The teen librarian had an experience he felt might feature well on my blog. I was more keen on exclusive internet rights to his semi-famous Top Ten Books of the Year list. Perhaps this is some kind of test case for the 2014 list. Hmm.
Let us begin with the story, short as it is, unvarnished. Our teen
librarian had been seeing a bumper sticker around town a lot lately.
Here is what he took it to say, over and over:
LOVE PEOPLE. COOK THEM. TASTY FOOD!
He thought that this bumper sticker was a wry, quietly funny, zombie
inspired bumper sticker, and was amused by its cleverness until, just
recently he realized that the bumper sticker actually said:
LOVE PEOPLE. COOK THEM TASTY FOOD.
The punctuation change steers us so dramatically out of the land of
cannibalism that it makes for a nice little, funny story. However, since my
blog thrives on rich social commentary, I needed a way to contextualize
this story. I immediately delved into my associations with this story.
My first association with this story was to the book Eats, Shoots, and Leaves,
which is one of a very select group of bestsellers about punctuation. All of the sudden I
can't quite think of any of the other bestsellers about punctuation. Other than being a good title for a
possible sequel to that book it was clear I should look into my second
association for inspiration.
My second association was to a Damon Knight story that was made into a
Twilight Zone episode. It was called To Serve Man. Close your eyes for
awhile if you were planning on reading or watching this anytime soon because
we are talking major spoilers ahead. Okay? In To Serve Man, very kind and
powerful aliens come to earth. They have a book with them called To Serve Man as a sort
of guide or Bible. This helps people trust these super powerful and helpful
aliens even more. But at the end of the story our hero learns that To
Serve Man is not a guidebook, it's a cookbook! You can see why I'd
associate the stories. Unfortunately it does not serve to illuminate the teen librarian's story.
Finally, at a bit of a loss, I started thinking of poor Marcus, the teen
librarian, out in our teen room, isolated back there, buying all those books about
vampires and zombies and werewolves, witches and demigods, driving around to teen
prisons to give talks. Posing for the covers of national librarian magazines and choosing master lists of all the YA graphic novels for libraries everywhere to purchase. I think of him going over to high schools and conferences and meetings in scattered cities and everywhere he goes
seeing these weird zombie bumper stickers, "love people, cook them!", just everywhere. And I had a moment
of shocking insight. Marcus is not long for us here. Some clever, fancy
library system is going to snatch up our star librarian to be their
library director. I give it a year, year and a half, tops. And he'll be a good one too, a
really good Library Director, I mean, after some quiet time. A lot of