Saturday, March 15, 2014

The perfect and the real

Sometimes there are library anecdotes that are so picturesque, so elemental, and of such simple construction that, while they are irresistible to a blogger such as myself, they are actually difficult to use. On the one hand their streamlined perfection makes them textureless and hard to hold. They seem too immaculate and precise to be part of the real world. They feel made up. And on the other hand, without complication and the touch of the real, the anecdote does not feel funny or striking, rather, it feels like something you already heard somewhere else, probably on some lousy sitcom, or a cartoon, or something. On top of all this, it is such a very short anecdote, with nothing extra swirling around it to give it life, nothing to build up to, no crescendo, no investment that makes you feel like you've earned it.

So I wrote this really long introduction to try and help. And I will tell you the anecdote very soon. It will not, as I have already made clear, blow you away. But if you are willing to believe me that this very thing did happen, to me, at the front desk of the library, this very evening, exactly as I describe it, I think you will find it worthwhile. Yes, it is too perfect, but I swear to you it really happened. And in reality, believed, the perfection of it, as is, is part of what's enjoyable about it.

The anecdote:

A group of rocket scientists had our large meeting room scheduled for this evening. They came up to me at the front desk. They could not figure out how to turn the room lights on.

Yes, that's it. 

I did warn you. I think if you sit with it for a bit, if you really try, there is a small ray of light to be found there. Perhaps even enough to read by.

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