Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Perils of Book Ownership

When we moved into this house in 1983, I took over the smallest bedroom as my office. I attached some rails to the sheetrock walls, put shelf-holders in the rails, and put shelves on the holders. Then I filled the shelves with paperback books. Lots of paperback books.

The other day I was sitting at the computer when I heard a strange noise. I looked up to my right and saw that the top shelf of paperbacks had collapsed onto the shelf below, which had collapsed onto the shelf below that. Since all three of those shelves were double stacked with paperbacks, it was a precarious situation. If they all let go at once, I was going to be buried in books. Probably appropriate, but it would have taken Judy weeks to dig me out. So I leapt into action.

It's too bad that there was no one with a video camera to record subsequent events. I had a low chair at one end of the shelves and a stool at the other. To get from the chair to the stool, I had to run around the computer desk. And I had to move fast. At times, I was standing on both the stool and the chair at the same time. Impossible, you say? Well, I was there, and I know. I'm sure it looked like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon. Somehow I managed to get most of the books cleared off the shelves and to get the shelves themselves down before there was a total disaster. Books were stacked all over the desks in the office and all over the floor in both the office and an adjoining bedroom.

I discovered the reason for the collapse: the middle rail had pulled away from the sheetrock. So I was off to the hardware store to get a couple of sheetrock anchors to replace the old ones. After I got that taken care of, the rails were back in place, and I put the shelves back up. As of today, the books are back in place, too. If the shelves will hold up for another 21 years, I probably won't care what happens to them.

A good side effect of the collapse was that I found some books I'd been looking for, the first three by Jack Douglas: My Brother was an Only Child, Never Trust a Naked Bus Driver, and A Funny Thing Happened on my way to the Grave.

2 comments:

Aldo said...

Bill, Next time that happens, I'll be ona plane with the Home Depot credit card in tow and we'll build a new office!

Seriously, a similar thing happened to me with shelving. I;m now planning to build complete floor to ceiling built in bookcases on three walls of the office. I'm running out of floor space. Now that you, Lee and James got me hooked on buying original 50's pulps, I'll need an annex soon.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Ahh, but what an appropriate way to go.

My collapsing shelf disaster concers a brace of shelves containing toy soldiers that collapsed as I was blithely hammering away on the outside of the house to put up siding. Sheet rock screw anchors don't always work.