Or perhaps, “Two Books which you will receive at increasingly random intervals.” I am suspecting too many people wised up to the monthly part, and put it on their calender so they wouldn’t forget to cancel. So the company added seasonal selections, along with what I suspect are “Christmas”, “Easter”, and “April Fool’s” selections: and the “There is nothing on the calender that would warrant our sending you a pile of 70’s spy novels, but we know you are on deadline and not opening your junk mail, and our warehouse is full of these things, so here you go. Got you, sucker!” selection.

But in my case, mostly I seem to belong to “One book you might like, and another one by James Patterson of the Month Club.”

Forgive me all you Patterson fans out there. But I read one, I think it was “Kiss the Girls,” and found it to be spectacularly misogynistic. I am not a big fan of serial killer books, and you don’t want to get me started on the topic of unnecessarily graphic violence against women. This book rubbed me the wrong way, and I decided, to each his own, but no more Patterson for me.

But, since I’d accidentally take this shipment, BOMC decided exactly the opposite. Whatever computer program records personal preferences put me down as a Patterson fan. Whenever a new book comes out, it is offered to me as a monthly selection.

And the offer invariably coincides with my forgetting to open the BOMC envelope in a timely fashion. This could have something to do with the fact that Patterson can manage, alone and with the help of co-authors, to get a book finished in the time it takes me to write this blog entry. Or maybe it’s just that his publication schedule perfectly matches my periods of forgetfulness. But his website says over 12 million sold, and I think a hundred of them came to me accidentally, via the BOMC.