Libraries: The Pros and Cons

Pros and cons, you say? What reason could possibly invalidate the use of libraries? Why would some stay away from this resource, this goldmine, so essential to our expansion of knowledge and understanding, which anyone can access, and which many do? It is beyond me to fully explain the reasons for this, for I do not possess that authority. However, I can submit an uneducated guess. But in order to do so, we must first begin with the pros:

The benefits are exponential. The brains of persons who consume immense knowledge are strengthened. Harnessed with the power of the Sun and the wind, branches are flooded with the energy of electricity, the lightning of thunderstorms, all bathing under the supervision of the most beautiful star, which is the source of our existence. The brain is irrevocably altered, brightened. Our brain function capacity increases. This brain is the master system of our existence. It controls our every movement, both internally and externally, and responds at the speed of light, while allowing us to remain blissfully ignorant of its power — perhaps intentionally.

For if it were possible to understand its vast complexity, we most likely would not survive that knowledge. We would be instantly struck down from the intensity of that light. And so, the brain is a benign organism, as well, for it knows us better than we know ourselves. It has its reasons. And those most likely act as a protective shield. It knows, for example, how many challenges we already experience while trying to understand a minuscule portion of its system, and so deems it wise, to maintain that percentage in perpetuity. Why? Because, though we are the most pitiful specimens it has ever come across, it still loves us. It knows it would be an exercise in futility (and cruelty) to grant us the authority to access the maze of its peaks and towers. Such a foolish expedition would be the last line in the slim volume on “The Wisdom of Homo sapiens,” as recorded in “The Books of Time”  … And so on their hands and knees, begging, knowing at that moment they were nothing more than a faint and imperceptible object, pleading and begging their soul to flee its paltry shell…their spark expired.

And so, those disciplined souls who cherish the ritual of the revolving doors of knowledge granted through the lending of books may one day reach a conclusion similar to the one above. But those who are utterly incapable of participating in this ritual, mostly for reasons of discipline deficiencies, well, they may be, unwittingly, granted some added protection.

I once borrowed a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, and I became mesmerized. Several months passed — perhaps six, or more, or even a year? — before I appeared before the librarian and explained what had happened. Oddly enough, the librarian chose not to punish me. Instead, she told me:  “Just keep it.”  Perhaps she did this out of pity? Or perhaps she knew I was a vulnerable soul would forever be shielded from experiencing the consequences of the knowledge stated in the previous paragraph?  If so, I am thankful. And I dedicate this piece to the stewards of scholarship and knowledge throughout the world who alone preserve the history of civilization.

 

The Day God Answered My Prayer

It happened to be a Sunday – HIS day off. 
I was miserable. I had a long drive ahead of me, Chicago to Maryland, and it was hot and humid.  I didn’t want to go back to Maryland. I was staying at a hotel, a miserable experience, while packing my bags, to move overseas. The hotel in Chicago was delightful! It was clean, friendly, served coffee 24-7, whereas the hotel in Maryland was an overpriced dive and miserly in its services, and provided none of the above. However, it did have Character. I had delayed returning for that very reason, even though I was paying for 2 hotels simultaneously, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. I had to go back. 
This delay also put me at risk on the Interstate, as the hogs were out en masse, which for one who loves the driving experience, is extremely frustrating. Sundays are bad enough. But the Interstate on a Sunday is enough to make you crawl into a hole, and never come out. 
God had pretty much ignored me most of my life – even though I’d say things like, “Oh, God.”  He was pissed, I think, because I had asked a priest, as a child, what would happen if God died?  From then on – No, wait. – even before then, he wasn’t exactly the benevolent leader we have portrayed him to be. In fact, he was, without question, exceedingly cruel. So I ignored Him, as much as possible. However, I honored his cruelty towards me, since that was all I knew. 
It took a while to realize that he had decided that my role in life would be that of a warrior-soldier, even though I was adamantly opposed to war. I found war reprehensible. But that was the theme of my life. I fought continual battles, and they were unrelenting, each more challenging than the previous one. When would they stop?  I called upon Voltaire as my mentor. “Never!” he said. Somehow, that helped, as I had read Candide, while still an adolescent. Little did I know then how influential Voltaire would become for me. 
So fast-forward to this hot and humid Sunday morning in the year of 2016 (It could’ve been 3096 – WHO knows, anyway, what Time means?) and there I was sitting on a bench outside the nice hotel, in a downpour, under my umbrella, when I was suddenly overcome with extreme nausea. And those who know me personally, know how much I hate puking. I’ll do anything to avoid that violent expulsion from my gut and outward and into the the toilet or onto the ground. 
“PLEASE, God. Let me not puke. Not know. I’ve got a miserable day ahead of me – on your day off  – and I’ve GOT to get back to Maryland. “
Well, damn, if that wasn’t a miracle!  Within seconds, my nausea had vanished, and soon after, I began my long drive back to the East Coast, with hogs and all. 
I had begun my journey back at 10:00 AM. But because of the conditions noted above, I arrived (in what is normally an 11-hour drive) at 3:33 AM. I marked my calendar. And then, as soon as I walked into my room, I puked. 

Photo of Nazi-Something Huddled Before the Parthenon Temple During Their Occupation of Greece, in What year was it …

Talk about Looters of Antiquities, these guys are nothing but smooth and civilized.
Big appetite for Antiquities.
They fancied them.
And they stuffed them in their suitcases and mailed them home to their wives.
Elgin was nothing more than a Dandy to them.
These guys were hardcore.