Friday, August 31, 2018

The pitch

I know that much of my wee but discerning audience does not love when I talk about soccer. Based on the circumstantial evidence my most popular subject matter is as follows:

1. Wild turkeys of the Mississippi River.

2. The quirky behaviors of my co-workers.

3. Love.

4. Library policy.

5. Gelato.

And then one keeps going down, down the list, until at the rock bottom of popularity, at item 114, sits:

114. Soccer.

Which is what I'm going to talk about today.

But I am going to let you in on a little secret: When one is not a particularly renowned or popular bloggist the difference in popularity between the very most popular thing one talks about (turkeys) an the least popular thing one talks about (soccer), is, statistically, marginal.

And so, onto...

The Pitch

Getting to watch Messi's Barcelona play is precious to me. It doesn't happen that often. Yes, while soccer seems to go on almost constantly, it can spread out pretty thinly too. If one follows a top team (like Barcelona) there are a couple months off, some happy peak times where they play twice a week, the mostly dreaded International Breaks where there are a couple more weeks off. But a lot of the time feels like this: I wait all week for one precious game. I look forward to it. I find some time to watch it, usually on some kind of delay, and I hope it's a good one.

It usually is.

This week it really wasn't.

Barcelona played a team called Valladolid. Valladolid tried an interesting strategy. They put in new grass on their pitch a few days before the game. Since grass can't take root that quickly this prevented Barcelona, a legendarily quick team, from making sharp cuts, as the turf would give way before their cleats and they would fall, lose balance, or otherwise go awry, and huge divots of turf would be chewed up in the field. After awhile a ball kicked along the ground would bounce off the chunks of chewed up grass.

It was dangerous, and silly. It took the cleverness out of the soccer, and it evened out the teams, just a little.

Barcelona still won the game one to nothing. So, okay. And no one got hurt. I never really want anyone to get hurt in a soccer game, even on the teams I hate. But I kind of would have liked to see one of those Valladolid players break a leg. 

Maybe by crashing into one of the groundskeepers.

And killing him. 

These last great years of Messi are precious, and, as I said, the games are few.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

House sold

The heat and humidity pressed into the world all day, and walking through my thick and soon to be former neighborhood 79 degrees felt to me much more like 90. A storm was brewing. The big storms here can sometimes take a day or two to cook up. But it's night now, and raining hard. There's thunder, and the trees toss unevenly in the hard winds.

At work I see a lot of people I know and so I was ready for it: 

"How are you?" Like a curse.

I know that "how are you" is a mere pleasantry. I know that is how it was made, barely to differ from "Good Morning" or "Hi". Greasing the wheels. Making a casual connection. The symbol of an interest that can't really be fulfilled.

It is made for "Fine".

But it has its words, how, are, you, soft and heavy words, and with a shape. It hangs out there as fruit to not pick. It sits there rotting on the tree. "How are you?"

"Do you really want to know?"


"How are you?"

Heartbroken to be moving. We sold our home. Miserable. 

(I'll be fine I swear).

"How are you?"

How are you was not made for the likes of me today. I don't know what you're asking. I don't think those words mean what they mean.

"How are you?"

Black as this storm. Sad. Sad. Homeless. Swept away on a flood.

"That's great news that your house sold! You must be..."






Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I reach out the the Hennepin County Library (formerly)

I recently heard from a Hennepin County Library worker that their strongly enforced policy there is that staff are not allowed to do anything on their own library records. They cannot check out books, renew books, or request books behind the scenes or in their daily work lives, but must get other employees to do it for them or use the public interfaces available to them when off duty.

This seemed so profoundly untrusting, counterproductive to their staff developing any deep skill with their system, and so disturbingly antagonistic to their staff that I doubted it could be true. So I reached out, on live chat, to the Hennepin County Library and asked (more or less):

"Are you crazy?"

To which they responded (more or less):

"Yes, unfortunately, we are crazy. We suspect our Director, Lois Langer Thompson has some kind of brain fever, but measures are being taken so that we do not besmirch the good name of "Library" in this meantime, and temporarily we will be referred to as the Hennepin County Book Storage and Loaning Unit."

I thanked them for their polite response to my query (more or less).


