The Devil Ducky’s in the Details

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Everything was down at work the other morning: the internet, the intranet, the catalog, everything. And I was working the desk.

I was, in a word, petrified. Without google, I am nothing.

Well… not quite true. I can pass muster as a reference librarian, even without the internet, if I have a catalog and some databases. Those tools won’t tell you the lyrics to the Green Acres themesong—that type thing is the sole province of the internet—but I can take a stab at answering most reference questions with the materials owned in our library. We have an excellent physical collection, and when you factor in the databases, our library offers access to an extraordinary amount of material.

But not being able to use those? I was prostrated. I was good for pointing the direction to the bathroom, and that’s about it.

The phone rang. I gulped.

I picked it up. A female voice came through the wire.

“Can you tell me why I put a book on hold?”

Yikes. I’m not a mind reader.

“It’s called The Road. I forget the author, but”—


“The author is Cormac McCarthy,” I said, “and you put it on hold because Oprah told you to.”

Score one for the librarian. Shazam!

Then we proceeded to talk about the book. She asked me lots of questions about McCarthy, and even without the internet or the catalog, I knew the answers.

Example: “Who is this guy? Where’s he from?”

“Well, he was born in Rhode Island, but mostly he sets his books in the South and the West. The New York Times has hailed him as the best unknown author in America.”


I failed to mention to the lady that I’d just finished writing an article on McCarthy less than a week ago. Let her think I’m a super genius.

Had a pun today, a great pun. Guy walked in. “What’s with the gallows?”

Eh? “Pardon me?”

“The gallows. There’s a hangman’s thingy out front.”

“Huh,” I said. “That’s noose to me.”

Best pun I’ve had all year, I think, unless you count the one back in early January when a guy asked me to tell him whether I believed in free will.

“I kant,” I said.

Ah, these puns, they stay with you.

Reason we had a gallows out front was because some local actors were rehearsing for The Crucible. More weight! I was sad when Arthur Miller died, not like the grumpy funk I’m in now that Kurt’s gone, but I was sad nonetheless.

So, to balance that, some cheerful news:

First—Bookish Jet gave me an awesome birthday present. No one’s ever written me a blog post before. I like it much better than home decorating ideas, cept maybe for the poster of Johnny Depp she was contemplating. That would have been an acceptable substitute.

I just love stuff written about me. It’s not my fault I’m an only child.

And then… remember how I went to an in-state library a few weeks back to talk about Library 2.0 stuff? They sent me three thank-you gifts.

Gift the first: a t-shirt that says Digital Angel on the front. On the back are angel wings made of computer chips. It is awesome, and it fits. No one thought it would. It looks tiny, but I made it work. Had to suck my gut in, but I made it work.

Gift the second: a Devil Ducky USB. I’d shown the Devil Ducky during my talk as an example of a really cool flash drive. Perfect. It’s the perfect present for me.

And finally, the best part: they sent me a card, signed by all their staff. Not just signed as in “Judy Q. Public,” but signed as in “Dear Jessica, thank you for the talk. I learned a lot. Judy Q.” It really means a lot to me.

Now to play with Beelzebub. Bub is the darling kitty I’m sitting for. He’s going to help me read from my Myron Bolitar novel. It is possible to read without cats, but never pleasant.


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