“Have you read the Da Vincio…”
His voice trailed off, but I knew what he was talking about.
“No, I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code .”
“I was watching something on The History Channel about it…”
I could tell that he wanted to talk about a book he didn’t read and conspiracy theories he has only had a passing glance of. I went through my conspiracy theory phase in the early nineties, so I had no patience for him.
“I heard it was a cheap rip-off of Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I read Foucault’s Pendulum, so I didn’t bother with The Da Vinci Code. Foucault’s Pendulum was written in Italian and translated rather poorly, so maybe that’s…”
The phone rang and I answered it professionally even though I was in mid-rant. We never got back to the conversation and in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get to finish. I was about to talk about Portuguese, Latin and Italian. I was about to tell him how I regretted that I didn’t write the translations in my book so that my friends could read it. I was about to tell him about Dylan’s rant, “Bring me the head of Umberto Eco!”
I just looked up The Da Vinci Code at my library’s website. They have 10 books and 49 holds. Anyone who has stepped into a Barnes and Noble in the last year has seen the huge display of Da Vinci items. Apparently, The History Channel even has a show about it. All that popularity makes me recoil from it like a Britney Spears concert.
Yet, at one time, I was so intrigued by the idea of conspiracy theories that I was willing to slog through Foucault’s Pendulum. I looked up the Latin. I muddled my way through the Portuguese. I did my best with the Italian. I consumed the Templars. I was intrigued by the Kabala. I even chuckled at the thought that Mickey Mouse had a part in it all. I didn’t go all Illuminati or anything, but I enjoyed the ideas for a brief month or two in my life.
I liked the ideas in the past. Why do I recoil from them now? Is it just the popularity of them that makes me dismiss them with a “cheap rip-off” jab? I’m feeling guilty now and my words from this morning sound callous and hollow. I guess I should read the book. It’s not like it’s going to tax my intellect like Umberto’s did. I could probably read it over a weekend. I’m not waiting in line behind 49 people, though. I better buy my own copy.