Chapter 6: The Bookshelf
The revolutionary is a tricky specie.
I mean, you’d think that if you scratched a bit the whole If-God-Existed-He-Would-Be-Trotsky varnish, you’d find a regular human being beneath.
How odd that you can still fall for this even after all my teachings on living with a Revolutionary.
When most people these days care about cars and mortgages and flashy watches and Kim Kardashian’s bum, the revolutionary will not even be aware that these things exist (except maybe for KK’s derriere, after all he IS human, even though you have doubts sometimes, no one could read that much without giving themselves a huge headache but anyway). The revolutionary will still wear the same watch he has worn since he was 12, nevermind that it’s a Flik Flak, Pah Comrade Marx did not even have enough money to eat, let alone have a watch, he’ll barely notice what car he drives, you know as long as the brakes work, who cares really? and he’ll definitely look at you with blank eyes if you tell him about the latest gossip you’ve just read in Hello magazine!
Furthermore, he might be as rude as telling you what you’re reading is utter crap and a violation of people’s rights and a mere product of a derelict society that’s trying to numb people senseless into buying things they don’t need. Won’t even partake in the last test you’ll found: Are your thighs too big? (The answer will always be yes and you”ll always finish it feeling inadequate and wanting to buy useless serums and this is why it’s an exploitation of the female’s body….Aaaaaaarrrrgh Sorry the Revolutionary had momentarily taken possession of my body and spirit)
To which you’ll buy Cosmo just to prove a point. The revolutionary is extremely hard headed and you’ll need to pick your battles. Don’t ever let go of your magazines, even though you agree with him. Develop your survival skills, and not only for the undercover struggle and dangerous situations.
The revolutionary is not adapted to the world we live in: he therefore wants to change it. Whether he’s right or not is not the question: the real issue is how you bring him out in public outside of the Comrade Comfort zone, for the revolutionary considers each second away from his beloved Comrades an utter waste of time that is probably impeding the revolution of going forward. All of this because you wanted to get food! Food! I ask you! While the whole world is waiting! While we have everything we need at home! (Note: while the Revolutionary is perfectly capable of setting up a picket line in under 5 minutes or to rustle up a demo (he loves this word, such a rush!) in just about 5 seconds, the revolutionary is at a complete loss when it’s time for social obligations: tie? what tie? leave me alone! another bourgeois diktat!)
And by “everything at home”, please understand not meat or vegetables but food for the spirit, as in, The Permanent Revolution, Contemporary Arab Thought, the COMPLETE works of Edward Said (a Much Loved Comrade that you’ll soon curse: What you’re saying is PURE orientalism, just go and Read Comrade Said! he’ll say more often than you care to mention). Indeed, as much as the revolutionary loves to eat (ah, to each man his weakness), he’s not interested in the process to get food. It’s the company that counts:the more the Comrades, the Merrier and all that. No, the Revolutionary is a man of (too?) many words, and he’ll love to be surrounded by them.
ENTERS: THE BOOKSHELF.
Listen very carefully. The revolutionary is perfectly comfortable taking off his shirt and throwing it on the floor, after all it’s just a SHIRT and is not relevant to the revolution, however, he will be nothing short of erecting an electric fence to protect his precious bookshelf. The bookshelf will of course only comprise revolutionary and in-depth authors, carefully ordered by political currents, so if you were looking for something light (you’re thinking Confessions of a Shopaholic) , the revolutionary will simply hand you The Communist Manifesto. What? It’s not long! And it’s the basis! It makes for light reading! And look it’s even funny!
You still don’t get how exactly it’s funny. You strongly suspect he only said that to lure you into reading it (which of course you did, but will never admit. Let’s not encourage such behaviours)
The Bookshelf is divided between: Already Read Books (usually under two days for about 800 pages) and Books to Read. There are obscure sub categories that only he understands, and he’d be more than happy to explain them to you except that you’ve threatened to slash your wrists with a rusty tuna can if he tried.
Sometimes, you’ll find the revolutionary gazing dreamily at the collection, his head cocked on one side as if to lovingly watch a child sleep except they’re BOOKS, and mutter to himself: so many books to read, I can’t wait. Picture Golum and his precious. Yep, you’re not far.
You think he’ll wait to read them before getting new ones? You’re sad. Soon enough, between History of Hezbollah and George Habash: A True Comrade, you’ll see Che Guevara: The Early Years, the Awakening of the Revolutionary Conscience in Three Easy Steps and Evil Capitalist Plots: Down with Everything. You’re developing quite the relationship with your postman.
Soon enough, there might be, esconded behind the Bible, the Centerpiece of the Bookshelf, aka The Permanent Revolution By Comrade Trotsky, well, How To Live With A Revolutionay Withour Losing Your Head.