How I Got the Last Laugh: Library Humorists Will Never Find Themselves on the Shelf

By Manley, Will | American Libraries, June-July 2008 | Go to article overview

How I Got the Last Laugh: Library Humorists Will Never Find Themselves on the Shelf


Manley, Will, American Libraries


Now that I am no longer a working librarian, I have a bit of an identity problem. It's not that I am struggling with the fact that I am unemployed. Actually I have no problem at all with telling people that I am retired. As proud as I am to have been a librarian for most of my working life, my sense of self was never wrapped up in my profession. When people ask me what I do, I am very comfortable in telling them that I am a full-time bookworm. Most people tend to chuckle when I say that, which makes me feel good because I like to make people chuckle.

Actually, not everyone chuckles at my new occupation. A good example is my tax accountant, who I was forced to hire this year for the first time ever because of the financial complications involved with retirement. He rarely laughs or even smiles, and his data-driven view of the world is very serious, which is okay with me. I hired him to be accurate, not to be funny. There are some people whom you would prefer not to be wild and crazy. For instance, what confidence would you have in a heart surgeon who cracks jokes while he is cracking you open to fix your left ventricle?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

After reviewing my paperwork, he said to me in a pleasant but efficient tone of voice, "Because it appears that you have income that supplements your pension, we need to declare an occupation for you, and 'bookworm' is not recognized by the IRS as a legitimate job classification. What is the actual source of your additional revenue?"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"I do some writing and some speaking," I said. "You're an author?" he asked with interest. "Well, I wouldn't go that far," I answered. "What sorts of things do you write and speak about?" "Mostly library humor.

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