The problem with story time is that it involves children. Small people. You know, morons. They demand colorful pictures, engaging voices, all types of interesting input that adults also require but are too repressed to ask for. That’s why
had two sequels.
Yeah, we needed more backstory or whatever.
Why am I on about this? Because Betty Lou, our circulation librarian can not seem to grasp the simple concept that The Great Gatsby might be a poor choice for our story time. I do not want to complain about Betty Lou. She has been forced into a position as story time coordinator after our last children’s librarian disappeared, but I fail to see how she can fail so spectacularly at such a simple task. She does so well at her circulation duties, even streamlining service through strategic bin placement, but the woman can not grasp the concept of “read picture book.”
Here’s what happened today. I come down from the reference desk to cover the circulation desk while story time goes on. All the kids are running around, their mothers either chasing after them or ignoring them completely. The only oddity is a mother and son in the corner reading a picture book, but they seem to be content so everyone lives and lets live. Then Betty Lou comes out.
Betty is not a small woman by any means, but the ancient record player she is carrying nearly brings her to her knees. When she has settled and checked the equipment, she turns the record player on. The theme to Mighty Mouse begins playing. Betty stands still. Then, just as it gets to the point where it says “Here I come to save the day,” Betty comes alive, acting the part of the person singing. The bit is a direct copy of Andy Kaufman’s immortal Saturday Night Live bit,
It was great. The kids ate it up. But she does not stop. Then she pulls out a copy of
The Great Gatsby
, sits down in a comfortable chair and starts to read. The kids get antsy. She keeps reading. Storytime generally lasts 15 to 30 minutes. Betty kept going for an hour. When she finished, about the time Gatsby and Daisy are having a drink, most of the parents are kids are gone. A few complained. The only people who stayed were the odd ball mother and son who sat reading their own book in the corner the entire time.
I approached Betty when it was all over and asked her if maybe next time she could go for less conceptual art homage and more Dr. freaking Suess. She said she would think about it.
Yep, it's a real hard sell.
Now, I know what you are asking: Why don’t you do the story time, smart guy? Simple answer. I am afraid of children. Is it their sticky hands? No, I had roommates. Is it their poop smell? No, I had pets. Is it the dumb questions they ask? No, again I had roommates and pets. What I fear about children comes down to one specific idea: death.
My dad had two kids by the time he was a little older than me. What do I have? A cactus and two pepper plants. Do not get me wrong, I am damn proud of that cactus and those pepper plants. They delight me in ways I never knew possible. Like being quiet. And living outside. And producing offspring that hurts my enemies.
They smell better, too. Like, not at all.
But when I see children or think of having some of my own, I can only think of how those little clones of me will outlive me and tell my story to future generations. Fuck that. I would rather live forever. And before you ask, yeah, the plants are going with me. I requested that they be thrown into my grave should I ever succumb to death and be buried with me under the tomb of dirt that they seem to love so much. Let’s see how much they love six feet of that crap.
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