It came in the mail. A small package. A cardboard parcel no bigger than a VHS tape. I weighed it in my hands.
Definitely not a VHS tape. For one thing, it’s too heavy. For another, nobody even uses tapes anymore.
Not long ago, families had to rent VCRs from the supermarket if they wanted to watch video cassettes. Unless of course they were rich. In which case they went out and bought their own supermarkets.
Our supermarket movie rental selection was pathetic. The only two videotapes available were the complete first season of the “Lawrence Welk Show,” and “Porky’s Revenge!”
Anyway, I’m sitting on my porch steps and opening the package with a pocket knife. I have an idea of what is inside, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.
The first thing I see is a printed name. Four letters.
The Gaelic spelling of my first name has long been mispronounced by P.E. teachers and telemarketers alike. It’s unclear why my mother chose this name. She either named me after
my Scotch-Irish ancestors, or she named me after 007.
My money’s on 007. She loved Sean Connery as James Bond. When we purchased our first VCR, my mother would would rent Bond movies from the local library all the time and watch them when she ironed clothes.
She and I were big regulars at the library. I got my first library card when I was in kindergarten and I can still remember signing my name on the back of that card. I signed: SEJMN. Which was close enough for 007.
After my father passed I practically lived at libraries. The elderly librarians were my friends. These were blue-haired ladies who were old enough to have single-digit Social Security numbers. But I loved them.
I read truckloads of cheap paperback books. Not high literature, but low-brow books that I should be embarrassed about. Books about cowboys, espionage,…