Transcript: Lost in the Words | Oct 18, 2019

A clip shows images of a bookstore.

A woman says WHEN YOU WORK IN
A USED BOOKSTORE,
YOU TEND TO COME ACROSS
SOME PRETTY WEIRD STUFF.
LIKE, SELF-HELP BOOKS
MASQUERADING AS A...
(IMITATING SCARFACE)
"SAY HELLO TO MY
"LITTLE FRIEND'S" CASE.
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY ODDITIES,
WEIRDITIES,
AND ANTIQUATED PERSPECTIVES.
THE MOST STRIKING ODDITY WAS
THE SHEER SIZE AND SCOPE
OF THE COLLECTION OF BOOKS
IN THIS STORE.
THIS WAS THE LIFE'S WORK
OF AN UNCHALLENGED HOARDER.
THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS,
THAT EVEN THE BOOKSHELVES
COULD NOT WITHSTAND
THE WEIGHT OF IT,
AND IN 2015,
THERE WAS A CASCADING COLLAPSE
OF MOST OF THE SHELVES
IN THE BASEMENT,
THROWING THOUSANDS OF BOOKS
ONTO THE FLOOR
AND ERADICATING HIS
UNIQUE FILING SYSTEM.
UNLIKE OTHER ADDICTIONS,
OR O.C.D.,
HOARDING OFFERS
A FEW LIGHTER MOMENTS,
LIKE THE 2013 DAY-TIMER
HE HAS IN HIS COLLECTION.
ALTHOUGH I CAN
ACTUALLY SEE
SOME HIPSTER
BUYING IT FROM US,
PUTTING IT ON EBAY,
SELLING IT,
AND ANOTHER HIPSTER
BUYING IT,
AND PLACING IT STRATEGICALLY
NEXT TO THEIR
SEPTEMBER 1978 IRONICALLY
PURCHASED COPY OF TV GUIDE.
THIS WAS
THE FIRST TIME
HE ADMITTED
HE HAD A PROBLEM.
DO YOU THINK
YOU'RE A HOARDER?

A man says YES, I WOULD GET GIFTS
FROM ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE.
I PLAY WITH A TOY,
PUT IT AWAY,
AND LOOK AT THE BOOKS.
BECAUSE I ALWAYS GET BOOKS.
AND THAT'S HOW I GOT
HOOKED ON BOOKS.

The woman says HE WAS AN ONLY CHILD,
HE NEVER MARRIED
OR HAD CHILDREN,
BUT HE BOUGHT BOOKS.
LOTS AND LOTS
OF BOOKS.
AND I'M SURE
HE STARTED PURCHASING THEM
FROM SHORTLY AFTER ARRIVING
IN CANADA FROM POLAND
IN THE LATE 1950'S.
HE SPENT HIS WORKING LIFE
AT THE SECURITY DEPARTMENT
AT A LARGE BANK.
A JOB SOMEONE TOLD HIM ONCE
THAT HE WOULD NEVER GET,
HE WASN'T QUALIFIED.
HE RETIRED THERE
AFTER 30 YEARS.
AND HIS BOOK COLLECTING
WENT THERMO-NUCLEAR
WHEN HE OPENED THE STORE.
WHEN YOU STARTED
THE STORE,
HOW MANY BOOKS
DID YOU HAVE?

The man says PROBABLY...
I'M NOT SURE HOW MANY
I BROUGHT INTO THE STORE,
BUT I HAD 13,000 BOOKS.

The woman says AND THAT WAS IN YOUR HOUSE
BEFORE YOU OPENED THE STORE?

The man says YES.

The woman says DID YOU HAVE THEM IN BOOK CASES
OR ON THE FLOOR, OR...?

The man says EVERYWHERE.
(CHUCKLING)
JUST LIKE THE WAY IT IS HERE.

The woman says WHAT DO YOU THINK
WILL HAPPEN TO THE BOOKS
WHEN YOU ARE NO LONGER
IN THIS WORLD?

The man says OVER WITH YOU.
(LAUGHING)

The woman says THE PROBLEM IS,
I DON'T REALLY WANT THEM.
I FIND THE SHEER SCOPE OF IT
COMPLETELY OVERWHELMING,
MUCH MORE SO THAN HE DOES.
HE'S DESENSITIZED TO IT.
IT CAUSES ME SO MUCH
ANXIETY SOMETIMES,
I JUST WANNA RUN SCREAMING
FROM THE BUILDING
AND NEVER COME BACK.
AND IF I LEAVE HERE
AND I DON'T HAVE ANOTHER JOB
IMMEDIATELY TO GO TO,
I WON'T BE ABLE TO PAY
MY HIGH RENT AND I WILL LOSE
MY HOUSING AGAIN.
ONE BOUT OF HOMELESSNESS
WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH.
WE'RE BOTH TRAPPED HERE
IN THE WORDS.
HE PRICES HIS BOOKS SO HIGH SO
THAT NO ONE WILL BUY THEM,
BECAUSE HE CAN'T
LET GO OF THEM.
I'M TRAPPED HERE
IN HIS LOOP,
BECAUSE I HAVE
HIGH RENT TO PAY
AND I'M TERRIFIED
OF BEING HOMELESS
AND LOSING EVERYTHING
THIS TIME.
SO WE BOTH COME TO WORK
EVERY DAY,
WE BICKER OVER PRICES.
HE IS IN HIS MID-80'S,
AND STILL ABLE TO
GO TO WORK EVERY DAY.
BUT I DO WONDER HOW THIS
WILL ALL PLAY OUT IN THE END.

The man says I DON'T LIKE BOOKS
GOING INTO GARBAGE.
FOR ME,
THAT'S SACRILEGE.
FOR ME THEY ARE NOT MERCHANDISE,
THEY ARE MY FRIENDS,
MY CHILDREN.

The woman says IF SOMEONE WERE TO SAY
THAT YOU'RE CRAZY
FOR COLLECTING BOOKS...

The man says YOU'RE RIGHT.

The woman says SERIOUSLY?

The man says I WOULD SAY,
"YOU'RE RIGHT, I AM CRAZY."
BECAUSE I'M CRAZY,
FOR ME THAT IS ADDICTION
TO SOMETHING LIKE OTHER PEOPLE
WHO ARE ADDICTED TO
ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
OR SOMETHING.
I'M ADDICTED TO BOOKS.

A caption reads "Thank you to George Ayerego. Lost in the words by Susan McLaughlin."

Watch: Lost in the Words