The Heft of Webster

December 27, 2007 - Leave a Response


This is, by far, the largest payload I have ever carried on my old Motobecane. With two books, each the size of a cinder block and the weight of an anvil, I left Powel’s City of Books for my home in Northeast Portland. I’m certain the bicycle’s rack, stressed by the weight hanging upon it, remained at the edge of its structural limits.

I’ve toyed with the idea of buying a second edition of Webster’s dictionary, and finally succumbed to my desire. With Webster in one pouch and Moby Dick in the other, I got an excellent workout riding home. Most people measure their reading by an accounting of books read, often a thousand or more, and that is an admirable number. I measure my literacy in raw tonnage.