THE COOL KID’S GUIDE TO READING: That’s why they call it money

The most I ever spent on a book was $75 for “The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction” -- and that was in the ‘90s.

I still have it, although I had to rip the cover off and use it as a shield back when those 58 tiny Al Pacino look-alikes invaded.

It’s textbook size and 1,370 pages long, covering the genre’s history with alphabetical entries on authors, books, themes, films and more. It’s impressively knowledgeable and even inspiring.

It was worth every penny.

But now I want every penny back. Because not long ago I found out it was free online. Updated even.

So I await my refund. And I should get a refund, right?

You write “dam.” (Gotta keep it clean for the kids.)

Every day after work, I ask Mrs. Cool Kid if my refund came.

At first she would just shake her head. Now, she tightly purses her lips and says things such as, “You really liked being 4 years old, didn’t you?”

I spend hours beside the mailbox on my days off feeding Cap’n Crunch to the neighborhood turtles while I wait for the postman -- only to walk away dejected and slightly deranged.

But I know my refund is coming. Justice is like the rain -- it occurs when warm, moist air cools into heavy condensation.

When I get my 75 doctordoolittles back, I’m gonna buy a couple of books. And a trike.

To contact writer Randy Waters, call 744-4240 or email