An Ethical Dilemma, Solved

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The Provincial Park campground where we were staying this week had a book exchange table near the entrance. A conglomeration of inexpensive romance novels was pretty much what I expected — but at the bottom of the stack, in perfect condition, was a hardbound copy of Michael Ondaatje’s novel ‘Divisadero’. I was heading out on a long walk and didn’t want to carry it so I stood and held the book lovingly as I read a few excerpts and drooled slightly, trying to decide if I should snag it on the way back. My reticence came from the fact that this was specifically labeled a book exchange and although I had several books with me, none of them was I willing to leave behind. Then I remembered that the campground host had told me when I arrived that if I needed kindling, there were some books that had been caught in a sudden rainstorm and were now dry but were fit only for fire. After a lot of mental deliberation, I decided I would forego my ethics and rescue this book from the possibility of a Fahrenheit 451 fate on my way back — but when I returned, the book was no longer there. A cheap romance novel had been left in its place.

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