How to Stimulate the Economy…or Just Your Brain

Yesterday as I was eating lunch, I flipped on Fox News to see what was going on in the world.  Apparently, the economy’s in the crapper.  If I didn’t know it from the news ticker on the bottom of my TV screen, surely each and every story would have clued me in.  I got to hear a Democratic senator’s reaction to the economy (and stimulus package), then a Republican senator reacting to the same thing.  I saw clips of the President talking about the economy and the news anchor talked about the economy with some economist.  After 20 minutes, I thought my brain would combust.

I thought, man, that’s depressing.  People are getting laid off, the government wants to spend close to a trillion dollars, and the Democrats are took a retreat on the taxpayer’s dime.  To be fair, the Republicans also went on a retreat a few weeks ago paid for by the lobbyists.  Yeah, so between their seaweed wraps and massages, our elected leaders can work out situations to help the plight of the common man.   Personally, I think they should give everyone stimulus checks, then we can all have a chance to waste our own money instead of letting the government do it for us.  Who’s with me?

While we’re waiting for the government to cut our stimulus checks (don’t hold your breath), we need to buckle down.  Instead of wasting our money buying books, CDs, and DVDs, we now need to spend it on sensible things like food, heat, water, and underwear.  Fortunately, I’ve discovered a magical little place where you can borrow all the books, music, and movies that you want, and it’s not called–it’s your local neighborhood library.

Growing up, there was a small library half a block away from my house.  I had the books for the Summer Reading Club read in a week.  But this library only had books and magazines.  I felt a deep sense of awe when we went to the library’s main branch in center city Allentown.  There were so many books they couldn’t be contained on one floor, so they had elevators!  And music and movies and a periodical room the size of that dinky library up the street.  Ah, my local public library was a place of joy and beauty.

When I got to college, I started buying more books because, you know, that’s what college is all about–buying books.  Then at the end of the semester, college is about selling your used books, blowing the money on something stupid, and scrounging up money to buy more books the next semester.  Occasionally, a college student goes to the college library to meet cute guys, I mean, borrow books.  Generally, though, class books are purchased.  Of course, I went to an all-women’s college, so there was no point for me to go to the library (hence, there were no cute boys in the library to meet).  Except for the one summer when I worked in the audio-visual department at my college library, I basically stayed away from the place.

So while I was out and about yesterday, I decided to stop at the Emmaus Public Library, which is pretty small, but still a treasure trove of literature.  The children’s reading group had just let out, so small kids were running about excitedly picking books to take home for the week.  You’d have thought we were in a candy shop, not a library.  Then again, after I filled out an application and officially received my own Emmaus Public Library card, I felt the same way.

Since the library is a “quiet” place, I couldn’t break out into song and dance, but I really wanted to.  I wanted to see every book and every DVD and every CD and every magazine–after picking up three books (“Water for Elephants”, “The Astonishing Elephant”, and another elephant book) , a National Geographic video about the African pygmy people, and five CDs (including the Village People’s Greatest Hits), I was done…for today.   But I’ll be back because there are a ton of National Geographic videos that need to be watched and whole sections of books I overlooked.

Honestly, I don’t know what would stimulate this economy and it’s depressing to think of the possible dire scenarios that could be looming on the horizon.  But I do know how to stimulate your curiosity–head to your local library and pick up a book (or an audio book).  And maybe, just maybe, you’ll meet a cute boy (or girl), too (here’s hoping!)

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