Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Misty Water Colored Memories

When you're a librarian, having a good memory is essential, and having a great memory works wonders. Having that instant recall is one of the many things that can help you with your work and really wow a patron. When they can say something as vague as "there's a La-Z-Boy commercial with a guy on it that I think wrote a crafty book" and you can reply "do you mean Handmade Modern by Todd Oldham?", it truly awes people."How did you know that Patrick Swayze was a dance extra in "Staying Alive" starring John Travolta? That's amazing!" Obviously, you always want to back up your memory with an actual citation that can corroborate what you think you remember, but the fact that you remember it is better than being able to hang a spoon off the end of your nose, as far as most people are concerned. Even facts that are pretty basic librarian knowlege can seem Amazing-Kreskin-like to the non-librarian crowd. Biology Girl threw a party with all her sciencey friends once, and a woman there haltingly half-remembered a book she had read as a child as "something about Sally J." to which I replied "Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself, by Judy Blume?" and it was like I had pooped a diamond onto the carpet. Everyone thought that was great, and proceeded to quiz me for a few minutes more, just for kicks.

There are those who absolutely stink at this type of factual recall. If you have a bad memory, you can still get by with being a librarian, but it certainly takes a little of the sparkle out of things. The one thing you don't want to do is to just make something up that sounds right to you and is somewhat related to the correct fact, but is not the correct fact at all. If you're someone who does this, librarianship is not for you. For example, my dear Nordic Boy. I love the spit out of him, but there are facts about things that he doesn't retain well. Like names of books, movies, songs, things like that. And not only does he not retain this information, when pressed he'll just make something up that sounds vaguely similar. This makes for some interesting conversations. Recently we were talking with Neighbor J and Neighbor B about a play that's coming soon to our town called "The Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log," which is the show by one of those NPR-type humorists. We all laughed about what a funny name that is for a show. A couple of days later, the topic came up again. Instead of just saying he didn't remember what the title was, he just did his best, god bless him.

Him: Oh yeah. So are we going to see that show when it comes to town?
Me: What show?
Him: The one we were talking about the other night: The Smelly Underpit of the Christmas Troll.
Me: The whaaat?

This is why he should not be a librarian. He just HAS TO bust out with something, even if he knows he doesn't know. Just to try. He just can't help himself from hitting me with his best shot. It's a very hopeful gesture, really. He even does this when it gets to a level of such randomness as to make me wonder how it's related at all to the original thought in the slightest. Last night, he complimented me on a bracelet I was wearing that I bought at a store called the Three Monkeys in Portland.

Me: Thanks. I got this the last time we went to Portland.
Him: Oh, yeah- I remember that store. What's it called- the Spanky Poodle?

The Spanky Poodle. Not the Three Monkeys, but the Spanky Poodle. It's like he's playing Telephone with himself and the fact gets more and more messed up as each day goes by. Neighbor J and I bond over this, because her honey does the same thing. A couple of years ago, when no one could escape the monstrosity that was the Titanic theme song, Neighbor B said: "You know that song...the one by Cilantro Diaz?" Yet another person that should not persue librarianship. It would just be too confusing for patrons. Can you imagine? "Oh, yes. The novel about the dwarf in the German town during the Holocaust. Stoned on the Liver." It would be a disaster.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl


Anonymous said...

If only Cliantro Diaz sang Hippty Hop.....

Anonymous said...

And then there are those of us who not only remember things incorrectly, but refuse to admit when we are wrong. (President Truman died in the Mt. St. Helens eruption! He did! He did!)

WWDeweyDo? said...

no, no....

It helps to remember things to work the RefDesk, but, the whole point of library work is to remember where to find things, right?

I remember being pawnd by a librarian as a PFY shelving, on the subject of why the librarians do so poorly on Jeopardy...

"Librarians don't have tons of knowledge... they know where to find it..."

So, I guess on Jeopardy they are all thinking of which Ref book to grab?

If you get bored, here is a library blog I participate in

Anonymous said...

I HATE it when people do that, just make shit up. My brother is a huge maker-upper, he can never just say that he doesn't know. And since I'm the most gullible person on the planet, I spent a lot of time looking for stuff like The Smelly Underpit of the Christmas Troll because that's what he said it was and I BELIEVED him.

Lisa said...

I amazed my coworker when I said that M&Ms were a solution to chocolate bars melting in the hands of soldiers and became popular during World War II.