Does this happen to other people or just me? Sometimes, just sometimes, someone will tell me where they work or what they do and CLICK! Before they can say anything else I instantly construct for them in my head an elaborate theatrical persona.
I’m always hesitant to share this sort of thing out loud because, well, it’s kind of weird. I think some people might be flattered that I find their jobs (which they probably hate) to be so interesting. Other’s probably not so much. I have a friend who works as a chef at a county jail for example who assures me that the whole affair isn’t 1% as exciting and romantic as I seem to think it must be. Whatever the case, it’s not exactly an impulse I can control.
About a month ago a nice fellow named David posted a comment here to a post I made almost 2 years ago, a collection of watercolor scraps I posted over the winter break of 2008. David wanted to know if he could use one of the pictures (the one with the birds) to accompany a blog post he was writing, and mentioned that he worked for (here it comes) Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections.
Did you ever see that movie The Name of the Rose with Sean Connery? If you haven’t, it’s worth a look. Based on a book my Umberto Eco, Connery is a 14th century Benedictine monk detective who has to solve this series of mysterious murders in a monastery full of ancient texts, all the while trying to evade the serial killer, teach his young novice the value of deductive logical reasoning, and avoid the inquisition. I bring it up because, well, if you worked for Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections, what else could you possibly look like but Sean Connery in a monk’s cowl? That’s right, nothing else!
To tell the truth, I’d never heard of Wheaton College before, so I thought it might be prudent to look them up before I wrote back to poor David/Sean in his itchy robes. BIG MISTAKE.
It turns out Wheaton College is a beautiful and well respected Protestant Liberal Arts college in Illinois (not the problem) with a spectacular collection of papers and artifacts from a rogue’s gallery of fantasy authors (big problem). Do you know what J.R.R. Tolkein’s writing desk looks like? Or how big the Wardrobe from C.S. Lewis’ childhood home is? Or what a box full of Madeleine L’Engle’s photo’s smells like (she wrote A Wrinkle in Time)? I don’t either, but I know a well respected Protestant Liberal Arts college in Illinois where you can go find out. AND NOW I SO WANT TO!
Suffice it to say, kindly library associate David is now 2 or 3 steps away from total nerd demigod (wizard like cape, magic book powers, command of 30 languages, the works). These things happen.
Well obviously I wrote David back and said by all means. His post is up now, it talks about Jerry Kirk, a scholar and pastor who spoke at the college in the early 90’s. In his speech Kirk recounts an anecdote about using the sight of a bird as a reminder to think about God. That starts a whole other chain of interesting thoughts in my head but I’ll save them for another post. Best of all, David gave me an illustrator credit with a link. *score*
Anyway, it’s all a round-about way of saying thanks to David, and hey! I got an illustration posted!
I wonder if David wears sandals, and if they were once C.S. Lewis’ sandals, and if that means David can fly, and if so, does he hide things on the tops of the really high archive shelves, because that what I would do. Just a hint David.