The fingers have continued to jab left and right, zeroing in on this or that obvious culprit. But it appears more likely that, rather than falling under the lead pipe of some dastardly lone slayer, Cody’s died the death of a thousand cuts, from a thousand blades: disparate and even largely inadvertent but ineluctable. Telegraph Avenue … slash. Parking … slash. Chain stores … slash slash. The remaining perps have thus far eluded detection: transformations in Cal’s student body, for instance, and the ebbing of radical chic. Perhaps the hardest cut to endure is that books as we know them are fading, bit by bit, from ubiquity. We can no longer presume they’ll always be here. Actual books, with covers and pages and bindings and type, are increasingly artifacts, relics — old school, silverfish food, without hyperlinks. How long before that $24.95 best-seller, bought on Amazon yesterday, is displayed in a museum alongside rotary phones, cyclamates, and bustles? That’s why the death of Cody’s hurts: For all those who used to sneak-read as children under the covers with flashlights and books, it presages our own obsolescence.
Good thing there’s still a market for useless trinkets, yoga mats, incence and candles. Whew. Crisis averted.