Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
Polonius got it right, of course, along with all kinds of truisms that he spouted, even though he tragically didn’t understand them himself.
And yet–I find myself going to that cliché to figure out how to return all the books that we have borrowed from others.
Actually, this is the problem. We have not borrowed them.
They have been lent to us. We did not initiate the request and so it becomes somewhat of a burden to return books that we didn’t request in the first place.
As I have mentioned a few times, I’m trying to scale back our stuff. (Yes, even while I do buy more; I know, adding on the irony. But this is new stuff I neeeeed. New slippers. A new coat to replace my old 20 year-old parka. New socks without holes in the toes, even after darning them a few times. Okay the jacket I didn’t need but it’s so nice!)
But the books? I don’t need high school books any more. If I want to read them, I can go to the library. And the bookshelves in the study are bending from doubling overweightedness.
So I have to return these books that people said we just have to read.
Really, we don’t. Or we haven’t. And we probably won’t.
Well, that’s not true, of course. I’ve read a few of the half-dozen. But I’m not going to get to most of them now.
I found one book that was lent to D#1 when she was interested in fashion illustration from a family who moved away at least fifteen years ago. And I have no idea where they live. What is my obligation to return that one?
But it’s the same thing for lending books. I have no idea where some of our books are. I don’t know if they’re hiding in a drawer (like I found a few of a set of humashim last year–not just one!) or they’re somewhere visiting someone else’s shelves. I know that some have migrated to some of our children’s homes because, occasionally, they have been returned. So one particular child is the usual suspect, but I’m not blaming. I have to figure out what’s missing first.
So MOTS*: don’t ask me if I’ve read a book and then lend it to me. I can’t be trusted to return it in a timely manner.
Now please excuse me while I go return the books that I took out from the public library. At least I can [usually] keep track of what I take out from there.
*Moral of the story, of course.