And We Could Open at 3 A.M.

I don’t know how many people check my blog before dropping off books: I, personally, believe a person should consult it before any major decision. There’s bound to be something here at least as reliable as the horoscope column in the paper.

However, you need to be made aware that the Newberry is closed on Monday, February 17. The snow hasn’t shut us down so far this winter, but the City of Chicago could. There’s some work that needs to be done in the street (you may have noticed them breaking up the pavement last week: yes, that’s why the globes were revolving with no one standing there) and all the water will be shut off. So rather than send the staff down the street to Starbuck’s, the library has decided to lock its doors for one day.

This means there will be no smiling face to greet you if you bring books over. Okay, I know you sometimes have to do without a smiling face even when the library is open and Uncle Blogsy is available. But this is like a holiday closing: no one is really going to be on hand to help you unload those fifty years’ worth of bound volumes of Cat Fancy. Don’t bring ‘em in. Stay home and watch the Winter Olympics, why don’t you?

I am of two minds about the Winter Olympics, myself. For those of us who do not usually follow cold athletes, it can be terrifically frustrating. You learn a new word like “twizzle”, but it’ll be four years before you can work it into a conversation again. (As I understand it, if you’re skating along and raise one knee so that your legs make the number 4 and spin around, that is a twizzle. This should be done, according to one commentator, in a manner which is “light and bubbly, like champagne”. I now have visions of an ice skater drinking champagne through a Twizzler. And people wonder why I have wrinkles in my brow.)

The thing to do is concentrate on our Summer Olympic Event, this gold medal Book Fair we’re presenting to people of all nations come July. What we need to do is come up with names for all those moves our customers and volunteers make every day. That and hire commentators.

“Miklos Ladislatch is hungry to make up for missing volume 3 of the set of Ghost Cats collections at the 2013 Book Fair. Oh, look at that back reverse plumb!”

“Yes, Bob: he dipped one hand in behind his back and snatched up that copy of The Help just before his arch rival Lily Pureheart could get there using her walker.”

“Lily Pureheart was one of the inspirational stories of last year’s Book Fair, John, spraining both ankles to get the complete set of the 1946 Encyclopaedia Britannica to Large order checkout ahead of Kareena Kleinenfuss and that box of Star Trek novels.”

“That has gone down in history Bob, as the most forceful box-wafting seen at a Chicago….”

“Look at that! Sorry to break in, John. But volunteer Ryan McButaw just did a triple morony, restocking a three-volume set in the Law and Crime section one-handed despite getting the corner of his red apron caught on a metal bookend.”

“The judges HAVE to give him extra points, Bob, for that corner breakaway firpov, catching the bookend in the apron pocket before it could hit the floor!”

It could be the start of something big, lobster latte: a little jargon and the right commentators, and soon companies would be competing to be the official anti-perspirant of the Newberry Book Fair. The media trucks would be parked six deep in front of the building, and you could see my smiling face on the Wheaties box no matter what the City of Chicago did to the water supply.

(Hey, better that than the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.)

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