Rumble at the Goodwill Book Sale

Later in my life, when I’m asked to reflect back on my time in Boston, I’ll remember exactly two things:

  1. The T was always late.
  2. People in Boston are ready to throw down anywhere at any time.

I see more arguments on an average day in Boston than I’d see in an entire year in the Midwest. Some of these altercations can be chalked up to population density (in the city center) or meth use (in my neighborhood). But others seem to spring from something embedded in the culture. What would earn you a silent grimace in Michigan lands you in a profanity-laced screaming contest in Massachusetts.

That’s not to say the Midwest is perfect, because God (and recent voting results) knows it’s not. But people there are, on the whole, less likely to become homicidally enraged because someone gave money to a homeless person outside Tedeschi.


But I digress. Sort of.

Let me tell you about a fight I saw at

Goodwill was having a book sale, as you may have gleaned from this crappy clip art image I’m using because I’m too lazy to find something better. Every book was $1.00, which was undeniably seductive to my broke grad school ass. Of course, when you shop for books at a thrift shop, you kind of have to take what you can get.

Here’s some of what you can get:

Knock-Off Detective Novels


Hey, everyone! It’s your girl, Nancy Clue! Here to solve mysteries and…accidentally close her eyes in photographs, I guess? To be honest, I don’t know much about Nancy Clue. The only thing I can discern from this cover is that she is not a giving lover.


Or is she? 

I realize giggling at decades-old books using the term “gay” is the definition of low-hanging fruit–but actually, how righteous would it be if there were a lesbian version of Nancy Drew? I’d read the hell out of that.

Confused Animals


This is what happens when you let idiot kids name animals. It’s the reason my brother’s hamsters were called Terminator and Eightball and my childhood friend’s cat was named after the Pella Window Company.


But look! Our friend Kitty the Dog isn’t the only confused quadruped on the block.


Smoky here is both a cow and a horse!

All right, this is getting ridiculous now. Get yourselves sorted out, animals.

Kids’ Advice

There were two main categories of advice books at Goodwill: advice for kids, and advice about kids. The former was decidedly less insane.



I actually thought this book had some pretty solid advice, though said advice would be a tough sell when it comes to the average teen. “No one is out to get you”? Try telling that to my 14-year-old self as she wrote goth poetry about morally bankrupt preps choking the light and love out of the universe.

The advice book about teens is almost certainly getting its own post this summer. It’s new-age as heck and reminds me of my sister’s crazy ex-roommate, who once broke up with his girlfriend by telling her: “I’m an indigo child, but you’re a crystalline child.”


The concept of indigo children has been around for a while. They’re said to be somewhere between “gifted” and “the next step in human evolution.” And they’re really soothed by citrus, apparently?


Speaking of tough sells…

Gross. I’d rather be an evolutionary throwback, myself.

Books for Dudes


Because reading a regular pregnancy book would be gay.

There are few things more eye-roll-worthy than men calling marriage and family “the end of life as they know it.” Dude, if it’s so horrible, don’t get married or have kids. No one’s twisting your arm.

Parts of this book seem kind of funny, but parts are just mystifying. For example, I can’t tell if the below passage is tongue-in-cheek or written by a closet sociopath.


I don’t believe Dr. Dude has ever been to medical school. In fact, have a hard time believing he’s ever been in a relationship.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

Y’all ready for this?

As I browsed Goodwill’s offerings, a Goodwill employee tried in vain to tidy a nearby shelf. She was continually thwarted in her duties by an older man standing directly in front of the shelf, drooling and muttering to himself.

“Excuse me,” she said.

The man didn’t respond.

“Excuse me,” she said again.

Again, no response.

Excuse me!” she said, nudging the man out of the way. That was when all proverbial heck broke loose.


“I’m not in the way, you asshole!” the old man indignantly cried.

The woman gave an incredulous snort. “That’s the alcohol talking,” she replied.

She finished with the shelf and began to walk away. But the old man wasn’t finished with her.

“I may be an alcoholic,” he shouted, “but you’re a joke!”

“Do you want to leave the store?” the woman asked, spinning on her heal to face him.

You leave the store!” he retorted.

“I work here.”

“I don’t care. I’m 64 years old!”


At his point, the woman’s manager shouted to her to end the conversation, so she did. The man didn’t, though.

“You’re such an asshole,” he said.

“Okay, sir,” she said.

“You’re a jackass, you know.”

“Okay, sir.”

“You’re nothing but a jackass, that’s all you are. I’m elderly!”

All this time, I had been hiding in an aisle recording every word. Evidently I wasn’t hiding well enough, though, because the old man proceeded to accost me.

“There’s no excuse for what she said,” he muttered. “It’s abuse.”

I chose that moment to make my exit.

Incensed at my lack of response, he yelled out: “There’s no excuse for you!

Which was rude. I think there’s three or four excuses for me. At least.


2 thoughts on “Rumble at the Goodwill Book Sale

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s