If I were a squeamish soul (which, thankfully, I am not) the first real ghost scene in “Ghostbusters” would have hit a little too close to home for me. It isn’t just that I’ve been working in a library for the past year, it’s all the slime. My first thought when I saw those dripping cards was, “ACK! Somebody’s going to have to re-type all of those!”. If I’d worked in a library a decade or so ago and the cards got slimed, that person would probably have been me. Unlikely? Oh, not as much as some might think. As a child, I can remember seeing a list of “unusual bookmarks” staff had found in recently returned books at my local library and laughing at #5, a slice of bacon. Not so funny anymore, especially considering that last week, someone left us a gift of three raisins inside a book they’d just returned. And who can forget the time the DVD “Where’s My Mummy” came back embalmed in peanut butter and jelly?
All the same, my favorite task at the library involves a jar of slimy stuff called Demco plastic book adhesive. If used properly, it’s a miracle elixir for books with spine and binding issues. If the binding wobbles, splits, or separates itself from one or both covers of the book, a dab of Demco will restore it to health. This saves on replacement costs, and it gives me something my sub-vocational education never did: the opportunity to learn a trade. I taught myself the fine art of book repair from a small book, and there was some trial and error at the beginning. Some books are just too far gone and need to be replaced. Others can be fixed, but not in the same way I’ve been fixing everything else. It all depends on how they were put together in the first place and where exactly they started to come apart. It requires a whole new way of looking at books: from an insider’s point of view. Thus, I am thankful for that slimy stuff, because without it, I’d probably be sitting in front of a computer all day, longing for the days when people worked with their hands.
(P.S. Happy Day of the Dead! Next week, the Quick and the Dead will all come out to vote, or so goes the lore here in the greater Chicago area.)