Telephone Man | Page 76 | Newberry

Telephone Man

I had these teachers, back in the twentieth century, who would exclaim at a hapless student who had unfinished homework because of some conflict, “Well, you have to learn to choose your priorities!” The fact that the student had already made this choice, and had decided a new episode of Green Acres was more important than three pages on Brazilian wildlife, was probably known to both, but it’s one of those things teachers say.

I mention this because I finally found time yesterday to sit down and go through my phone messages from the period of the Fair. My priorities, as chosen, were roughly 1) Do a Book fair, 2) Eat and sleep, and 3) Listen to phone messages, and I just haven’t had time for 3 until now. I now have time to catch up (I fell behind on the eating and sleeping too, by the way.)

To the fourteen of you who called, got the information you needed from my outgoing message, and then hung up, thank you. This meant half the calls required no action on my part. (Thanks especially to the man who murmured “Very good message” before you hung up. I like to be known as more than just a pretty blog.)

To the four of you who called asking if we had specific books, I wish we could have a couple of volunteers do personal shopping for you. Honest. The volunteers would love it. I don’t know whether I’m sorrier for the two of you who wanted books I’m sure we did NOT have, or the two who wanted books I had at least a dozen copies of. To the lady who called wondering why we don’t post a list of all the books for sale, I have nothing in particular to say.

To the people who wanted to donate books in the middle of the Fair, shame on you. You’re not paying attention in class. I mean particularly that man who explained in detail that he wanted to drop them off, so no action was needed from me, but he did want me to call so he could discuss exactly where and when to bring his books, and how he could get a receipt, and how much he could deduct on his taxes, and whether we wanted particular books and magazines…no action from me, huh?

To the man who hoped we would one day hold Bughouse Square Debates again, thanks for the suggestion, but it’s not exactly my department. (Yes, we DID hold the Debates this year, but I think he was referring to the original style debates, where people would perform every night during the weekend throughout the year. I understand from people who saw this that it was the cheapest entertainment in town.)

To the two of you who wanted to know if you could rummage through the leftover books for what you wanted, the answer is so brief as to have only two letters. Much as I am moved by your needs, the Library really doesn’t have the time or space for a Leftovers Week.

And to the person who called to say, “You people really do a wonderful thing every summer,” I am going to assume you mean the Book Fair, and thank you very much. (If you just meant that great root beer stand we have during the Debates, I agree completely, but it’s not my doing. I prefer the straight root beer to the root beer floats, by the way, because no one makes a Black Cow the way my parents did in the summers when Green Acres was in reruns. But that’s just me.) 

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