A regular user of the Greater Victoria Public Library system recently returned a damaged book to Saanich’s Bruce Hutchison branch. However, with the book came a clever letter of apology that is sure to draw some laughs and wag a few tails.
To the Kind and Eminently Forgiving Librarians of the GVPL Bruce Hutchison Branch:
My name is Kairos.
My human suggested rather forcefully that I write this letter to accompany his return of this book to you. Last night he sat me down for what I knew would be a serious discussion. To summarize, he told me that I lack impulse control and that it was time that I began taking responsibility for my actions, however propitious an opportunity may seem in the moment. I suspect, however, that he was simply too embarrassed to talk to you himself.
I have no such qualms. I am, after all, a border collie. I don’t do embarrassment. So here we are. And already I am quite bored.
Let me first say that of all the many books I’ve chewed to pieces in my young life, I would give this one a less-than-stellar review. To put it plainly, this volume lacked the substance and, more importantly, the texture that I have come to expect from your collection. I could not make a meal of this book, and as you can plainly see, I simply could not finish it. To be blunt, the book made me gag.
Words, you see, should be like fine food, and as a connoisseur of all things edible, (and what, by the way, is not edible?), I believe they should yield to the teeth with a satisfying crunch then slide easily down the throat. Words should not get stuck between the teeth. They should not cause indigestion. While some might argue that it is the right and the responsibility of a writer to please herself or himself only, I believe the opposite to be true: good writers are like a host of a successful dinner party, assuming responsibility for leaving their guests sated, fulfilled, and entertained. I was none of these.
Frankly, despite what my human might think, I don’t feel that I am fully to blame for the condition in which he is returning this book to you. In my view, you mis-categorized it, although to let you off the hook somewhat I’ll concede that the situation does point to certain insufficiencies in the Dewey system under which you must labour. What I mean is, if you have a designation for books for adults and a separate designation for young readers, why on earth don’t you have a section for border collies and another for, well, all other breeds? We’re not terriers or poodles, for goodness’ sake. Our needs are more discerning. While I understand that resources are limited and it is impossible to meet the needs of every possible demographic, neither should you pander to the lowest common denominator among book-lovers — the golden retrievers of this world who are quite happy to sink their teeth into whatever tripe they might find between two covers. I suggest you take this under advisement.
My human will of course reimburse you for the replacement of this book, because that is his job. When you contact him to settle his account, please speak in a clear and loud voice. I ate his hearing aids last week. His insurance company hasn’t replaced them yet.