The (Little) Prince

This is a short little deviation from my blog’s usual fare, but it’s a story so hilarious and strange to me I had to share it:

The Scene: I am at the counter at my local Barnes and Noble, a little bit peeved after receiving a damaged book in the mail, making the rainy drive over to the store after an already long drive home, and suffering through the slow printer at the customer service desk and the wait for the manger to key in the code that will finally process my online return. The cashier and I are still waiting for said manager when a boy, who I can only describe as looking like Harry Potter from the Sorcerer’s Stone days: about 11 years old, dark hair, skinny, glasses, generally nerdy appearance, sidles up to the counter next to me and politely asks my cashier if the store carries a book called The Prince.

I’m thinking: “The Prince as in The Prince by Machiavelli? The 16th century work of philosophy about how to be a tyrant?!”

And sure enough, when the cashier repeats the title and gives him a blank stare, he helpfully adds, “Yeah! It’s about how to be a good ruler.”

I am about to try to clarify that such a youngster is actually interested in such dark and dense philosophy, and to point him toward the appropriate section myself (how I never got a job at that store when I wanted one so badly in high school is completely beyond me), but the manager arrives just then and I don’t get a chance to speak to the boy as we finish my complicated transaction. By the time I look up from putting my credit card away, he’s run off.

I suppose if he’s got a kingdom to conquer before he hits high school, he doesn’t have time to wait around.


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