Sunday, October 31, 2004

Where’s Africa?

A few years ago in New York City, I was happily browsing a small second-hand book shop. It was a delicious musty warren of nooks with tall stuffed bookshelves sorted by subject. There were perhaps three other people browsing as well.
A young man hurried in, turned to the clerk and asked excitedly, “Where’s Africa?”
We turned to look. The clerk laughed nervously, then pointed across the store to a shelf near me. “Over there,” he said, “below the books on Asia.”
“No, “said the young man. “I mean the continent!”
“Uh, I think it’s south of the Mediterranean,” offered the clerk.
“Thanks!” said the young man, and he hurried away.

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