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Before my husband, Mr. She, died last year, he spent many years (probably well over a decade, now that I reflect on it with the benefit of hindsight) slowly succumbing to dementia. It’s a cruel disease, as many of you know. But also looking back on it, and–indeed–since he died, I’ve found humor in some of the situations in which we became embroiled as he gradually became more and more confused, and retreated further into his past. There’s really not much you can do, other than be in the moment with people who suffer this way, go with the flow, and enjoy the parts of life that are still enjoyable, both as you’re living them, and as you look back on them.
Otherwise, you’d probably go mad.
After he died, I discovered that Mr. She had been–for quite a few years–an enthusiastic eBay purchaser. Model trains and accessories. Old radios that he thought he’d refurbish, but never did. And books. Lots of books. At some point after the fact, I realized that his adamant determination, almost until the end, that it was “his job” to get the mail, and that I was under no circumstances allowed to do so, probably had something to with the surreptitious smuggling of all these boxes (which I never even saw) into the house.
And so, at some point after July 3, 2020, it became my sad duty to go through them all.
The train stuff I have cataloged. The radios I’ve disposed of. The few treasures–like this one–Think-a-Tron: The Machine That Thinks Like a Man–I’ve rehomed in ways I think Mr. She would have liked me to.
Today, I was trying to decide what to do with a very nice book–The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Indian Mounds and Earthworks. I have absolutely no idea why Mr. She purchased it. It looks new. It’s a nice book. It’s comprehensive. It has great illustrations. And, once you’ve finished reading it, I can’t imagine there’s anything to know about the subject matter of Native American mounds and earthworks anywhere in the country that you won’t know.
I have a dear friend whose daughter works closely on historical “digs” in the United States, although her research is confined more to early settlers–Jamestown and the like. But she’s from these parts, and we have quite a bit of history in this area–Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, only a few miles away, and Moundsville WV, just down the road.
So I thought I’d send my friend an email, tell her about the book, and ask if her daughter might know of an organization or a library with an interest in the subject matter that might take it and give it a home. Failing that, I’ll try some local libraries and see what I can come up with, (If anyone reading this has an interest in, or yen for, knowledge in this area, please let me know. First come, first served, and the book is yours!)
In an attempt to do a bit of a reality check, and see if the book actually was useful or might be interesting to researchers of the topic–my conclusion on that is “yes”–I started to read some of the Amazon reviews. (I’m careful about them. You have to be.)
But I was stopped in my tracks by this review. And I haven’t read any further.
It’s a short review. Just six words in the title. As follows:
Font is too large. Nasty topography.
I’m charmed. Not because I agree with the comment on the font. I find the book well organized, well typeset, and eminently readable.
But “topography?” Really?
Either that’s the most felicitous malapropism or typographical error ever, WRT a book about–well–topography, or autocorrect has made a mess of an author’s good intentions.
Either way, it made me laugh.
Do you have a favorite autocorrect fail story? Or even just a favorite silly book or movie review?Published in