I Can Explain

Dear Marian, Todd, Stacey, Dora, Qing, Boomer, and Hyacinth,

I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to read this month’s book club pick. I’ve been swamped with work lately, and as much as I wanted to be able to come to the meeting and participate in the discussion, I wasn’t able to knock enough items off my to-do list to ever get around to reading Time Management for Dummies. Between the book club and my daily naps and avoiding calls from creditors and my faltering life coaching business, it’s a challenge to find enough hours in the day. But I’m committed to joining you next time — and I’ll even bring brownies!

Dear Fellow Book Clubbers,

I deeply regret I didn’t bring brownies to last night’s meeting — or show up at all, aside from driving by and honking a few times while I was on my way to the dentist appointment I inadvertently scheduled at the same time as the meeting. It wouldn’t have mattered — I forgot to read the book. I intended to finish it — or at least start it — but that would have meant buying it, and by the time I remembered I was in a book club, the bookstore, if there even is one around here, was probably closed, and I couldn’t find my library card, let alone recall where the library might be, and, anyway, don’t they have those rolling schedules or something like that? And work — well, I should say the search for a new job — is taking up more time than even exists. It’s obviously not your fault, but perhaps if we could schedule these get-togethers in a more convenient location for me, it would be easier for me to join. Even though the meeting has passed, I’m still planning to check out The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, although I suppose my energy would best be spent on reading next month’s selection. Or the month after’s, to be absolutely safe. Has it been decided yet? I’ll get back to you with some suggestions, as soon as I take my computer out of the freezer.

Dear Comrades-in-Reading,

I am filled with remorse for missing this month’s meeting, especially after you rescheduled it to take place at my house. I know — the address I gave you turned out to not actually be my house, but I was embarrassed about the mess in my living room, and so I figured we’d meet at my neighbor’s house, but I forgot to tell him, and I forgot that he likes to shoot at intruders — and I meant to show up and smooth over the whole misunderstanding, but I fell into a hole in the ground that I may have accidentally dug myself. This isn’t just an excuse for forgetting and, like, scheduling a massage for the same time as the meeting. I really did fall, and it ruined the tray of brownies I had prepared in the shape of bookmarks — if bookmarks were square, like brownies– and also made me forget all about the meeting. It wasn’t until I crawled out and stumbled home, in the wee hours of the morning, that I even remembered the name of the book — To Tell the Truth, of course — and all the wonderfully incisive comments I would have made if not for the terrible and absolutely verifiable (if only I’d paid the bill to keep my security camera turned on) accident. I hope you’ll forgive me and I look forward to putting this awful night behind me, filling in the hole, and joining you next month. 

Hey Guys,

I know, I know — another woe-is-me story, but, really, I have an explanation. This is hard for me to admit, but I have a problem with alcohol — drinking it, brewing it, bottling it, everything — and that’s the real reason I haven’t been able to make most of these meetings, read the books, or remember anything about them if I did read them, which I don’t remember doing. But it is coming back to me now that I not only don’t remember any of these things, but I also don’t even remember not remembering them. My addiction may also explain why some of you saw me sneak in through the window last night, steal the rum cake that Carol had brought, and make a citizen’s arrest of the golden retriever in her yard, who was only trying to be friendly and did not want more than a small slice of rum cake. I now remember this month’s book, at least — Breaking Addiction — and I even read a few words before I passed out in the waiting room of the veterinary hospital where I brought Carol’s dog after I accidentally bit her instead of the rum cake. I have no idea where the book itself came from. I might have stolen it when I was in the kitchen stealing the cake — and Carol’s car keys, which I should be passing in the next day or two. I’m seeking treatment — it’s a wonderful facility, I will have plenty of time to read, and I absolutely can’t wait to come to next month’s meeting clean and sober, fully informed, and bearing delicious brownies, which I plan to make in the shape of olive branches, if olive branches were square. I truly appreciate your understanding.

Dear “Book Club”,

Okay, okay, okay — why didn’t you tell me? If only I’d known the “book club” meetings were just an excuse to eat cake and gossip (and drink!), I would have been there months ago! If one of you had just admitted that no one reads the books — if you’d even hinted at it — I would have been your most loyal member. I had such a wonderful time last night with all of you, spreading rumors, trading medications, pillow fighting, and dressing up the dog to look like a Jain priest that I don’t see why we should wait a whole month to do it again. I’m reading War and Peace right now — and we all know that “reading War and Peace” means “watching a marathon of Jersey Shore while laughing at people who read books and pay their bills on time.” Come on over — I’ll even make my brownies again, this time in the shape of Snooki, or at least Snooki’s square friend — and this time I might remember to turn on the oven. See you soon!

Jeremy Blachman was, until recently, a member of a book club.