I have lived in literary purgatory most of my life.
Growing up, I resided between two small towns in the area of Portland, Ore.
Because of my location, I never had a library card until moving to Sequim.
Owning a library card has been ingrained in my mind since I was a little boy.
Levar Burton, host of "Reading Rainbow" on public television, always encouraged viewers to go to their local library. So did Big Bird, Mister Rogers, and so on.
My TV heroes left me saying "aww shucks" an awful lot.
Each summer, my grade school librarian would pose a challenge to students. If students read a book from a preferred list and took a quiz on the book, they would be eligible for a private pizza party.
I ached to win this contest but never stood a chance. The books on the preferred list didn't interest me and I didn't have a library card. I was zero for two if my life were a baseball box score.
During grade school, my favorite book was on the St. Louis Cardinal's shortstop Ozzie Smith, but it never appeared on the librarian's list. Full of amazing pictures of Smith performing unfathomable flips, catching ground and fly balls, the book made me more of a dreamer than an avid reader.
Through the remainder of junior and senior high, I relied on teacher-provided novels and textbooks.
It wasn't until college that I was able to check out books for casual reading.
I had access to an infinite amount of literature, but there wasn't time.
Anyone who has time to read leisurely in college needs to take on my past course loads.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago:
I had snapped photos at the Olympic Peninsula Doll Show at Sequim High School and, while walking to my car, I looked across the street.
Like Bill Murray being slimed by a ghost in "Ghostbusters," I was stunned that I had not visited the Sequim Library.
Minutes later, the stars aligned, the seas parted and every other cliché came true as I received my first "real" library card.
Subsequently, I have been to the library a handful of times to pick up holds I placed on the Internet, peruse the shelves and write the names of books I plan to check out.
In my opinion, there are few public places that can compare to the newly remodeled Sequim Library.
The selection through the online catalog system is extraordinary. In these few weeks, I estimate I have saved hundreds of dollars by going to the library instead of purchasing books and renting DVDs.
I never imagined Sequim and Port Angeles would have "Curb Your Enthusiasm," an HBO TV show, and several original graphic novels and collected comic book collections.
I'm a neurotic geek, so forgive me.
It will take me months, possibly a year, to make it through my wish list. By the end, I'm sure I easily will have more to add.
The sad part of my story is that I have known about this amazing resource my whole life, yet I was forced to wait.
The love for books is not new but the glorious yellow glow from my new library card filling the grey area in my wallet leaves me satisfied.
Maybe it's a life lesson that the postman forgot to deliver, but I know I will cherish this new discovery.
The Sequim Library is at 630 N. Sequim Ave. and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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