DO NO HARM Takes a Dirt Nap

On the sad stretch of Van Nuys where it intersects Ventura Boulevard, there is a Crown Books that went to a Supercrown that is now an unnamed store filled with remaindered copies of Whoopi Goldberg’s autobiography and kitty calendars (which I supposed beats Whoopi Goldberg calendars and kitty autobiographies). From the outside you might think it has been taken over by squatters. My one-time agent, Jess Taylor, was in from Brazil, and desirous of that finest offering of the City of Angels—In-N-Out. So we ate our Double-Doubles and ambled across the parking lot to the not-really-a-Supercrown. Together, we made fun of our various friends and colleagues who had been remaindered in such squalor. Ha! Peter’s latest is at five bucks while Joanne’s still selling at six fifty.

Then what do I spot?

My very own DO NO HARM, the telltale magic marker scrawl staining the page edges.

Without missing a beat, Jess turns to me and says, “I just figured out the name of the store: Ozymandias Books.”


For the record, here is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem.


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart…Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”