Sunday, August 14, 2016
Good old complaining
After an extremely problematic and difficult several weeks at my library I was pleased to find myself outraged about minor shelving errors in the fiction section.
I have just endured two major, long term breakdowns of our check in machine, a machine that usually does a great chunk of unpleasant work for us. I saw a manager more or less slowly lose their mind. Heat waves drove our patrons to an uneasy and slightly dangerous boil. It also made them smell worse. And I suppose I could come up with more tragedies from that (ever so recent) time, but I am not here for a list. I am here to rejoice in the mundane irritations that come up in the normal operation of my library. It's like if you have always had a wonky wrist and tried not to complain about it too much. Then you're stricken with cancer and spend a long and painful season battling it back until it looks like you might have it licked, at least for now, and you notice your wrist hurts a bit. Well then, what a relief to be irritated by just a wonky wrist!
So, then, this is going to be trifling.
It will not speak to the grander truths of the universe.
No, scratch that, it probably will speak to the grander truths of the universe. We'll just have to look very, very, very close to find them.
But on the surface of it, it's really going to look trifling.
Today, shelving in the fiction section, I was brought to a ten minute halt in order to sort a section of totally messed up alphabetical shelving. It concerned three authors: Brian Freeman, Brian James Freeman, and Brian Freemantle.
We are a pretty big library. We are not enormous, but we are pretty big. Also, there are a lot of authors in the world. But I assure you that there is no library with a fiction section stuffed with so many authors that there are groups of them having the same or almost the same names.
Unless, of course, you count Brian Freeman, Brian James Freeman, and Brian Freemantle.
While I am always ready to call out God, as in, this is God's fault, there are others to blame here as well. Perhaps you are thinking of the mothers of these authors? I am sympathetic, but how could they know they would all be authors? So then let us instead, along with God, blame the shelvers who have gone before me who failed in this exacting test of their shelving skill and mangled them all together. There is also the library technical services department to blame. They clearly have some weird fetish about covering the "tle" part of Brian Freemantle's name with assorted library stickers wherever it appears on the cover or spine. We can certainly fault Brian James Freeman himself as well for not going by B. J. But in the end I am not here (only) for recriminations for past wrongs.
I am solution oriented.
And I have a solution.
Effective immediately, Brian Freeman, Brian James Freeman, and Brian Freemantle will all cease to use their names and will find new ones. Furthermore, no one will be allowed to use those names ever again. With one exception. From now on God will be known as Brian (James) Freeman(tle). Not only does he fancy himself an author, but obviously he loves the name so much that he deserves it.