Happy Happy Joy Joy

It has been suggested that your Uncle Blogsy resolve to be more positive about his donors, volunteers, and customers in the coming year. Uncle Blogsy no longer makes New Year’s Resolutions, sweet pickle cobbler. He feels it implies he is not making an effort the rest of the year.

Besides, if I get any more positive, I’ll float away from the Earth and next be heard of when I’m shot down in somebody’s No-Fly Zone. The constant joys of working at this position are so reliable and so exciting that I prefer to keep quiet about them, lest somebody offer to do it for nothing and cut me out of my position. Anyway, if you’re so all-fired positive to donors and volunteers, it ENCOURAGES them.

But just for example, the joy of having good, solid book sorters is inestimable. (Note to all those of you who have volunteered to come in and sort books: I’ll CALL you when I need you. Honest. Doesn’t this look like an honest face?) Some people, see, get it and some people never will. The ones who come in with the attitude that they want to clear 16 cubic feet of banana boxes today, and grimly stack book after book without pause do NOT get it. The ones who come in with the attitude that they want to clear away thirty shopping bags with broken handles, but keeping getting hung up on “Hey! Look at this! This is different!” are the ones who get it. In the short run, they may not get as much accomplished, but in the long run, it’s the people who are interested in the books who feel the need to keep coming back to do it some more. (We won’t even talk about the ones who come in to clear away sixteen boxes with broken bottoms, say “Ooh, these books are DUSTY!”, and run away.)

A few years ago, we had a retiree who had been rather, um, focused during her lifetime. That is, she read books dealing with what she did for a living, and almost nothing else. She picked up a book and said, “THAT’S a weird title: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance! What do you suppose THAT’S all about?”

I had decided it would be quickest simply to say “Yes, that is an interesting title” when the door opened and another volunteer came in. She hurried to show him this title she’d just discovered.

“Oh, Pirsig!” he said. “Do you know, that book changed my life? I bought a copy about ten years ago, and it just changed my whole attitude. I won’t swear it lowered my blood pressure at the same time, but if I were even still around today without it, I sure wouldn’t be going out and doing any volunteer work. You ought to read that.”

She wrinkled her nose; reading anything but the title hadn’t occurred to her. “It’s that good? And it’s been around ten years?”

“Oh, longer than that,” he told her. “But I never heard of it ‘til I spotted it at the Book Fair here and bought it because I liked the title.”

So yeah, there are joys among the banana boxes. Don’t spread it around. 

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