Self-Help Books: Don't Be Afraid Of Them
By: Sarah Schrupp
Except this self-help book. You can be afraid of this self-help book.
The scene is all too familiar: a woman standing in the middle of Wal-Mart. She whips her head around both ways to make sure no one is looking. Someone walks by, so she quickly turns to the shelf behind her, pretending to be checking out the latest line in hair care products. The intruder is gone now, so she flips around again to examine the shelf. She finds what she’s looking for, shoves it in the cart, and walks away, blood rushing to her face. Let’s be honest: most of us have gone through it. I’m talking about having to buy something that you are just plain embarrassed to buy. Whether you’re a dad buying Midol and feminine pads for your daughter, a man in your thirties buying Twilight (it should be noted that anyone who buys a book about a sparkly Cedric Diggory should feel a certain amount of guilt), or a middle-aged woman buying a Snuggie for your cat, there is a certain amount of dread that comes with going into that check-out line and risking the fear of being judged. And then you turn your head about twenty degrees and notice your savior: self-check outs. You have won! . . .at least at Wal-mart. But what about Barnes & Noble?
At Barnes & Noble there is no self-checkout. Now one might ask “Why would anyone be embarrassed about purchasing a book?” Apparently you, my silly friend, have not been to the self-help section at B&N. In said section, book titles range from “So You Have Herpes: Now What?” to “How To Tell Your Gay Boyfriend That You Met A Guy Named Brian At That Queen Tribute Concert And You May Or May Not Be Moving In With Him Into His Flat Next Week,” all of them as specific as they are embarrassing. Who wants to go through the check-out with that in your hand? Well, I am here to tell you, don’t be afraid to still visit this section, for among all the garbage there are some very useful books there.
Yeah, yeah I can hear you all whining now, “but we don’t want to be made fun of for purchasing self-help books! Help us, oh great one!” Well here are a few solutions to your problem. Solution number one: bring a stack of post-it notes to the bookstore. After you find the self-help book of your choice, cover said book with the post-it notes (therefore blocking the title of the book), leaving the bar code open for swiping. When the salesclerk questions you about all the post-it notes, ask him why his mother made him so ugly. This should quiet him. If for some reason you find this solution to be “rude and very bizarre,” then go with my next solution: suck it up and buy self-help books anyway. There’s a reason self-help books have grown 7% a year since 2001. It’s because they can make us better human beings. They have self-help books out there to help with almost any problem you can think of, so why not use these resources?
Business men and women read self-help books to learn how to make more money, manage their time and staff more efficiently, and to improve on their Donald Trump impression of “you’re fired,” (it’s a great party trick for the corporate Christmas party). Men and women that suffer from depression and social anxiety disorders read self-help books to understand more about their condition. Oprah writes self-help books in case people haven’t had enough Oprah from her magazines, television show, television channel, appearances in movies, website, and radio.
In conclusion, if you have been in a bookstore and walked right past the self-help section, now is your time to revisit this aisle. Just think of self-help books as inexpensive magic genies that are here to help you solve your problems. Now is the time to metaphorically rub your magic lamp and have your life transformed.*
* I recently purchased and read a self-help book entitled “How To Use Magic Genie Metaphors In Order To Make Your Point Clearly and Concisely.” You tell me if it worked.