Things Found in Library Books Part 7

Moma at Xmas 79

Moma at Xmas 79

There are so many amazing things about this picture that anyone born in this century probably wouldn’t understand. For instance, why does the lamp in the background look like a giant exotic nut? And what the heck is that blue glass bowl on the table? Wait, that’s an ashtray? People used to smoke indoors? And what is up with that hideous wrapping paper? And the upholstery? Surely no one thought that was attractive? What the hell were people smoking in 1979?

And I would answer, “Oh child, many, many things.”


Dear Marika,

Dear Marika,

In my husband’s family, there is this mythical housekeeper named Marika. Whenever Kosta used to leave a mess somewhere his mother would ask, “Who do you think is going to clean this up? Marika?”

I am just in awe that Marika does, in fact, exist! We need to find her. I don’t know who this “Book Sneaker” is but we need to track him down as well. Books you can wear on your feet sound like a marketable idea. I just saved the publishing industry!


Guest Check from St. George and the Dragon

Guest Check from St. George and the Dragon

St. George and the Dragon was one of those old-timey supper clubs that folks used to get dressed up to visit on a Saturday night. Dad would wear a jacket and tie, Mom would wear her pearls and heels, and they would both smoke like chimneys while eating their prime rib and listening to the crooners like Perry Como and Bing Crosby and staring at the flocked wallpaper. Little Jimmy and Sally were told good little children were seen and not heard. And for Lord’s sake, Jimmy get your finger out of your nose, are you digging for gold? And Dad will have a fifth bourbon and Mother will put her lipstick on crooked when she powders her nose, and he’ll hit the neighbor’s dog Spot on the way home and Mother will cry and say that she can’t have anything nice.

Ah, the good old days.


Make ‘Em Laugh

I'm a dish, ain't I?

I’m a dish, ain’t I?

I have this marvelous little app on my phone called Old Booth. It takes old-timey portraits and lets you impose another face on them with your camera.

Sometimes I’ll just lie in bed and make silly faces to make myself laugh. I was raised in a family with a pronounced sense of humor. We can laugh even at the most difficult times.

Case in point: my Dad had an emergency appendectomy ten years ago, and unfortunately he landed back in the hospital a week later because of an abscess. My parents were living in Orlando at the time and I drove the four hours to be with them in the emergency room. The second I got there and walked in, I looked at my Dad lying in the hospital bed, obviously in pain, and I said, “So, I hear you’re full of pus?”

Hey, you could dry dishes behind those ears.

Hey, you could dry dishes behind those ears.

We all burst out laughing but the nurse who was in the room looked at us like we were nuts. And so we were. But that’s the point, isn’t it? If we lose our sense of humor life becomes a huge chore. But if we can laugh every day we beat the system and have an easier time remaining positive.

And so I make it a point to laugh every day. It certainly helps that I married a man who fits right in with our goofy family aesthetic. And the cats (little shits that they are) are often doing something ridiculous that make us laugh too. There are too many people out there who are miserable because they were either born without a humor gene, or let the harshness of life get the best of them.  I talk to hundreds of people every week at the Reference Desk every week and I can tell you within a few seconds who laughs every day and who doesn’t.

My darling husband as the scariest bellhop you'll ever meet.

My darling husband as the scariest bellhop you’ll ever meet.

My husband befriended an old man many years ago. Henry has since passed on, but for the last ten years of his life my husband was his only friend. He was intelligent, artistic, and had plenty of money to keep him comfortable. But he was bitter, lonely, and cheap and lived a life where he used to shout at the television and rail against everything with which he found fault. Smiles from Henry were few and far between, and laughter even more rare. Kosta, bless his soul, went to dinner with him every Wednesday night for ten years and even though it was hard for him to sit and listen to the same tirade every week. But he stayed with Henry to the end because that’s what you do for people who don’t have anyone.

No sense of humor will leave you like this...

No sense of humor will leave you like this…

Sad story, right? That’s why that will never be me. I have learned over the years to amuse myself, find humor in almost everything, and never take myself too seriously. Once a person starts down that path, it becomes a slippery slope into bitterness. We all have the power within us to make our own happiness, to comfort ourselves, and to stay positive, no matter what life slings at us. If something  bad happens, I just dig out my phone and sling it right back.