Okay.  If you walk into a store five minutes before closing time and the employees are nice to you, you should know they're only faking it.  I know.  They should be happy for your business.  And yeah.  The Customer is King.  But in their hearts they are secretly wishing you had never been been born, because you are (in all likelihood) preventing them from getting home in time to watch the season premiere of CASTLE.

Last night at the store, Sally and I got a phone call from someone who said HE'D BE RIGHT THERE.  This was at 8:45, which did not make us happy.  What if he showed up after nine?  Would he expect us to still be there?  Should we still be there?  The answer is yeah, we probably would have waited--which is why we were relieved when he showed up minutes before closing time and headed straight for the shelves.  He was a man on a mission.  We wouldn't have to wait around for long, because he knew precisely what he wanted--which turned out to be THE TWO TOWERS by Tolkien.

I recognized the look on his face.  He had discovered LOTR, and he could not wait until morning to resume his adventures in Middle Earth.  The same thing happened to me when I was sixteen on a sunny summer afternoon in southern California.  I picked up THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and (much to my surprise) tumbled headlong into its pages.

I envied the customer and wished I could be taking that journey for the first time all over again.