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Border-ing on the edge of sadness

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POSTED February 23, 2011 1:36 a.m.
Like seagulls descending on the carcass of a spawned out king salmon washed ashore, I joined my fellow scavengers at Borders bookstore in Modesto for my chance to peck deals.

Borders is closing a ton of stores across the country, and the closest one will be reduced to an uninhabited commercial space.

It was sad really. I was there to take advantage of the misfortune of a bookstore chain infected with lethal levels of bankruptcy.

I ambled around the crowds along my usual route through the magazines then to the sports and fishing section all the while wondering where I would go for my intellectual, non-water based retreats now.

It was the latest in a long line of economic and commercial disappointments that rippled my routines.

I was in the grotesque minority that actually liked PepsiCo’s Crystal Pepsi when it came out in 1992 (didn’t make it to Alaska until 1993), and was sad that I had to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles without it, or go camping without the clear crispness of colorless Pepsi.

During recess or after school we would run down to Sugar Shack and get French fries (ironic?) and Crystal Pepsi’s. I’m okay with it now since I don’t drink soda, but to a 12-year-old things like that are traumatic. Not long after Crystal Pepsi’s discontinuation, Sugar Shack itself closed.

We all asked ourselves how we would survive. The only other option for food was the, gasp, cafeteria!

I lived.

The 90s concluded with John Elway retiring and my Broncos forced to make do with Brian Griese and Gus Frerotte before banking on Jake Plummer, then betting on Jay Cutler then doubling down on whoever is throwing picks for Denver now.

Worse yet is that my nephew will probably be a Packer Backer thanks to my sister-in-law being one, and the Broncos being a benign force in the AFC West.

During college, when the $1 pizzas at Old Chicago in Tucson became $2, we still bought them after Arizona basketball or softball games, but we could no longer get full off five bucks. I hear they are now $4.

Yep, change can certainly be horrible. Companies buy other companies to make bigger companies. Models are discontinued, sports teams lose stars, and some cities lose their teams.

I lost my bookstore.

I browsed one last time. The sports section was picked over. A few titles looked good, but the line was so long I could have finished it before I had to pay.

That would certainly defeat the purpose. Plus, paying $23 for something you don’t really need, just to save $5 doesn’t make a lot of economical sense.

So I left, for the last time. Past the bar behind which stood the nice people that served me green tea, coffee and carrot cake for the past few years as I read, graded, wrote and people watched.

I’ll get over it, but Borders does have a place in my neocortex along with Crystal Pepsi.



To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail aklund21@gmail.com.
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