Nearly Perfect

I was buying a pile of books at Goodwill. One clerk rang me up, while another studied the book covers. She stopped on one and asked me, “What is this word?”

“Utopia? It means a perfect world.”

My definition didn’t move her, she looked at me expectantly.

“A perfect world, . . . like a perfect society.”

She waited a beat, then went back to the cover and ran her fingers over the last few letters of “Utopia”. She said, “I come from Ethiopia. It’s like this.”

“You mean Ethiopia is a perfect world?”

“Yes. Except for the first letters.”

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