Say, I know the fifth annual twenty-fifth Book Fair is now in the past, and I should be moving on to the marvels of our first annual thirtieth, but I did not have room in Friday’s column to hand out all the wreaths that were deserved by the mass of literate people we met during that notable period. So I would like to remedy those omissions today and then, I promise, we will move on (mostly).
A wreath of twisted calendar pages to whoever dropped off six boxes of books the Monday after the Book Fair, all marked “Newberry Book Fair, July 27th”. Did you try to drop them off on Saturday and get turned away, or were you just late?
A wreath of bright, burnished halos for every volunteer who found that missing volume 1 for customers who “looked everywhere and it just isn’t there?”
A wreath of counterfeit Confederate money for the customer who demanded “Why should I pay anything for this? It’s clearly marked ‘Discarded from University of Chicago libraries’!”
A shining halo with wreaths of laurel draped from it for the volunteers (I counted four when last I looked) who all teamed up to help out the very small customer who had set down her “princess book” somewhere and couldn’t find it.
A wreath of cloned flowers for the customer who said to me, “You should be charging more for this. It’s a reprint of the only edition ever printed!” Um, if there’s a reprint, then there’s more than one…oh, never mind.
A wreath of ivy branches for every volunteer whose question “Would you like to make a donation to the library?” at checkout was answered with, “But my purchase IS my donation” and did NOT resort to violence. (See, at checkout, you get this chance to round up your total and give the excess as a donation, and somebody always comes out with…I wonder if they get receipts for all that money they donate at the grocery store.)
A wreath of wilted lettuce and rancid olives to those customers who slipped in, or tried to slip in, and get some of the free lunch provided for our volunteers. Yes, with all you’re donating by coming in and buying books, you deserve a free grilled turkey sandwich, but we don’t always get what we deserve in this life.
A wreath of soothing aloe leaves for our greeters, who were there to hand out maps, bags, and advice, but also found themselves discussing school closings, Wrigley Field, violence in the streets, and the sad state of modern music with any customer who had a few moments to use up. (You’re supposed to wait until the Debates and take that to the park, y’know.)
Speaking of which, a wreath of badly-dyed orange toilet paper to those of you who came to the Debates and got so caught up in the excitement you didn’t want to come into the Library and use the facilities, but slipped behind any handy bush. Do you NOT realize how many people carry cameras in their pockets these days? (We got enough complaints—and pictures—to start a really interesting Facebook page. But we’ve decided that might have been what you were hoping for.)
And our usual wreath of precious metals to whoever wound up saying the most times “The price is on the upper right corner of the first white page”, “Thursday and Friday, noon to eight, Saturday and Sunday ten to six”, or “Just follow the green rope and turn right under the sign that says Checkout”.
Every single one of you will be back for July of 2014, I guess, and I suppose that’s a good thing (mostly). On, ON to the thirtieth Book Fair!