Who Thinks of This Stuff?


Elizabeth Creith

This year Canada followed the lead of Australia and several other countries and produced its first polymer money. That's plastic money, meaning there is no longer a choice of plastic or paper when you're paying—it’s all plastic now, or will be in a few years when they get around to the twenties and tens.

What I want to know is this; when is someone going to get their act together and begin using the same technology on books?

It baffles me the way people who deal with technology start thinking all bass-ackwards when it comes to the printed page. Look, why does money need to be plastic? Who takes their wallet into the shower? Or goes to the beach with it, or, and this is my real beef, takes a bath with it? (If you’re one of those, I just want you to know that right now I have my fingers in my ears—la-la-la, can’t hear you!)

Maybe most of the world prefers a shower, but for sheer unadulterated luxury, give me a deep tub full of bubbles, fruit- or flower-scented, or maybe both, with a hot water tap I can reach to turn on and off with my toes, a handy glass of Chardonnay and a book. Is there a woman who has never once cared to indulge in this bit of homegrown hedonism? I think not.

So tell me, then, why the newest thing in books is electronics—the very thing we’ve all been warned from our childhood not to mix with water.

“How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t put the radio (or, depending on your family and your predilections, the toaster) on the edge of the bathtub!”

“Sorry, Mom.”

“And no reading in the bath, either! You know what happened to your Aunt Effie, God rest her soul, right in the middle of Gone With the Wind!” Yup, Aunt Effie, flash-fried in the altogether when Rhett grabbed Scarlett and carried her up those stairs and Aunt Effie’s little heart went pitty-pat and the e-reader slipped out of her fingers. Fzzt!

Now, if that up-to-the-minute modern-technological-miracle book had been printed on polymer, she’d have just picked it out of the persimmon-and-passionflower-scented water and resumed reading. If she’d been reading the paperback version, she’d still be with us today, annoyed as all get-out because Gone with the Wind looked like Gone with the Monsoon, but none the worse for wear. She could dry out the book and find out what Rhett really wanted, or, at worst, buy another copy. She’d still be around to do it.

And in Canada she'd have the plastic money to do it with.

Elizabeth Creith is a biblioholic and incurable librocubicularist. Not only does she buy, read, shelve and stack books, but she also writes them and on occasion makes them by hand. Elizabeth lives and writes in Wharncliffe, Northern Ontario, distracted occasionally by her husband, dog, and cat. The Scriptorium is where she blogs about writing and life. Contact Elizabeth.



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