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Home as metaphor for life

Our house is for sale. And as we enter into the end of the initial, though not necessarily fruitful, flurry of interest in it I am struck by its familiarity. It strangely resonates with many of the endeavors of my life. As it is with this blog, a lifetime in the arts, and any number of pursuits in the wider world, so it is with the reactions thus far to the sale of our house:

Priced right
Love the updates

Not for us

3 out of 5

Monday, August 27, 2018


Because we are selling our house, each morning we go through a process of getting it all neat and clean for all the day's showings. One of the many tasks is to sweep out the vast and voluminous spiderwebs that form thickly around our back door and around the exterior light attached there.

Now if you are like me and do not like spiders so much, and don't like big, leggy, quick, scuttling, grey brown spiders so much, you might want to take this small piece of advice I have to offer you:

When using a broom to clear out thick, massive overhead spiderwebs, that amazingly were able to be constructed overnight, do not, I repeat, do not stand underneath.

 I'll be fine in a few months. Thank you.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

How to flip a house for fun and profit

In today's housing market it is super easy to make a ton of money flipping houses. I should know! My wife and I are just completing our first house flipping and as soon as someone buys it instead of saying "Cute house, but not for us." we will be just shoving money into our bank accounts.

You want in on all this sweet action but don't know how? Worry not amigo, I have all the experience and knowledge at my fingertips, and I don't mind sharing. There is plenty to go around!

Step 1:

Buy a half wrecked house.

We did. It was "As is" in a hot market. Tiny, 90 year old house, old water heater, peeling paint, gaping holes in crumbling walls and cracked plaster everywhere, hideous linoleum and industrial carpeting covering the floors, ancient, corroded pipes, 60 year old gravity furnace, asbestos, no appliances you wouldn't want to burn in The Cracks of Doom and would be willing to lose a finger in order to do so, moldy junk everywhere, no functional windows and doors hardly more functional than that, and a wide variety of "minor" code violations we would have to take responsibility for.

This is just the kind of house you're looking for. These problems are your savings.

Step 2:

Get to work.

We got to work. We got others to work. We worked. And we also worked to pay others to work. We bought things, we repaired things, we stripped things, we smashed things, we dumped things, we rebuilt things, we patched things, we invented things, we replaced things, and we fixed things. We had no idea what we were doing half the time, but we did it anyway. It was hard, but we did it anyway.

And after a mere sixteen years our house was quite cute and relatively functional, considering its age and limitations. The worst was over and the cash is just around the corner. Ka-ching!

Step 3:

Cash in!

We are in a hot real estate market once again. So many people come to look at our house every day that we can no longer spend any time there. They all think it's a "cute" four out of five, but not for them because of reasons. But, and I say BUT, any day now, any day now, someone will hit go and then we will be rolling in it. Let's just look at the dollar figures even if it makes you turn green with envy ("green", get it?):


Mortgage, taxes, and Insurance, 16 years:


Improvements and Rehabs:

Replacements and Repairs:


(Prospective) sale of home minus agent fees, remaining amount owed, and miscellaneous costs:

Total Profit:

Minus $160,475

Okay. I know that negative $160,475 might not seem like a huge profit to the prospective home flipper.

One might even suggest that it is a loss of a significant amount of money.

But you are forgetting about the intangibles.


Value of living in house for free for 16 years, several of those years with the house being in pretty good shape:

Greatly increased knowledge of Plumbing, Carpentry, Electrical, and Landscaping, value of Trade School Education equivalent (roughly 8 years):

Which means that our total profit is:

Real Total Profit:

For a mere 16 years of near constant pleasant but grueling labor.

So get to it house flippers!

The money waits!

And the clock it ticks!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The minimalist post

I have been working at this library for 24 years now. I know a lot of people. I know thousands of people here. I like them all, if I look at it the right way. Sometimes I help them with something. Sometimes they don't need any help. Sometimes the help they really need is not exactly library help even if they think it is.

Look! There's one now, a patron. We call them "patrons", which is kind of classy. He is walking past our service desk in his pajamas. We see each other. We smile. He doesn't need any help. So we wave.

It's super easy.

I love to work. And I love not to work even a little bit more. Sometimes, almost secretly, I save the library and almost alone I make it run. And sometimes I am doing so little that I am almost stealing from the library. 


Does the library owe me a living? Yes, the library owes me a living.

The library owes everyone a living. Don't you forget it.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you can.

