Monday, February 3, 2014

We are muppets!

Recently I wrote a blog post in which I suggested that my library is a lot like Sesame Street (here). As I was thinking of it and walking around my library with it rattling in my brain, I found myself seeing my library through a kind of Sesame Street lens. It turns out there were Sesame Street moments everywhere; the way kids asked questions, the way a young man helped a tired old lady put her many books one by one into the return slot, even the way the library started to look like a stage set to me. Not only was all of this terribly helpful when it came time to write the piece, but it filled my head so to bursting with the idea that I had to tell Dave, my co-worker.

I won't go too deeply into our strong co-worker bond and its peculiarities here, but I have been noticing lately that when either of us brings up a new idea, a musical recommendation, a recipe, whatever, the others reaction is knee jerk negative, which inspires a discussion and reevaluation until that negativity is reformed by a broadening vision of the universe into something either basically accepting or downright positive. Like I said, I will not venture into the rich psychological territory of all that here, but it was very much in effect when I exclaimed to Dave "We work on Sesame Street!" and Dave responded "I think that's going a little far. Where are the puppets?"

The brilliance of the Muppets (and, yes, all Sesame Street puppets are Muppets) is that, like any great caricatures, they express the human even better than the real thing. It took less than 30 seconds for Dave to be making thorough analogs of staff with specific Muppets. I have always done a bit of this matching, and have worked with striking versions of Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie (I was even Ernie in this case) and, venturing a bit farther afield, Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef. But to stand there with Dave, making the argument for it, and having the argument be so easy, so wildly obvious, gave me a new lens. Suddenly, with a powerful presence, I found that there were Muppets everywhere in the library!

That shaggy man shambling through, the old lady with the florid gestures, the animated talkative teen, all Muppets! And it wasn't like they were analogs for famous Muppets, they were their own, unique, brilliantly designed Muppets, each one a work of elegant crafted genius from Jim Henson's studios. I liked it. I liked it a lot. All the old categories for seeing people, class, race, youth, success, style and on and on were all swept away. It was fabulous. Just Muppets, we are all Muppets, strange, snowflake, uncategorizable, Muppets, everywhere!

1 comment:

  1. Once again you have forsaken your vows of secrecy and opened another forbidden cask of ancient knowledge for the vulgar and base of the world to slobbering over. You have been an apostate librarian for long enough and should have been defrocked by now. The esoteric stacks must never be exposed! And now this. The steppuM Codex!! You Yankees will destroy this civilization yet!


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