Sunday, October 17, 2010

I've Joined The Great Authors At The Library

Can it really be that I have brought culture to the library?

The library is where you expect to find the great authors. That's where I see them. I went there and checked the shelves, and all I saw were great ones. So ... that's something!

Then I went to check out the public access computer. This is a lot harder than looking at the books. They really guard that thing. A kid a few years ago reportedly saw a picture of a breast on it and that's all she wrote.

It's harder to get to because, first, there's other people waiting for it. Then, because you have to have a picture ID, your library card, a recent utility bill, and your birth certificate. They run all this stuff through the Department of Homeland Security, and you're sitting there sweating it.

The computer itself looks like any other computer, but you have to wait for your secret code, then scan your library card, then another password. But before that there's the agreement you need to sign, that you understand you're in a public place, and that this child all those years ago is still sitting at home, refusing to eat his spinach because of what he saw.

Finally, if everyone has been cleared away out of the line (and they give you a strict 20 minutes on the computer), an electric fence descends from the ceiling and is there while the final librarian checks your paperwork one more time -- and gets the call from the federal government about your fitness to use it. If everything's good, she puts on a thick glove and disengages the fence.

OK, friends, I think we've made it. At long last, it's my turn. I'm up to the computer. I need to work quickly. I type in all my access codes and, after a quick five minutes, the browser window opens. Then, so as not to waste any more time, I slowly and carefully type in the URL to my blog. And guess what! My writings at long last are on display at the library! I saw my post on "The End of the Residential Industrial Movement." That's really all I wanted to see, but since I notice there's another guy in line, waiting for the machine, I stayed for the full 20 minutes, reading some of my other industrial posts.

But isn't that awesome to realize? That I'm in the library with all the other great authors! No one can deny it! I'm right there, with Shakespeare, Joyce, Prokofiev, R.L. Stine, and the encyclopedia! People need to be very quiet when they're around me now because I might be writing something especially great.

Now, if I could only have an actual book in the library written by me. That'd be great. Because then I'd get a cut every time someone had to pay a fine on it. Think of what I could make if, say, I had 10 books published, and each one was in a thousand libraries, and at any given moment five of them were overdue. If the library split it with me 50-50, both of us would do very well.

One last request: If you happen to be reading me in a library somewhere, first, congratulations on having reached the machine. You likely would've been a survivor in World War II in one of those scenarios involving cutting through wire and running across No Man's Land. But let's say you made it, and you're reading me on the computer, remember, It's a library! It's supposed to be very quiet. So, please, no cheering or shouting "He's the Man!"

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