Fish claims he felt no regret, panic or relief related to the divestiture. He says the event was like “checking out of a motel” and it “barely registered” as he was preoccupied with buying a new carpet. I have typically been on the other side of this equation. I remember taking a large number of books when one professor retired and left his entire library up for grabs at a college where I was teaching part-time.
I also remember being shocked when I ran across a bunch of professional books in a used book store that had the name of a psychologist I knew who had written in them. I couldn’t believe that he had actually sold most of his books when he moved to the West Coast. Until quite recently I have still been carting around books that deep down I know that I will never look at again. Being able to disengage from your books must be an ability that comes with maturity.
Fish admits that he retired his books first, probably in symbolic anticipation of his own retirement, as he gradually sensed that he would no longer need them.
I’m still not sure I could ditch all my books as unceremoniously as Fish did, although I have been a lot freer in recent years about getting rid of some of them. I’ve built up a rationalization that it’s OK to give away my older books and even throw away old journals because they’ve all been digitized anyway. As long as I have a decent computer, I’ll be fine. It’s like they’re all still there, virtually waiting for me.
— Terry L. Stawar, Ed.D., lives in Georgetown and is the CEO of LifeSpring, the local community mental health center in Jeffersonville. He can be reached at email@example.com. Check out his Welcome to Planet-Terry blog and podcast at www.planetterry.wordpress.com.