Do what you can.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Perception and reality

Because of the fact that for any hour I'm allotted to shelve I more or less screw around for half of that time, I am generally eager to make an impression with my shelving within the narrow time limits I have left to me. So I take my cart, teeming with books, up to the library stacks. And I set a sort of quota in my mind. Let's say, for instance, my quota is to get a whole cart of non fiction books shelved. I can just do this if I concentrate, and recently had a coffee, and don't need to write a blog post. So I set to work and then I see it.

A wall full of painful shelving errors.

Or maybe little stacks of abandoned books scattered throughout my shelving area.

Or often enough both.

And this brings up a kind of dilemma in my mind:

I could clean up, reshelve, and fix everything, but go downstairs with half a cart of unshelved books, which looks shabby and incomplete and not very productive. Or I could ignore all our shabby chaos, which totally wasn't my fault, tear through my cart, and go back downstairs looking like a Prince.

And then, in the midst of this debate, I remember both the curse and providence of my work here:

No one really, deep down, gives a fuck what anyone does here.

So I put all the books back in order. And I reshelve all the stuff abandoned in the aisles. And I shelve half a cart of books, or maybe a little less if I find something interesting to read, which I always do.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The house

We're selling our home. We're selling our home and moving to an apartment.

I haven't bought or sold a lot of homes, but I have noticed that all the many people we've dealt with, agents and brokers and inspectors and so on, have been very nice, but they have also been very glib. Well, "glib" is too pejorative a word. I am looking for a word that means "I describe this thing as very simple and easy to do because I don't have to do it".

Surely there's a word for that. But for just now I'm going to put in "glib" as a sort of placeholder, that's permanent, and that doesn't quite mean what I want it to.

When we bought our home 16 years ago it was half a wreck. And all the houses we looked at were pretty wrecked too. "Oh, sure it's got some holes through the roof but you can just patch those up with old roofing tiles and some joint compound, and shellac. I think I might have some you can use in my garage." That was not the selling agent quoted there, that was our guy, our real estate agent, who was great, super nice. I guess glibness just goes with the territory. "Sure this door has no hinges, but you can jam some chewing gum in there and it'll work a treat. Or if you want a more finished job I can hook you up with a disgraced former carpenter if you can pay him cash. 'Nam kind of rocked him, but I'd trust him with my life."

To sell our house we had to get inspected by two inspectors. They were super nice and had almost no problems with our house. "Just this leaky corroded pipe." They said. "You should replace this. But five seconds and any plumber can pop this right out. Simple job."

Well sure, simple job because they didn't have to do it, or pay for it. Even I, who only had a sort of passive assisting role in getting it done, found it exhausting. My wife called plumbers and they didn't call back. One was tracked down in our alley and a visit was arranged. We were assured he would have everything on the truck. So he came while we set aside time to wait for him. Then he didn't have the item. Then we had arrange for another time, at dawn the next day. Then we had to wake up for him, and open faucets and listen to the faintly alarming man do things in the basement. Then we had to give him hundreds of dollars. For some reason now the water pressure in the shower is low.

Easy peasy.

I am not the driving force behind this move, but I will find my way through. Just so long as no one tells me it's easy:

Oh you just pop your home on the market, sell it up, get rid of all your stuff, and move to an apartment overlooking the river. Tis the work of a moment. You'll hardly notice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dan, the creator destroyer

A co-worker of mine accepted an idle challenge to process three bins of books in a short amount of time, sort of on a dare. Dan was there. He said "Last week I did four, do you remember?"

No, I didn't remember. I'm not good at remembering things that never happened. I can anticipate things that aren't going to happen really well though, so hopefully that evens it all out in the long run.

My daring co-worker mentioned somewhat derisively that Dan never does much work. But I was compelled to correct this misunderstanding. Dan is capable of herculean feats of obsessive work. No, he has never processed three bins in an hour, or cleaned someone's cake pan after eating the last piece of cake, but he has processed every requested book in the library in 45 intense minutes on a Monday afternoon so that our library is choking to death on requests that thousands of patrons all suddenly expect us to get for them. And when I say "thousands of patrons" I mean "five", but I'm figuring with my emotions here.

Just yesterday we were pretty much out of the bins we use to put on our check in machine, so Dan worked ferociously to condense the books in three bins going to another branch so that they, through careful and intricate stacking, could fit into two bins, freeing up one precious bin. It was a nice bit of work until one considered that Dan could have, with half the effort and time, emptied, say, six bins of children's materials onto the carts they needed to go on, freeing up said six bins and thus solving the problem for everyone for the rest of the evening.

