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Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

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Well there goes another bookstore. Yes our local bookstore has closed due to the ever-increasing rents on a charming street in our village. This will now make 3 or 4 empty storefronts. One of those spaces used to be a restaurant. It sits there getting dusty with the “For Lease” sign knocking about in the breeze. That place has been empty almost 5 years.

My town is beginning to look like Hill Valley, the place where Marty McFly grows up in Back To The Future. Remember at the beginning of the movie how crappy his town looks?

A once vibrant place now has garbage floating around at will, lots of homeless people, and several empty commercial spaces. Apparently there is some mafia of families that own most of the street and they can do whatever they want. Which means that they either jack up the rent or leave the space empty. I guess you can still make money with an empty storefront.

This place is falling apart. Sure one dude poured millions into our baseball field but now he considers it his very own and it isn’t really open to the public anymore. Same goes for the idiot who put the fence up around a smaller park. He was purported to have put rat poison in the park to deter people from walking their dogs there.

(Joel Gray just popped into my head singing “Money”. Great song, scary point.)

 

The bookstore closing is like the nail in the coffin. My hometown is truly beginning to remind me of a Stephen King novel. When will the zombie invasion begin? Our movie theater is a hardware store, the toy store is full of crappy plastic toys – leaving no room for the imagination. We have no hobby shop but we have a new frozen yogurt establishment. Didn’t we attempt the “frozen yogurt” thing in the 80’s?

A bookstore closing is truly tragic. This means that more people are buying books online or downloading them into whatever electronic device they are reading from, or just not reading anymore. Do I really need to go into why this is so disturbing? The social repercussions? The intellectual repercussions? The just plain anti-FUN? Who the hell are these people? Seriously, who are these new people in my town and what is their problem? The clothing stores are ridiculously expensive, the streets smell like (human) pee, our fire station just lost a vital part of the unit: the engine. This truck keeps the jaws of life, the ladder and other extra bits that are quite necessary for a bad fire or car accident (which are frequent). Nope. Now we have to wait and see if another station nearby can let us borrow their truck when a fire breaks out. Nice logic.

I’d like to say that this is because of the “recession” but it has nothing to do with it. It has to do with greed and ignorance. Plain and simple. Los Angeles has money to collect but hasn’t done it…and the money is there. That cabal of real estate owners didn’t need to raise the bookstore rent. They are bathing in gold – couldn’t someone have done something altruistic for the town? Rumor had it that Tom Hanks was helping the place but I suppose he felt he was throwing his money away?

Anyway, bookstores are closing daily. Kinda like how record stores are a rarity, now bookstores will be rare too. I could never have dreamed of a day when this town would make me feel ashamed but the day has arrived.

I can’t help but think about the cultural loss and the change we must suffer with each passing year. Why do we snub what is precious about each generation? Why should I be more excited about the new Iphone then bereft at the death of a bookstore?

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