"We may never fully understand what prompts people to leave unusual objects inside books. I speak of the slice of fried bacon that the novelist Reynolds Price once found nestled within the pages of a volume in the Duke University library. I speak of the letter that ran: 'Do not write to me as Gail Edwards. They know me as Andrea Smith here,' which the playwright Mark O’Donnell found some years ago in a used paperback. I speak of any of those bizarre objects — scissors, a used Q-tip, a bullet, a baby’s tooth, drugs, pornography and 40 $1,000 bills — that have been discovered by the employees of secondhand bookstores, according to The Wall Street Journal and AbeBooks.com. Mystery surrounds these deposits like darkness."
-- Henry Allford, "You Never Know What You'll Find in a Book"
I am guilty of this rather frequently, although I've never stuffed a pair of scissors or a tooth into a book. (If someone wants to give me forty $1,000 bills, I would be more than happy to find a home for them in one of my books.) Despite a sizable collection of bookmarks, I will often grab whatever is most convenient to mark my place in a book. Usually it's a receipt, a greeting card or a photograph, but occasionally I'll use something a little more unusual or important.
This past summer, my debit card went missing. After a minor identity theft freak-out, I discovered that there were no questionable charges on my account, so I was fairly certain that I had lost the card somewhere in my house. After a thorough search of the house, I had the bank cancel my card and I received a new card a few days later. I figured that the original card would turn up eventually, but I gave it little thought after the hassle of switching my recurring payments over to the new card was completed.
Last week I pulled my copy of The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King from its shelf, and nearly laughed myself silly when my debit card came tumbling out of it. It had been marking one of my favorite passages -- one that I had typed up and sent to a friend over the summer. I frequently keep my wallet by the computer for online purchases, and I suppose I used my debit card as an impromptu bookmark that day.
Note to Self: Next time you lose something, search your books first.