“We’re at the mercy of a madman!” Or: LOOK BEFORE YOU BLEAT

This afternoon I’m in the Lending Library with two of my clerks, deliberating on whether to switch Biography with the books on the Fiction Wall. The idea is to consolidate the fiction, which at present is shelved in various sections. If we moved the Biography to the Fiction Wall, and moved those books to the shelves vacated by Biography, all would be well. That way, instead of Bio being nestled between World History and Westerns, it would become the starting point for the nonfiction Dewey books which, of course, makes perfect sense.

Bu Life being what it is, such a move wouldn’t happen that cleanly. Some other books in other sections would need to be moved to make it work properly. We have to do some measuring—without a tape measure, I must add– and we have to do some math involving square feet and foot-space.

Before the calculations commence, I’m still agonizing about what to do. At first I tell them that I think it won’t work; then I decide to do the calculations to see if it will.


After I change my mind for the third time, one of the clerks–who is a movie buff AND a dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeon–shouts out loudly enough for the officers down the hall to hear:


Prick. The worst part of it is, I couldn’t stop laughing at that. For weeks afterward. In my car, in the shower, dressing for work, or going to sleep at night. There it was, resounding in my mind’s eye and ear.

The truth often hurts. But if your mind is open wide enough to accept some instructive self-deprecation, your ‘pain’ can be funny, too.