One of the most entertaining finds at the auction was a complete set of encyclopedias 1. Bound in oiled leather, but otherwise undistiguished, they were barely bid upon at all. I picked them up for the equivalent of 50 dollars. When I got them home, I began to leaf through the W volume. Remember that these reference texts spent their entire collective lives in the bedroom of a precocious and, by all accounts, funny boy of sadly independent means. Inhabiting the pages of the text were pictures of ladies in various underthings. The boy had evidently spent countless hours removing pictures from lingerie catalogs, comic strips, mathematical journals, etc and imbedding them in these books. An entry on blue whales might show the great beast being ridden by a large bosomed woman in a hunter's cap and toting a shotgun. A brief, but informative pictorial explaining the hidden algebras of the cotton gin would be interrupted by the sudden appearance timid lass with bleached hair tying her searing white tennis shoes. Rather than lifting the offending shoe onto some sort of platform (a chair, the net, a nearby bench) she is bending over to repair the damage, which seems to have occurred when the laces were pulled into the gin's carding mechanism. The slight arch of her back allows her skirt to rise, affording the reader a clear view of Eli Whitney's dates of birth and death.

1 Part of a larger series of German Language resources called "Ihr Gehirn des Papiers." The set of references above were called wer kann wissen? öffnen Sie sich für das Smarting!