A Long Story

I recently tried to purchase a Zarahemla Books title at Seagull Book and Tape. Typically I would order directly from the Z Books website. But my sister gave me a SBT gift certificate for my birthday.

“Impossible,” the salesperson told me.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes,” she assured me. “It is not on my computer.”
Before that encounter, I had taken a gander at the SBT website. For both childishly nostalgic and semi-ironically kitschy reasons, I was intrigued by the Book of Mormon action figures I found.
“Fine,” I said to the salesperson, getting a little snotty. “Then the only thing I want in your store is a freaking Captain Moroni doll!”

A few weeks later, here I am on my lunch hour. It is rivalry (BYU v. Utah) week. I am reading an article about John Beck (the hero of last year’s glorious victory), and his first start with the Miami Dolphins. The reporter tells us:

On a shelf in Beck’s locker was an action figure of Captain Moroni. According to the Book of Mormon, he is a Nephite general who lived during the first century before Christ. Beck said he takes the figure to each game with him. “It’s a long story we’ll save for another time,” Beck said.

A long story indeed. I absolutely hate people calling the BYU-Utah rivalry “the Holy War.” Alas, real religious wars are not behind us as humans, and “Holy War” has creepy clash-of-civilizations overtones to my ears. BYU’s team is not necessarily holier than Utah’s. God probably doesn’t care about who wins on Saturday. Et cetera.

But this is what I love: my sense that BYU represents Mormon culture. And that BYU winning somehow feels like a victory for Mormon culture. And that now a Captain Moroni action figure will travel with a young Mormon gladiator from NFL locker room to NFL locker room, inspiring him to take a stand Nephite-style.

8 thoughts on “A Long Story”

  1. “I absolutely hate people calling the BYU-Utah rivalry “the Holy War.””

    Yeah, cuz “the Holy War” is actually BYU-Notre Dame. BYU-Utah is “the Beehive Boot.”

  2. I’ve always thought of BYU and Utah more as kissing cousins than anything else.

  3. I’m offended on Chris’ behalf.

    This is idiocy on the part of Seagull/Deseret Book. Chris had a table at the LDSBA. Why didn’t Seagull’s buyers go after listing his material in their store? Deseret Book also doesn’t list Chris’ material. Same situation.

    I don’t know if Chris has approached them about his titles, but it does seem strange that both stores don’t bother to even list titles in their databases.

  4. Well crap. Just goes to show how much my years of avid BYU following has actually taught me.

  5. Seagull has completely kept their door shut; you can’t even approach them unless you have a minimum of 10 products to pitch.

    I’ve had some inside dealings with Deseret but no luck in getting them to carry any titles.

    I’m surprised the stores can’t all just order titles from Ingram, which carries Zarahemla titles; I guess the buying is so tightly central they can’t even allow that.

    I’ve had better luck elsewhere. I got Barnes & Noble to order the Z. titles for their Utah stores, and BYU Bookstore has sold almost 1,000 of my books, including almost 400 of Thayer’s memoir Hooligan.

    I’m not sure where I stand on the current debate about an online venture, but here’s a fascinating article about the book industry as a whole:
    http://www.villagevoice.com/books/0621,collins,73282,10.html

  6. Well, since you’re left now with an unused SBT gift certificate, I think the solution is obvious: buy yourself a nice Simon Dewey print!

    OK, I’m done.

    No, maybe I’m not. I stopped at Seagull Book last time I was in Utah looking for a book on CD for the drive home and they only had ONE written by an apostle. In the entire store. The “doctrinal” section was about one tenth of the size of the fiction section. Luckily, the one CD they had was Elder Eyring’s To Draw Closer to God, which may be one of the most sublime things Deseret Book has ever published. Unluckily, Seagull Book got the profit for it.

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