I was that kid who had a knack for getting into weird situations. My mother didn't care much about what I did with my time, so she didn’t mind when I would head a mile down to the public library. Six times a week I would ride my tricycle down to that huge building, dodging thick traffic and cutting through parking the whole way. And after stopping to admire the fountain outside, I would walk in and spend most of the day reading everything from Garfield when I was eight to To Kill a Mockingbird when I was fifteen.
But on the last visit I remember, I noticed there were a lot more bikes parked at the bike rack. The street next to the library was lined with cars; more than I’d ever seen in one place. Curious, and maybe a little frightened, I walked inside, and the building was packed with a solid mass of people. I shouldered and pushed my way through the foyer to see something bizarre a few feet from the familiar sliding-glass doors.
An unfamiliar man with a bizarre haircut was sitting at a huge, white table. So many cameras and phones were capturing pictures of him that I had to blink constantly to focus. The man was signing a seemingly endless pile of thick, grey books. He barely spared me a glance as another visitor tried to nudge me away from the vicinity, and he shouted something that was indistinguishable among the clamor of voices and shouts. Much as I wanted to get into the library, the enthusiasm with which the hundreds of guests grabbed the books once they were signed informed me they must be good.
Finally the man behind the table seemed to notice me. He quickly grabbed a copy of the huge book, scribbled down something and handed it to me with a barely audible, "Here you go, little miss!"
At the top of the book, in shining letters, was the title Fifty Shades of Grey. I lifted the jacketed cover to view the scrawled signature: Justin Bieber.
Since that day I have never returned to the library I once loved.
Written by Grizzly Bear