Which is maybe why my co-worker was thinking Dan didn't do much work. It's a reasonably accurate assessment on a cumulative level, but then, really, when it comes down to it, all library work is washed away with the tides.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sharks in the library

I may have mentioned that I work in a very popular library. I'm not going to go much into my theories as to why we are so popular, but I am certain it is not due to our marketing, which is laughable, or the Internet, or our cleverness. 

We just put stuff out and people take it.

All the rest is commentary.

After 20 years or so of not offering a fax machine to the public we got sick of people asking us if we had a fax machine. So we enabled our scanning copier to send faxes. We did not advertise this. It is not in our informational materials. It's just a big copier where you can fax stuff. One day you couldn't fax. The next day you could. Why anyone asks anyone to fax anything at this point is beyond me. Does it need to be mimeographed before being faxed as well, or would they prefer it be scrawled into bark? Nevertheless people do ask other people to fax things. And when those people fax things they come to our library. Every single one of them. People come here from other cities to fax things, they come from other states. They might even come from other countries just to fax things. They fax in the morning and they fax in the night. They fax single, crumpled, illegible scraps of paper, and they fax 80 page documents that take 45 minutes to fax. They line up to fax. They love to fax, but only if they can do it here. Otherwise it's not worth it.

And how did they find out about our fax?

Blood in the water, man, blood in the water.

How about this:

If we got a hundred candy canes, and we put them in the darkest, most obscure corner of the library, enclosed them all in an unremarkable box, with a tiny sign on it that said "free, take one", someone, a thousand miles from here would suddenly look up and say "I smell peppermint."

Monday, August 20, 2018

What to say to a Republican

Do not argue. Arguing does not work, no matter how civil and calm you are.

Do not accuse them of being:

In a cult.

No matter how much truth there may or may not be in these appellations.

Try not to hate.


Love, and give a little advice.


Though you have, alas, sold your soul, fear not. It is yours to take back at any time because, after all, you were given nothing for it.

Oh, I think it has value. More than we dream.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A very short joke I never made

I was at the front desk of my library when a rather large woman approached. She was wearing an even larger white t-shirt. On the t-shirt were two enormous, blue, small case letters: "h" and "i". Each of them were probably two feet tall.

As I endeavored to think of something amusing to say to her she said:



Saturday, August 18, 2018

Childrens' novels

I was back on our giant check in machine at the library when someone returned their books. They were kids' books, picture books, and they just kept coming, and coming, and coming and coming. There must have been 50 of these books. And while it is an automatic check in machine, it has its limits, and all these endless books rolling down the line, one at a time, take their toll on me. When materials are pouring down the machine rollers they create numerous chores I have to take care of instead of lolling about on the Internet, chatting, reading, making blog notes, or, my personal favorite: staring blankly into space. There are bins to change, exceptions to handle, and jams to clear up. 

So naturally I wanted to be irritated at someone about it all.

But these are the book returns of a five-year-old. How can I be mad at a five-year-old? It's not their fault anyway. I've read, like, thousands of these picture books, and I can tell you that it takes five minutes total to read one of these books. It's ridiculous. Of course these children have to check out 50 of the things at once. And even that number hardly amounts to a few days reading. So they come back and do it all over again! Why wouldn't they? We give it out for free. For free! 

So somebody do me a favor, get these little kids some proper novels. Oh, they can be about bunnies and thneeds and dinosaurs and all that stuff they're into, just put some damn words in the things. They're killing me.

Friday, August 17, 2018

What you should read

I am not going to name             .

I know you want to read about      . I am the same way.                is compelling, hateable, important! And though we cannot blame the Internet for pulling our once mediocre democracy into a terrifying feudalism, or our culture into attention starved bait, there are correlations. But we, right here and right now, are the feeders, the oxygen. The spectacle of someone like              cannot live on its own. We make the dream, or the nightmare, real.

But I know that it is not enough for me to simply not name             , because with this figure, we are still dealing at the level of symptom. We must work at the root. Reducing the billions of mentions of             , even by half, would do little for us, like killing half of a locust invasion. In the end all the crops will be eaten anyway. No, our very reference must change, the world we operate in, and the kind of venues we trust. 

