The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

THE NOSE KNOWS: The first thing I should say here, before I say anything else, in fact, is that I have nothing against crazy people per se. I could hardly afford to entertain such a vile prejudice, much less keep it in parochial school, what with tuitions being what they are these days, here in the politically correct environs of our happy little burg. Our fine community is awash in halfway houses, group homes, mental wards, and a prison specifically designed for those people who think that slicing their mothers up into filet mamam and sharing her with the cat may not be such a bad idea, after all. So here in the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily multigrain bread, I have helped and even befriended many a person who was not only certifiably insane, but whose complete and utter bonkerdom the government of our great state has indeed certified as 100% genuine. Having established that we are speaking here of actual crazy people and not some pretender trying to beat the rap with a psycho act, let me just say that what really bothers me most about crazy people is that they stink.

I do not mean to say that they stink in a metaphorical manner, as if I said that the fiscal practices of our local board of education stink to high heaven, although almost anything you could say about such a collection of gibbering dolts scarcely able to get through their weekly exercises in excrutiating public inertia without flinging handfuls of their own feces at each other would probably be much too complimentary. No, indeed, what I am talking about here is neither simile nor metaphor, synecdoche nor Schenectady; what I am talking about here is your average wacko smelling worse than a sweating horse in three-month old underwear.

I cannot say for certain why so many loonies have a problem with soap and water; I can only say that they do. I know that many of you will think me cruel for bringing up such a sensitive subject, but I suspect that your sensitivity to the aromatic plight of the mentally unbalanced is brought about by your not having to put up with the noxious fumes these people present at almost every hour of the working day. I, on the other hand, don’t have much of a choice. I realize that life is not all perfume and roses, that on occasions we must all put up with some of life’s more noxious fumes, but I would prefer not having the insides of my sinuses scorched down to the cartilage in the process.

Having succeeded in bringing up noses and their place in the modern world, which place is the same as it was in the ancient world, with the exception of Hollywood, California, where the plastic surgeons can move that thing any place they want to, let us consider for a moment that most humble of beasts, the library cart. The cart is a simple beast, feeding exclusively on a diet of worn-out videotape and those subscription cards that fall out of magazines, and apparently content with its servile lot in the library world. Unlike the llama, the library cart will not lie down on the job if it thinks it is overburdened, nor will it, like the donkey, behave like a recalcitrant ass simply because it is in a bad mood. The library cart will not spit at you like a camel, nor it will do whatever it is that yaks do to register their discontent with their lot in life, and the cart will not swear at you under its breath when you tell it to clean up its room and mow the lawn before going to see their hooligan friends at the mall. I think it’d because the library cart is such an endearing, hardworking little cuss that the struggle amongst library employees to get a hold of one tends to be an exercise in Darwinism gone stark raving mad. The sight of normally well-behaved and orderly librarians behaving in such a rabid fashion is not one guaranteed to inculcate a feeling of respect for librarians in general or for the library as a civic institution in particular. There is nothing like the prospect of an empty library cart that will turn even the nicest of librarians into a vicious, monstrous, backbiting snake in the grass willing to gut their own mothers with a dull fish knife in order to get their hands on one.

The competition is not pretty, folks, not by a long shot. Watching two of your co-workers going at each other with a copy of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary and volume 14 of the Encyclopedia Britannica is enough to show even the most innocent of library naïfs that they are not in Kansas anymore. For those of you interested in such things, the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary won by knockout. The Britannica was good, but it is much more of a team player than the Webster’s, and the former lacked the battlefield survivability built into the latter’s lexicographical defense systems. The librarian wielding the Britannica will return to work just as soon as her blunt force trauma wounds heal in a couple of months or so. The bettors were disappointed as well; many a pundit of the fight game had the Britannica ahead on points into the last round, but a surprise left hook from the letters QRST put the encyclopedia down for the count (kount) n. //ME. counte /OFR conte< L comes (gen. comitis), companion// a noble of several European nations, having an aristocratic station equivalent to that of an English earl.

While on the subject of the egregious mold pit, I went there the other day, primarily to see if the place had moved any in my absence, and to pick up my paycheck. The constant reader will be happy to know that the egregious mold pit is where I left it last week, and they did have a paycheck available for my use. Both facts pleased me no end, the first because I like knowing where my money is coming from, and the second because I like having my money on me, if not at all times, then at least reasonably close to all times. I would just as soon, however, not have my lungs used as a living Petri dish for the encouragement and advancement of mycological science. That’s what lab rats are for.

As I entered the architecturally undistinguished doors of this mildewed monstrosity, a sight so strange that it actually offended the eye to see struck me to the quick, or in my case, the not so quick but rather a slow and steady stroll. There, at one of our tables, in the middle of the babble and hurly-burly of modern library life, sat a young girl sitting quietly and reading a book. Faced with this sudden descent into human depravity at its most vicious, I immediately called the police and had this young miscreant carted away to the city jail; the police provided their own cart, as we were unwilling to give them one of ours. I am as tolerant as the next fellow when it comes to the grotesqueries that modern youth put themselves through; I was young once, strange as that may seem to you; but there is a limit to anyone’s patience. The modern library is a portal to the digital future, a place where young people can sit and play computer games in a safe environment while they socialize with their friends. For this child to do something as completely anachronistic as sit at an analog table and quietly read a book threatens the moral underpinnings of the modern library and questions all that those of us who cherish the modern library hold sacred. Clearly, we cannot allow such behavior stand without calling into question why the modern library should exist at all. Therefore, the board of trustees is currently considering pressing charges against this young whelp, or whether they should demand that the state remove her from her clearly unsuitable home environment and ship her off to foster care. A suggestion that the staff feed the child to a clutch of starving badgers did not elicit much interest, due to the regrettable insufficiency of badgers in the immediate area.


  • At 3:31 AM, Anonymous yankeewombat said…

    An analog table you say? Certainly that fact is a tacit admission of your library's faiure to engage the digital age. Indeed, I would have to conclude that the young lady in question was the victim of immoral enticement, if not entrapment.


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