Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lore



It sneaks up on you. Only moments ago I was a dashing young library clerk artist, doing interesting things about town, working part time at a library. Then one day I woke up to find I was Old Man Library himself.

"I remember you." The patrons say. "You were here when I was a kid."

Yes, yes I was. Oh, the things I could tell you. In fact, I am going to tell you them now. All of them. Every single one! I am the fucking Ancient Mariner.

It's all the this lore. When you work someplace a long time you collect so much lore you can no longer contain it. It starts spilling out of you. There is no wrong or right, funny or sad, interesting or tedious. Lore just crams into you and it no longer fits. If the shelves are too full then the books will start falling out. And if one book falls it can trigger a cascade. And so it is with me and all this lore. No one is safe, certainly not the youngster co-workers who've been here for a mere two or eight or twelve years (whatever, they are all new), nor the patrons, nor the random people one meets around town. The lore spills. The lore has to come out. There is no stopping it!



Not so terribly long ago all the library staff here were entirely exempt from all late fines.

There was a round, short, bald man who used to do all the shelving in the kid's room. He was quiet and reserved and just a bit grumpy. Once he went into the break room and said to two of his longtime co-workers, to whom he had never said a cross word "What are you two bimbos talking about?"

An old timer once told me, at some long forgotten retirement party, that our original building was, at one point, 70 or 80 years ago, a pub, and that they could sometimes catch the smell of beer coming from the floor drains in the basement.

We once had no check out limit whatsoever, and the first one we created in the computer age was 500, implemented entirely to deal with the deranged, obsessive check outs of one single patron. For months after the new rule she had a constantly rotating collection of 500 items out until she made one mistake returning them late. This broke her financially, and she never returned to the library again.

We used to have small boating parties on the little wetlands pond out in the old break room's back yard.

The library adopted a hamster that was put through our book return. He was called Dewey and would sometimes run around the Circulation desk in a little hamster ball.

Patrons used to bitterly complain about checking out videos that hadn't been rewound! The worst of these people would then heatedly tell us that they did not rewind their videos in protest.

At least five couples I know of met working at our library and later married, all of them still together, but not a single one of these romances started in this century.


Fascinating, banal, funny, pointless, meandering, odd, creaky, empty and appealing stories. It doesn't matter! They must be spoken. They are Old Man Library stories. Lore. Lo, a commandment. I gave you eight of them here. Do you think that will hold me? 

Ha!

As soon as I finish this up I'll go wandering. A curse is laid upon me. There must be some prospective listeners around. Everyone is a prospective listener. The shelves are full, the shelves are always full.









39 comments:

  1. We only use swear words once out of every 100 blog posts, so today is a special occasion!

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    1. Swear word? Was it "bimbos"?

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    2. Yes, exactly, it was "bimbos". I only felt okay using it because it was a direct quote.

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  2. I only add 3 of my own comments to my blog posts once every 100 posts, so today is a special occasion!

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    1. Isn't it actually five comments you've added, counting this one and the other comment you wrote that you pretended was from an anonymous user but was actually just you?

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    2. No, the joke is on you! It is actually six comments!

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  3. This is all very interesting, but does anyone read the comments down here?

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    1. Not usually, which is the beauty of it, it's like whispering a secret to the wind, or writing a little prayer and shoving it into the cracks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

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    2. Ooh! This sounds super interesting. How do I leave a comment?

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    3. I'm sorry, comments are now closed for this post.

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    4. How did I do this then?

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  4. Just as a small point of interest, I am fast approaching my all time record for most comments on a single post!

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    1. Hmm, though I am wondering if this record counts if I am the one leaving all the comments.

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    2. I think so as long as in some of the comments you pretend to be an anonymous person and not yourself.

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    3. Well then, SHAZAM! We have done it! Sixteen comments!

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    4. Sixteen comments? Wow, this must really be a good blog post!

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    5. Maybe, I hope so. I mean, I can't even remember the blog post, but I am high as a kite on all these comments!

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  5. Hey, good work on all the comments. I know what it's like- I'm getting a lot of reaction to my upcoming album of Frank Sinatra songs.

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    1. Bob, I am touched that you read my blog, and I think you are great, but if you keep promoting your cd of Sinatra covers on my blog I swear I will ban you so fast your head will spin!

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    2. I am sorry, I don't know what comes over me! If there's anything I can do to make it up to you let me know. Do you need any sneakers?

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    3. Actually, I do have a small, er, request. Not for me, but if it's not too late for a favor?

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    4. Anything, just say the word.

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    5. I would like you to take a nice break from touring and then publicize a really huge return concert, maybe solo acoustic. During that concert spend at least half the stage time chatting affably to the crowd, telling stories, making wry comments, you know the thing. When you play songs do them pretty similarly to how they are on the records.

      Would this be okay?

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    6. You totally had me going there!

      But do you think I should take a break from my tour and spend a couple weeks with my daughter?

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    7. Bob, I've begged you not to ask me these questions. I don't know. I don't know you or your daughter.

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    8. Right, right. Sorry. I'm sorry.

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  6. Hey, is that really Bob Dylan?

    And congratulations on all the comments, all from different people, almost none of whom are actually you!

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    1. I don't understand, who else would it be other than Bob Dylan?

      I know! The comments, there's like thirty some! I feel like Smitten Kitchen!

      Btw, love the painting, especially the deposition one at the Vatican.

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    2. Thanks, it's all in the glaze work.

      Love the blog, keep up the good work!

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    3. I'll try, but lately I'm spending so much time writing comments it's hard to keep up with the blog! lol.

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  7. Replies
    1. How do I know it's you and not just me pretending to be you?

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  8. Because if it were you pretending to be me, then, wait, um, you're right! There is no way to know if it was you pretending to be me after pretending to be Bob Dylan and Caravaggio and then pretending to be me OR me pretending to be you pretending to be Bob Dylan and Caravaggio (and anonymous) and you pretending to be me.

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    1. Wait! I've got it. It has to be you because it has a logo, your name (or, in this case, initials) and a date stamp. There is no way to fake any of that, I mean, not unless I were, like, a master hacker, which, I assure you, I am not! If I were my blog would be the homepage of a hundred million computers!

      Anyway, so, now we know this is your comment, and you can relax then, knowing that you are you. Which, it turns out, You are.

      Delete

If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.