Oakland Needs You

Happy May Day, everybody. Here’s your good deed of the day assignment:

The Oakland Public Library has had its funding drastically cut, and now they can’t afford books. They must have learned something from all of us journalers and bloggers, because they’ve put up Amazon wish lists, where you can buy a book to donate to their libraries. I’ve found three such lists: here, here, and here. This way you have the choice to buy a children’s book, a book about children, or African-American erotica. It’s all about choices, isn’t it? Hey, you probably didn’t get me anything for my Birthday Week, and this is one of those things you can go home and brag about, saying you helped a public library in California. You can walk around with a big head all day. Make a sticker that says “I Donated a Book.” Don’t forget to slap an American flag on it, though.

I’ll even post a list of people who donated if you want even more recognition. I’ll link to your journal/blog with your name. There. The names will go up on Monday. That’s four days for you to raise fifteen bucks and buy a book for children.

FOR THE CHILDREN! HOW CAN YOU TURN YOUR BACK ON THE CHILDREN?!

I thought you were better than that. I guess not. I guess you don’t want little Misty Everest of Oakland, California to find out where babies come from when she’s at the impressionable age of eight and she pulls down a parenting book from the return shelves by mistake. I guess you don’t want Misty to have that important moment we all get too early in childhood, when we’re face-to-face with a black and white pencil drawing of a vagina. You’re going to take that moment away from Misty? That moment when she realizes that she’s an object men will lust after? That she can make people shoot out of her pee hole? Misty was going to grow up to be the most important feminist icon we’ve had in decades. She was going to empower women, to get them to take back their bodies and vote for women in power. Misty was going to be the first female president. Now she’s going to be scared of what’s “down there” and won’t ever know how beautiful her body can be, all drawn out in big-bushy 70’s glory.

That’s cold, yo.

You’re going to take away another precious moment from young Jamal Warren, who was going to check Life of Pi out of the library because he thought it was about “Pee” (Young Jamal needs books to learn how to spell “pee”) and it had a cool tiger picture on the front. But then when he sees it’s just a big book without pictures, Jamal was going to draw dirty pictures on the pages of that book. He was going to figure out the secret to dirty flip-book drawings. He was going to make a two hundred page flip book of a man peeing off the roof of a building onto his little sister’s head. But you didn’t donate Life of Pi to the Oakland Public Library, and because of that Jamal isn’t going to grow up to be a famous comic book artist. He won’t create the next Lilo and Stitch. He won’t ever get to make the next South Park. You took away his earliest medium. You did it. Just by not clicking one little button and sending the change in your wallet to where books need you the most.

Seriously. I thought you were better than that.

How can you take Captain Poopypants away from the children?

And what about Melissa Filsmore? She just left her husband, quit her job and finally confessed to her mother that she never wants to have children. Now she’s alone in California, stranded, no job. She didn’t realize when she left Boise that Oakland wasn’t exactly San Francisco. What’s she going to do now? She walks into the library… and you know what isn’t there? Po Bronson’s What Should I Do With My Life? That’s what’s not there. How can Melissa Help her Self without your generous donation? What’s Melissa going to read to get her ideas now? Hustler. Thanks for turning Melissa to the cheap and easy world of stripping and porn. How’s that go with your Thursday bagel?

Please just donate a book. One book. Then write and tell me which one you gave, with a quick reason why. Tell me who you helped. Walk around bragging all day. It’ll feel good. “I kept a kid off crack today,” you can say. “I helped someone learn how to read.” “I kept someone from having to steal.” “I made someone’s world bigger today.” “I bought a book for a complete stranger and I don’t need anyone to thank me for it.”

“I did something awesome today.”

I started. The Oakland Public Library is about to receive one Betty Crocker’s Cookbook : Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today.

Check my giving ass out. It’s cool to help people. Go be cool.

[Edited later to add: Here’s a link to the library’s Press Release. Some of you have asked how to donate books without using Amazon.com. There you can download a list of the books they need the most, and you can go and buy them on half.com, or Cody’s Books in Oakland and send books that way. Thanks to everyone for being so supportive. Yay, books.]

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