True Blue | Page 5 | Newberry

True Blue

I admit it. I failed to heed the telltale signs. It’s always like this with me: I’m the last person to notice the door says PULL instead of PUSH.

A box of lamps came in. A box came in with sewing kits. A lady nearly donated a dead bird. Did I realize I was facing a possible Smurf Month? I did not.

The box of microfiche could have told me. Microfiche is a dead technology which had few mourners. I miss it just a bit because it was goofier than microfilm and the reader was fun to play with. Microfiche was microfilm in another form: usually on 5x7 film cards, it was slipped between plates of glass which were then zipped around under a lens that projected these tiny images onto a screen in front of your face. Microfilm is on a reel and you have to run through the whole document to get to page 266, but with a microfiche card you could move the lens across the whole face of the text and go more or less straight to page 266 without having to pass 264 or 265. Digitized books have taken the place of microfiche books and I’m not sure I’ll find a hobbyist anywhere who wants to play with these cards.

The first book at the Book Fair, so far as we know, which comes out in favor of genocide was dropped off in a collection of political science. I thought at first it might be a joke, sort of a “Give Wholesale Slaughter a Chance” tome. It seems that at the time, the United Nations was again taking up the question of genocide, and the writer did not want the United States encouraging such radical propaganda. If the United Nations starts stepping on the sovereign rights of nations to knock off entire groups of people, how is a government supposed to get rid of undesirables? (I thought that was the idea.) The author is thoroughly serious…deadly serious, one might say. I checked to find out whether this was rare and valuable (no, on both counts) and then slipped it into the Poli Sci section.

A small collection of porcelain dolls turned up in the bottom of a box, but I don’t know whether we will be selling this, or whether I should notify the original owner. I get the impression that these were donated by someone who found them in the basement of a house he bought. I do know who the original owner was, though, because the box also included his iPod, several papers he wrote in grad school, his mother’s death certificate, and a photocopy of his driver’s license. So with his name, birthdate, former address, and college affiliation, I ought to be able to find him in this day and age of Google hunting. I’ve tried just a bit so far, and all I have learned so far is that he was something of a celebrity. According to what it says here, and it must be true because the birthdate and address are the same, he went fresh from grad school to a job on the Jerry Springer Show.

This kind of thing happens only during Smurf Month. I’ll keep you posted.


Why is it called smurf month?
It all goes back to a day of thoroughly odd donations, capped off by a record collection which included a Smurf Singalong album. This was a sign: whenever things get weird, I hear the Smurfs singing in the background and know it's going to be another Smurf Day. It's encouraging, really: somehow you never hear Smurfs sing the blues.

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