Books Are Like Sandwiches
by Ted Cockle
“Are you really going to bring all of those?” is a question I hear a lot. You see, despite the protests of my back and friends alike, my bag is always filled with books. Not just one or two, but often three, four, five, or more. Why? It’s because books are like sandwiches. It sounds like a crazy claim, I know, but bear with me, it’ll make sense soon . . . I think.
What did your last experience with packing for a trip look like? Mine was terrible. Packing is one of my least favorite things to do, and my irrational fear of being unprepared is to blame. My inner-monologue goes something like this:
How many days will I be gone? Ok bring one more outfit than days incase one gets dirty. Will it be warm or cold? Will I need a light jacket in case it gets cool around the bonfire—if we have one. Will we have one? Probably, add it in. Do I need church clothes? Can anything already in my bag pass as church clothes? Nope, ok add these dress pants as well then. Ok, socks, undershirts, shorts, pants, belt, shoes. Great. Anything else . . . ?
The difficulty of packing comes, as I mentioned above, from my fear of being unprepared. What if I feel like wearing a sweatshirt and I don’t have one? What if I need a clean t-shirt because I spilt cranberry juice on the one I was wearing?
What does this have to do with sandwiches? This same process happens when I go to pack up my books. While I might feel like reading a novel right now, tomorrow I might be ready to jump into some heavy theology, and because that mood doesn’t come along very often, I’d hate to waste it by not being prepared. So what do I do? I make sure to bring along The Institutes as well.
While my displeasure in packing clothing comes about due to unforeseen exterior contexts, my displeasure in packing books comes about due to unforeseen reading moods.
Do you see it? Books are like sandwiches in that each day brings with it the possibility of a different mood. Today I may feel like a meatball sub, while tomorrow I feel like an atomic turkey from Shane’s. Today I might feel like C.S. Lewis, tomorrow I might feel like Michael Hyatt. Who’s to say? Yet, while a sandwich can be made to order tomorrow, my copy of Platform won’t magically appear in my bag just because I’m ready to read it. And so, whether I’m headed on a weeklong vacation or a trip to Starbucks, I need to make sure I have a book for whichever mood arises. Thats why I will always carry with me my own personal deli of assorted genres and authors.