Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, believed she could buy immortality. The Winchester Mystery house in San Jose, California, is the embodiment of that belief. The elaborate mansion with its doors that open onto walls and staircases to nowhere was never designed to be functional. It was designed to simply grow for it was Sarah’s belief that as long as carpenters were hammering and sawing away, which they did 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she would never die.
She was wrong, of course, but that hasn’t stopped me from forming my own belief about achieving immortality.
Judd Apatow, TV producer and author of “Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy” recently stated about his own obsession with books: “I seem to think that buying them is the same as reading them.” He misses the point.
Maybe it’s because I’m in those blurry years between middle-age and old age (kind of like a tween - too old for toys, too young for boys – but with wrinkles), and starting to see the “exit” sign up ahead, but I’ve been thinking more and more that I’d like to stick around, like for a long time. So I buy books.
Here’s my theory: As long as there are unread books by my bedside, I will not die.
To that end, I buy more books than I will ever have time to read and, when I see that I’m catching up, I buy still more. They’re all wonderful books and I have every intention of reading them and, if my theory proves true, I will.
With the advent of e-readers, it’s so easy. While I love the feel of physical books, and I buy those, too, I have limited space in which to store them, but my reader holds the next potential 100 years of my life in its digital heartbeat. I keep it plugged into the charger 24/7. Much like Sarah Winchester’s belief that if the sound of carpentry stopped so would she, a dead battery could prove, well, deadly.
“The ravings of a crazy old woman!” you might say. But we’ll just see who lives the longest, won’t we?