Last night I was out with a friend, lamenting the romantic state of things over wine (me) and Jameson (her). A woman walked in from the adjacent restaurant, gently bouncing a boy of about five in her arms. The boy had that post-meltdown look, and now his mother walked back forth in the relatively empty bar, whispering soothing things in his ear. A couple times I caught the boy’s eye and smiled at him. He tracked me as his mother continued her march. I watched him stroke his mother’s hair.
Suddenly, I had a thought. In my bag I had copies of the latest books I’d edited. They were probably a little too old for this boy, but the illustrations would certainly occupy him. I walked up to the woman and said, “Do you need some books?” She demurred, of course. Looking back, I wonder if her mind flashed images of people handing out the Bilble or The Watchtower or Dianetics.
Still, I persisted. “It’s OK,” I said. “I’m an editor.” Like it was my superhero catchphrase or something. In that moment, Batman had nothing on me.
And it worked. She took the books and thanked me quietly. Or maybe she just wanted me to leave her alone.
“You’re welcome,” I said with a shrug and a smile. “I’m a book pusher.”
So that last bit wasn’t my best, but whatever. The point is that I gave that kid two books that won’t even be on the shelves until April, and perhaps a moment of peace to his mom.
This morning I googled the term “book pusher,” and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a whole host of librarian-themed products on CafePress. And while I’m not a librarian, and I don’t really go to the gym, I do like the looks of this “book pusher” gym bag.
I’m proud to be a book pusher. I suppose maybe it is a bit like being a super hero. Or at least like having a low-tech, non lifesaving super power. So I think I’ll always carry some extra books with me. Just in case.