Wednesday, September 1, 2010

THE AMAZING BONE

          In the 1990s I worked in the Children's Room of the Santa Ana Public Library.  I LOVED it there.  One of my favorite author/artists I discovered in the picture book section was William Steig.  (He created the original Shrek picture book, which looks nothing like the movie)
          The Amazing Bone was my favorite of Steig's works.  It's the story of Pearl, a dainty piglet in a cheery spring frock who finds a magical talking bone that's fallen out of a witch's basket.  The bone is so awesome it manages to save Pearl from robbers, and a hungry fox.  But I won't tell you how, you'll have to read the book.
(Keep your mind out of the gutter)

          Sometimes I ended up in charge of Children's activities, such as showing the old (barely-)animated film of The Amazing Bone to a bunch of kids in our Storytime Room.  The entrance to the Storytime Room was painted to look like the drawbridge of a medieval castle.  Bitchin', right?  Anyway, this old film cracked me up because Pearl the pig was obviously voiced by a man, and the pacing was very slooow and drawn out.  The best line was some part where Pearl is in peril and moans, "Oh, Bone..." in this really overwrought way.
          My best friend Julie (our Young Adult Librarian) and I used to make fun of that a lot.  Actually, we still do, when applicable.  Julie even made me a special bookmark from the cover of a discarded copy of The Amazing Bone.
          But "The Amazing Bone" has a dual meaning for me (I thought I said to keep your mind out of the gutter, that's not what I'm talking about!) because I also think of my favorite library tool as "The Amazing Bone."
          What is this marvelous library tool?  Why, it's a "bone folder," used when putting the mylar covers on hardback dustjackets, and also & especially used to smooth out air bubbles when applying clear contact paper to paperbacks to make them sturdier and more impervious to wear.  This simple bone folder is amazing and mysterious.  Is it really made from whale bone?  No one knows.  (Well, I don't know, and I'm the only one here.)
"Oh, Bone..."
          The Library Bone makes the most perfect, crisp folds, and makes contact paper glide on like silk.  Sometimes I can't find my Library Bone, and I curse and rail at God until it appears again.
          This brings me to another fond memory from those public library Children's Room years.  An older librarian, Jane, had been working on something that required a bone folder, but apparently she couldn't find it.  So, being from an older generation and rather naive, she moved slowly back and forth in our work area, asking everyone, "Have you seen the boner?  I can't find the boner.  Does anyone know where it is?"

2 comments:

  1. This one had me LOL-ing!
    Too, too funny!
    I love your writing and your quirky sense of humor. Your funny outlook on life really shines through!
    Great post!

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  2. Oh, Bone! Oh, Jane, and her long gray braids and ponytail. Great post, Tommy!
    Jules

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