The below letter was found on my desk one morning; the efforts of all our volunteers are greatly appreciated, but some do go above and beyond!

Dear Barbara,

This morning, Judy Garrison kindly offered to lend me an extra library key she has, because I complained that the slot in the return box is too narrow for me to insert my hand far enough to grab the envelope containing the key in the bottom of the box someone else had left for me.

I declined, welcoming the challenge the narrow slot presented. Had I but known the consequences of my rash, hubris riddled decision; I would have hastened to accept her offer and cherished the key from then on. But no… Instead I huffed and I puffed and I plunged my hand downward, disregarding the searing pain as the skin peeled from the back of my hand. Deeper and deeper, millimeter by millimeter, my hand continued its inexorably downward trajectory until my fingertips brushed the edge of the key containing envelop at the bottom of the box. My fingers deftly found their way into the envelope. Like digital spelunkers they reconnoitered the folds of the envelope until they felt the metallic coldness of the hidden key.

I smiled at my victory as my fingers curled around the key. My victorious euphoria was short-lived. My victory was transformed into inglorious defeat the moment I attempted to extract my hand from the slot. I was stuck fast! Hastily, I considered my options. I could let go of the key, thus narrowing the width of my hand, but that would defeat the whole purpose of my mission. On the other hand (so to speak), I could hang on to the key and never be able to get to the door to use it.

Meanwhile, people were lining up in droves to use the library. A little girl asked her Mom: “Why is that man with the red face dancing around with his hand in the box?”

The pressure was clearly on. This was no time for equivocating. Something had to be done and it had to be done fast. Thoughts of the long hours at the Margaretville hospital physical therapy facility flashed through my mind. A feeling of electricity coursed through my biceps. I gave out a mighty roar and yanked with all my might.

The box tore from its anchorings on the wall and dangled from my wrist like a large wooden appendage. Amidst the cheers of all the waiting patrons, I stared down at the dangling box. Then in a flash of inspiration, I swung the box over my head, dislodging the key which fell to the stone pavement with a resounding klink.

Keeping my sense of priorities, I opened the library for the patrons before dealing with the box that was still attached to my hand. I looked down and declared to myself: “Now to the matter at hand.”

One of the library patrons saw my plight and rushed to my aid. She smiled at me and reached into her purse. She pulled out a tube of K-Y Jelly and applied it liberally to my hand, which by now was deep purple. After much excruciating pain, I was able to extract my damaged hand from the box.

Seeing I was free, the woman whispered a suggestion in my ear that we find another use for the K-Y Jelly since it was out already. I declined. My duty was clear. People were waiting to check out videos and books. This was no time to dally with strange women. I strode over to the desk and proudly took my place. I managed to keep the library going,

As I sat there, I came to a profound realization. I always wondered why all the volunteers at the library were either women or small men. Now I had the answer. It is pure Darwinian selection at work. All the larger men who had volunteered, died of exposure with their hands stuck in the return box. Only the smaller men and women survived.

Armed with this new knowledge, and a newly purchased tube of KY Jelly, I set forth to change the course of evolution. I pondered the future of the Andes Public Library and the cataclysmic impact my findings would bring to bear. I can foresee a time when the library volunteers will slowly become larger and larger until they become a race of giants. This probably will also redound to fewer overdue books as well.~

Best wishes,

Harley Quinn


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