What Boys Do On Sick Days


Solomon stayed home sick today and so we did those things that this small boy likes to do when he is under the weather: crossed bridges, went through tunnels, rode up and down in elevators, and took a trip on the light rail. Along the way we saw a new bookstore, and hustled off the train to do the thing that Dad likes to do: look at books.

Meta Books, to be exact. Which is freshly opened (and I wish they had something better than just a parked domain right now, as their logo is very nice), and located right next door to my favorite restaurant in Tacoma. I found a copy of Ricky Jay’s book on dice and Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay, LL. D.

Originally written in 1852, Mackay’s book debunks tulipmania in Holland, the 1720’s Mississippi Scheme that swept France, the South Sea Bubble that played havoc with the English, and “Alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Rosecrucians, Prophesies of Judgment Day, the Coming of Comets, Asrology, Necromancy, Father Hell and Magnetism, Anthony Mesmer and Mesmerism, the Influence of Politics and Religion on the Hair and Beard, Sorcery and the Burning of ‘Witches,’ the Traffic in Relics, the Popularity of Murder by Slow Poisoning, Ghosts and Haunted Castles, and the Hero-Worship of Common Thieves.”

Some of those are downright extraordinary, all right.

Solomon latched onto the dice book immediately and carried it all the way home. We were quite the pair on the train, with our books. Him, celebrating chance; me, celebrating popular insanity.