A Computer Science class friend is currently taking the same class with the same teacher that I took over the summer. Her textbook of “Walden” and other Thoreau essays had still has not arrived at the bookstore for some illogically vague reason, even though she ordered and paid for the book 3 weeks ago. Oh well.
So, I loaned her my textbook until her fancy new book arrived, seeing that the class and her reading assignments had rudely not been postponed until then. I had warned her that the pages contained a good deal of my notes and underlining, and she viewed this extra as a positive, “like Cliff Notes.”
I wondered how coherent and helpful my graffiti would truly be to her, how Cliff Notes- like it really was. Perhaps I was the new Mr. Cliff and a new career awaited! So, before I met her at Starbucks and handed her the book, I skimmed the book, diagnosing just how badly defaced it was.
Sadly, my memory had downplayed the amount of damage I had perpetrated on the text: underlining (sometimes done multiple times in different colors), brackets, stars, brackets with stars, notes upon notes in the margins and every empty space available. ..
My friend was a bit surprised at the amount of intensity I had bestowed on this book, especially “Walden”. (I had read essay book twice, and I had read some chapters about 5 times. I also wrote a long essay on it.)
As she flipped through the textbook, her eyebrows raised high, she raised those eyebrows even higher upon viewing some pages. She was amused and grateful for such effort. I commented that she could never be silent during class discussion, and she laughingly agreed. So, this is our deal: as long as she uses my book, she must appear a Thoreau scholar.