“Odds and sods” is a euphemism from the British lexicon, which in American parlance simply means bits and pieces. But it’s also the title of one of The Who‘s records, which in its original release wasn’t all that great but when reissed as a compilation included such hits as “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands,” “Young Man Blues” and “Summertime Blues.” Songs which were hardly odd or sod, to be sure, but nevertheless were like events on the first day of my first week back in New England, which I wish to briefly recount for your snickers or snarks.
First, I met A., a publishing colleague of mine, for coffee at a bookshop with a charming name, “An Unlikely Story.” I was looking forward to it, as I dearly love bookstores. When i saw it, I knew I had to write about it in my blog:
We had our meeting and coffee, then I found the book I sought, Wener Herzog’s new, first novel, The Twilight World, and took it to the aging man sitting behind the counter. Since I had dressed for the occasion, I brought his attention to my T-shirt, saying, “Like it? I’m an author, too.” Which didn’t even elicit a “Hrrumph.” So much for us being kindred spirits.
Next, I got a message from R., one of my Fictional Café baristas, inquiring about the S&M (sales and marketing) value of having a sticker on the cover of one’s book. I assumed the sticker proclaimed the author having been awarded something, like the Legion D’Honneur or perhaps winning the Pulitzer Prize, but such was not the case. Rather, the purported purpose was simply to sell stickers to authors with which to emblazon their book covers.
For this vain privilege, the author was to pay sixty cents per sticker and a $14.00 mailing fee. I get so incensed by these book buzzards trying to fleece authors with vague promises of boostering them toward the path of fame and fortune, which of course is as variable as the moon . . . (I think that’s Shakespeare).
Later that afternoon I stopped by my local e-bike shop to visit with my friend N., who had sent an email invitation earlier in the week for a spirited three-hour bike ride on the Cape Cod Bike Trail to the iconic lighthouse. Expecting to hear that a dozen or so had signed up, I was surprised to learn N. had received some nasty replies from subscribers who felt they were being spammed. “Whoa!” said I, “an invitation to a free bike ride is spam? The only hint of marketing was mentioning the option of renting an e-bike if riders chose to, but otherwise all were welcome to ride their own bicycle, with or without a motor. Well, I had happily signed up for both my wife and self and concluded that only NICE people would be joining us for a delightful ride through the Cape Cod woods.
The world turns, and with each turn it seems to get a little weirder. Is it COVID, or is it just me?