Usually, at about this point in any discussion of this nature, the author (me in this instance, but I'm not normal) trots out the old canards of moderation, prudence, and vetting what you read. I am not here to do that. In fact I reject that so far as to suggest those professional editorialists are disingenuous. Sitting on their giant media platforms  they are inherently interested in cooling the discussion, controlling it, evening it out. But what they really want is to be the discussion. And to be the discussion they must attract people. And to attract people you need bait. And               is perfect bait.        makes money for everyone.

Well, everyone except you and me.

The media has been unable to counter this American devolution precisely because of the rising news model they sometimes decry. If Capitalism and its siren call of popularity drives News media, then truth and accuracy become more and more unsustainable not only because on the one hand they are less eye-catching and entertaining than more inflammatory material, but also because, in a polarized ideological environment in which one side (the Right) has lost touch with any consistent reality, logic, or morality, these large media voices must constantly shave the hard, largely leftist seeming truth in order to appear even-handed and unbiased.  

These media empires cannot defeat this paradigm while still chasing popularity, even if they want to. And they are no longer able to operate effectively in a neutral seeming space.

But who cares about them? And who really cares about                 .

The real question is what will you do to stay informed?

Luckily, I have the answer.

You should only read clerkmanifesto.

You can get all the news you need on clerkmanifesto.

You can gather all the news you need from clerkmanifesto. That's this, here, where you're reading right now, which makes it especially convenient.

And what, you wonder, makes clerkmanifesto exempt from all the intractable issues I've outlined above?

I am immune to popularity.

But if popularity should, against all possibility, come my way, I'll let you know.

Though I wouldn't trust me at that point, as only then will I have become unreliable.


Thursday, August 16, 2018


For a week preceding election day at my library we hosted early voting. It was the first time this has ever happened here, and so, like most things new at my library, it caused a fair bit of confusion among the populace: where to go? what did they need? when can they do it? We met most of the repeat problems with a flurry of hastily put together signs. Like all signs these met with mixed results. For instance at the front service desk we hung full signs on the backs of our computers that said:

Voting today from 9 to 3

And many times a patron would read this and say "So, voting today from 9 to 3?"

And we would say "Yes, there was. But it is four now, so voting is over for the day."

And they would ask "So can I vote now?"

I'm just saying there's a limit to what one can make a sign for.

On actual election day early voting was, of course, over, and voting happened at people's regular polling places, of which we were not one. We were pretty sure this would cause some confusion, so we had big signs saying:

No Voting Here Today

An elderly wiseacre read one of our conspicuous signs this afternoon and asked us at the front desk, with a twinkle, "So can I vote here today?"

I got my big laugh of the day by answering "Sure, go ahead, but I don't think it will count for much."

And then, just to prove we were all wags hanging around the service desk, a nearby woman quipped "I'm not sure it does anyway."

"Don't give into despair!" I begged the woman.

No. I'm just kidding. I didn't beg the woman anything. We've all given in to despair, I accept that. 

But let's all vote anyway. 

They'll never expect it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lost password

Welcome to the clerkmanifesto password reclamation site. You are here because you have lost or forgotten your clerkmanifesto password.

Don't worry!

I have studied all the great password recovery sites, like the one in the County I work for, and I am committed to making this process as easy and simple as the ones I've encountered.

First you will simply need to answer a couple of questions that you prepared earlier, probably about eight years ago, and so obviously know the answers to.

1. What city were you born in?

That is correct.

2. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Thank you for your response. Please count the number of "a"s in the passage below:

fkjaoi pvjfiv nejavoirapucca9crua89urawurauoiau9azyas89aur89 vanuyt98neau9c9aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aueawcura89cruuearcheaw98rfchcertchn897avft784abg67t67seaswawsfgvajaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa clgqufgyAGAUYAGAYUGYUGUYC TAWYUBGAYUYGAYAUAUYYGaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa FWUYGAaaafdafafafeefeafeafafweafYUGGAYUUATTYGYAAAHJJKHJKidijuijjijsjjaoajoaofjoajfgpjgirosjuiaiouuiosauitokhot;bgi65gkiyei9wsua8u8aau8hua89au89au8aahu894ut8uha89ahvutathvut8tahtuv8htvutvupaau[ua[tahaa40atyu93h4789ahv84iayhhtfrahrfytgytuifo3ttqyt78erfso7ytg7r5yd4sesesewazwawawawawfrstserraaweawrestrsyertertyrtyfrty8frty8fr5y88dcetetaaaaaaeaertysertsetseaaertysertae5se74tse7a7a7a7atataeaseae5u7yse4sse45tse45.

