Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Part 1

Putting aside all false modesty, I believe I may have created my ultimate masterpiece.

After having erected a series of sad, uninspired, some would say utterly incompetent front window displays for the last few months at the bidding of my supervisor, I was finally struck with genuine inspiration. I considered several factors: the demographics of our library's neighborhood (mostly young Hispanic folks), the approaching once-every-four-years mania of the world's largest sporting event (La Copa Mundial!), and my desire to create something that could last at least a few months in the front window before I'd have to make another one (this task is slowly killing me). The finished product will stand for generations as a shining example of the lost folk art of library-front-window-display-making.

First, I delved deep into my personal collection of useless T-shirts for a couple of international soccer-themed items for the background. Then I bummed a couple of sweet England jerseys from a generous friend who didn't seem to mind the fact that they'd be sun-faded into a pale pink hue by the time I get around to changing this front window display again. I dipped into my own hard-earned funds for a World Cup preview magazine with lots of cool, glossy pictures of international soccer superstars which I then cut out and matted in what I hope appears to be an endearingly amateur fashion throughout the display. This was particularly tricky business as I had to take into account both the local rooting interests of our clientele and my conscience's larger concern of actually representing the best players in the world. Anyway, that's how the Mexican national team became ridiculously over-represented at the expense of the Dutch, the English, and even the brilliant Brazilians. Again, it's all about making the "customer" happy here.

The piece de resistance, of course, since this is a freaking library, was a collection of the coolest soccer books our library system could provide. That's right, it's not actually about making the "customer" happy after all--it's about tricking people into reading good stuff. My display has been so well received with rave reviews that even our resident Computer Technician Nazi, who sincerely believes soccer is an international communist conspiracy, praised it for its "symmetry."

Finally the front window is grabbing eyeballs, but herein lies a dilemma. Lately kids have actually been looking at the display, whose actual purpose is to attract attention to a standup billboard which advertises upcoming events at the library. As excited as I am when someone comes up and asks if they can actually check out a book from the window, it tears out a little bit of my heart to break up the lovely perfection of my design. Also, since I've pretty much tapped out our collection of interesting soccer books, all I have left to fill in the holes created by check-outs are some dusty vintage 1970s children's books with images of a young Pele on the cover.

I sort of feel like a frustrated Michaelangelo if he had to watch art collectors remove ceiling panels from the Sistine Chapel, but I suppose getting kids to read is a somewhat acceptable trade-off. It also reminds me of another art masterpiece created in a library in my recent past, a gripping tale that will have to wait until "The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Part 2!"


Blogger St. Fiacre said...

I've got a souvenir ball from the '94 Cup, Argentina-Bulgaria in the Cotton Bowl. If you wanna use it, you're welcome to it.

7:34 PM  
Blogger pastgrace said...

OH MY GOSH! That is some of the funniest writing. I'm sitting at the reference desk laughing out loud. OBW, I saw the display. It is rather nice.

9:14 AM  

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