Who’s On First

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - September 26, 2007
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I think that by nature of my profession, people tend to think that I am a voracious reader. They would be right, as through my entire life I’ve always loved to read.

In the ‘60s, when I was growing up on a military base in Okinawa, I would spend all my money on books. There was a little bookstore on base and once a week I would walk over there to peruse all it had. At the time I was hooked on paranormal stuff so much that I could have been Mulder on the TV show The X-Files. My dad had a collection of classic literature, so in the ‘70s I read through those.

In the ‘80s, I was spending all my money on books and magazines, so I decided I would get a job working at a bookstore. There was no Borders or Barnes and Noble back then. The big local bookstore was Honolulu Book Shops. I worked at the Pearlridge store and I loved my job.

I had access to all the books and magazines I wanted. In any given week I would be reading one hardcover, two paperbacks and a ton of magazines and newspapers. People who work in bookstores are really into it. I remember that on our breaks, instead of cruising the mall, we would all be reading.

Of course when I first started, I must have seemed like an idiot when working the information desk. Someone once inquired on if we carried the magazine called BYTE. I asked him if that was a dental magazine. Another person asked if we carried the book by Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking. I told her, “I doubt it.”

Today, things don’t seem to have changed much except that I’m on the other side of that desk. The other night I was reading the British version of Esquire magazine. In it was a review of a business book, Cut To The Chase. I decided to run out to the closest bookstore to buy a copy.

It seemed to be a slow night as there were a lot of clerks available to help. I walked up to the information desk and asked a clerk if they carried Cut To The Chase. Somewhat distracted he loudly asked another nearby clerk if she knew if we carried the book I was looking for, “Cut the cheese.”

Yet another clerk walking by asked jokingly, “Who cut the cheese?” The second clerk pointed at me and said “No, the book Who Moved My Cheese?” I interrupted saying, “No, Cut To The Chase!” The first clerk then looked at me and said, “Sir, we’re doing our best, if you could just give me the title of your book.”

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