I'm sorry. You were off by one "a".

Also you were wrong about your favorite flavor of ice cream. Try that one again.


What is your Great Grandfather's Middle Name?

No, we don't know either. As an alternate, solve Golbach's conjecture in the space below:

Good! We're almost there!

To prove you are human please watch Battleship Potemkin (convenient link here) and write down the total number of jump cuts in the film:

Yes, good. I mean really good. Did you major in film when you were in college? (Idle question. Does not require an answer to proceed in the Password Reclamation Process).

But unfortunately you used the wrong font when you entered the city you were born in, above, in question one. Please enter the city you were born in with the correct font in the space below:

Thank you. We are now ready to reset your password!

To change your password simply enter your user name and password in the space below:

User Name:

Please enter your user name and password in the space below:

User Name:

Please enter your user name and password in the space below:

User Name: 


Please enter your user name and password in the space below:

User Name:


I'm sorry, you have now been locked out of your account.  

Wait two hours and try again. If you don't know your password please go to the clerkmanifesto password reclamation recovery site. You will need your password. For all other support please contact us, at a phone number that will be listed nowhere in the known universe, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to shelve seven books

Any amateur can shelve books. One need only know the alphabet, or how to count, to shelve books. A child can shelve books. No, I am going to tell you how to professionally shelve books, seven of them. Obviously it can be done quicker than in my guide, but to be done properly and professionally you will need to allow a full hour for the process.

How To Professionally Shelve Seven Books

1. Have a snack!

Have you taken your 15 minute break yet? Better safe than sorry and you're probably kind of hungry anyway. If you're not hungry, have a glass of water. Libraries are notoriously and dangerously dry.

2. Take care of some stray business.

Surely there was some book you were going to mend. Or you had to find a new gel pen. Or you had a question about your vacation time. Or you were going to try and track down that missing item. Do it now! Now is the time!

3. See what all those co-workers are talking about.

There are always some co-workers somewhere talking about something. You better go and see what it is.

4. Go see what carts of books need to be shelved.

You'll want to choose carefully here. The cart needs to be in order. It shouldn't be in an area where someone is already shelving. It shouldn't be overcrowded with books. And it should be the oldest cart of your options. Take your time choosing.

5. Move your cart into the pre going to the shelving area.

There actually is no "pre going to the shelving area". You really just want to push the cart over towards the bathrooms in preparation for step six.

6. Go to the bathroom.

You don't want to get up into the shelving and then have to leave to go to the bathroom.

7. Head towards the stacks with your books and have a chat with a co-worker.

There is always, always a co-worker on your way to the shelving. I don't know why. But it would be rude not to stop and have a chat. I suggest saying something like "I now only have 14 minutes left to shelve this whole cart of books." This is just an icebreaker. You will invariably talk about something else, like global climate change, and how we're all doomed.

8. Off you go to your shelving. 

You only have eight minutes left and so might be tempted to call it an hour and prepare for your next shift location. But if you instead apply yourself in the brief shelving time left there is no telling how many books you can still get shelved.

9. Shelve your seven books.

I was just kidding. There is telling how many books you can still get shelved. It's seven. And no, you don't count the three misshelved books you come across that you have to shelve in the right place. And you don't count the stack of five books lying around in the stacks that you also have to shelve.  But yes, you are allowed to shelve a few of the thickest books from your cart so it doesn't look like you took a cart to the shelves and didn't shelve any of it.

Because you did! You totally did. You shelved seven books, and you did it professionally.

Well done.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Dr. Do Little

I was walking up my river and came to the area where the turkeys hang out. There was a city work crew doing some kind of complicated job involving the sewers. They had a medium sized area carefully cordoned off, but the turkeys were having none of it. These are big birds in a large group. They are not easily intimidated. And they certainly are not intimidated by a bunch of brightly colored balustrades that are a convenient height for them to walk under. 

So they did.

It was causing a small amount of tension around the work site.

So, as I was passing right by, I said to one of these workers "I kind of know these turkeys. Do you want me to say something to them?"

The worker guy looked at me like I was a bit odd. I'm willing to admit to being odd if everyone else will admit to their own being odd. And then he said "And what would you say to these turkeys?"

"Oh, it doesn't really matter." I replied. "They never really listen to me anyway."

This kind of threw the guy. "So what's the point then? Why are you even offering?"

"I like to be helpful."