Shouldn’t We Always Judge a Book by its Cover?

Newcastle Brown AleThe Postaday for yesterday, which I unfortunately missed, is all about first impressions.

“Never judge a book by its cover.” It’s a phrase that I am sure we are all familiar with. The saying basically means that you should never judge something entirely on how it looks on the outside.

However this is one of those phrases that works much better metaphorically than in reality. After all that is what book covers are for. The image on the front, the title, and especially the blurb on the back cover are all designed to give you an impression of what the book is about.

I wouldn’t expect a book titled ‘My First Love’ with a woman on the front cover, smiling innocently and holding a rose to actually be a hard-hitting expose on corruption during the cold war.

I’m sure there are many other examples but neither cakes nor people should be judged by what’s on the outside.

I remember when I used to work behind the bar in a little rock club called Future in Derby. For those of about my age who lived in Derby I’m sure you remember it, for everyone else it would be a fairly insignificant club or no real value. Though it’s frequent run ins with debt collectors were of notable importance.

Anyway, I was working behind the bar, it was my first job and I was nervous and kind of shy. The rock night always had people from a lot of genres, rockers, punks, skaters, and metal-heads and they all combined into an interesting mix of people.

I’d just finished serving a rather cute blonde in a PVC nurses uniform (I’m not sure why I remember her) when I turned to serve the next customer. The customer was a large and rather angry-looking biker. His arms were bigger than my waist, he wore a bandana, had skull tattoos, and a few teeth missing; everything their reputation had told me a biker would be.

My throat went dry, and not for the first time, I was very, very nervous. What was he going to order? A Newcastle Brown probably, but oh god, we were out. I was going to have to tell him, that he couldn’t have what we wanted. Suddenly the realisation came to me that I was going to piss off a very large and angry biker. He would then go back to his mates, and I would have to leave the country or something.

I looked at him, and gave him the friendliest, yet most macho and manly type smile I could.

“What can I get you?” I asked, almost visibly sweating.

The biker looked back at me, his angry face instantly dissolving into a big beaming friendly smile. “Two Diet Coke’s please.”

That’s how I learned first-hand that you can’t judge a person by how they look. I have, however, continued to judge books by their covers to a high degree of success.


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