Sleeping with a Bibliobibuli
The person with whom I share my bed is a bibliobibuli.
The word sounds gross, and seems like a crawly insect or a creepy virus, whichever is worse. But that’s what the father of my sons has morphed into in the last couple of years.
I didn’t know what to call his new being up until my friend, Cherry, posted a similar photo (below) on her FB wall, and I cried, “Bingo! That’s the exact, precise, perfect word.”
Just to make sure I have finally pegged my bedmate right at this late stage in our lives (meaning, wisdom years), I looked up the word—not in dictionaries accepted by the halls of academe, but in free-for-all electronic lexicons that have invaded our placid lives in recent years. This definition is by Kelli Christiansen:
Bibliobibuli is a mixture of Greek (“biblio,” meaning books) and Latin ("bibulous" from "bibere," meaning to drink), and can be loosely translated as being drunk on books. The word was coined in 1957 by H. L. Mencken who said: “. . . I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing."
Once a bibliobibuli, always a bibliobibuli, I think. My children’s dad confesses that once upon a time, long ago, he already was. But earthly concerns such as running a business and being a father crowded his hours. So now that he has been blessed with the luxury of time, he has slid back to what he was.
I confess to being a chronic bibliobibuli, too, but I am not always “in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing." In between reading, I write. In between reading, my bedmate reads.
In fact, when he is not in his office, with his clients, friends, and Rotary, you’ll find him in only two places—a bookstore, reading what he wants to read next, and a coffee shop where he is, yeah, “in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing," devouring two books a week.
Noticing him deeply asleep one night, I suddenly had my own definition of bibliobibuli: The sort of people dunked in grace—not drunk on books. It’s sleeping in peace after a troubled day with no hangover the morning after.