So there I was in my first awesome week working at the B: my room mate Lynina kept saying that I was so ‘Legally Blonde’, and I was like “but do I have a dog? No? Well, I don’t think so”. And then she just kept on about the East Coast / West Coast thing, and I’m like “so now I’m Tupac? Well, duh.” But working in the cube is just so cool that it, like, transcends all that stuff in an totally I.M.Pei way. And when I say that, Lynina just rolls her eyes and I say “what? what?” and she lifts up her Renaissance News and Notes so I can’t see her face and we both laugh until we cry and then we both have to do our makeup again.

Actually, I always do well at interviews because, you know, I bought those totally serious-looking frames (even though I don’t need glasses at all, don’t tell anyone) and I think really hard of that guy who said “never make the interviewer laugh, but never let them forget you either” so I frown and try to conjure up the most like wild high cultural stuff I can until their head is spinning. Works for me, anyhow.

So anyway, I’m like four days (nearly a whole week, if you’re counting) into the job, and I’ve done the induction and the cleaning and the coffee round, and it’s my turn on the desk, and there’s a buzz from the guard upstairs and only The Maddest Mad Guy Ever turns up. You know, the one at the top left of the Do Not Let These People See The VMs montage pinned to the drawer that holds the snakes and the magnifiers, ringed in like red felt pen and stuff. But I’m new there and I don’t know this yet, so I’m like “Sure you can see MS 408, sir. Do you have a particular research question you’re trying to answer?”

At this point I notice he’s shaking, and I’m thinking he’s got some kind of palsy but actually it’s because he can’t believe he might actually be able to get to see the manuscript, what with it being digitized so that the curators can Just Say No To Mad Guys Like Him. So I say, you know, making light conversation, Sir, what kind of Oil is your hat made of? And he stops dead, looks at me as though I’ve just torched his favourite pet, and replies “what?

So I say, when I was inducted here they told me that people who ask for MS 408 often wear some kind of rare oil-based hat, all the while I’m looking at his cap which, like, just happens to be for the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. He says  “there’s nothing under the cap” in this totally intense way, and I’m thinking of Forbes Smiley and say can I check your cap, sir, and he says what exactly are you looking for and I say it’s this really rare oil, Tynph Oil or something, that we mustn’t let near our manuscripts.

And so he half-lifts up a corner of his cap and there’s just this balding head thing underneath (pretty gross, he must have been like fifty or something), and I’m thinking about people cutting out maps with concealed blades and someone said that there was this weird map-like fold-out page in MS 408, so I say can I see inside your cap?

He’s shaking even worse now and lifts up his head and there’s this flash of crinkly metallic light under there and I’m thinking it’s a blade, it’s a blade, omigod it’s a blade, so I reach down into the drawer for a miniature LED flashlight to look closer at it but when I turn back he’s gone – disappeared, running up the stairs. And that’s when I notice his red-ringed face on the top left of the whole Do Not Let These People page and I feel really stupid, for the first time since like 3rd grade or something, when I got my own name wrong in a test. OK, so I was just a kid and my mom had remarried, and I felt under pressure to carry on maxing my grades: but all the same.

Like, I can’t believe I actually nearly completely let a blogger handle MS 408? So how totally bad is that?

4 thoughts on “Go Oilers…

  1. Dennis on April 2, 2010 at 1:53 am said:

    Great, Nick!!!! I didn’t know you knew Valspeak. As for the hat, here’s the classic paper on the subject. 🙂

  2. Diane on April 3, 2010 at 5:57 am said:

    Laughed till I cried. Thanks Dennis.

  3. Well, Nick, I’m not sure if you qualify as the maddest mad guy ever but after that show of valley girl dialect I must say that you are one of the better candidates 😉

  4. Christopher: like fer sher, it’s just a ropey trope, right?

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