I am giving Ruby the gift of knowledge about primordial dwarves and giant creme brulees
The lucky, undeserving little brat is getting the finest reference known to man: The Full Color Guinness Book of World Records (16 pages in 3D!).
I don't know how it was for you as a snubbin, but when I was a grade schooler, the Guinness Book of World Records was the pinnacle of Western thought.
Dwarves! The World's Fattest Twins (The McCrarys. See above.)! Longest beard on a woman! Most supernumery nipples!
The full rich physiognomic pageant was right there, in tiny type on cheap Earl Grey-tinted paper. It was a platonic freakshow, with only the most superlative aberrations. And unlike previous generations, I didn't have to wait for the circus to wheel into town with it's icky carnies and scary clowns. I just had to head to the school library at lunch, grab a matt and relish the horror of those seedy little black and white smudged photographs.
There was also an aspirational, Horatio Alger aspect to it: if I work hard, someday I'll be able to avail myself of the sublime comfort of a mink-lined golf shoes with ruby tipped cleats (The Most Expensive Golf Shoes In the World), or the complete Canon system (Most Extensive Photographic System In The World).
I would own the Bugatti, Hearst Castle, a case of 1945 Mouton. Yep, Guinness was teaching me how to be a huge douche.
I walked away from Guinness when I discovered The People's Almanac, a foot-thick doorstop filled with articles about ghosts, strange weapons of WWII, strange political and religious screeds, and the sexual practices of dead celebrities. In other words, it was the Internet in book form.
All this came flooding back when Ruby started expounding this new book she had found in her school library, full of bearded ladies and tiny people.
This year, I am initiating her into the temple of corn dog wisdom that is Guinness. And it's in 3-D, so it's even more classy than it was when I was a kid.
Labels: The Moppets