The check-boxes intrigue me because they are the positive and civilian progeny of a military invention that Paul Fussell wrote about in his now-classic The Great War and Modern Memory. The British "Field Service Post Card" (Form A. 2042), he says, "has the honor of being the first wide-spread exemplar of that kind of document which uniquely characterizes the modern world: the 'Form.' It is the progenitor of all modern forms on which you fill in things or cross out things or check off things."
The association of the normally placid Jones Library with bloody trench warfare, sadly, does not seem all that far-fetched these days.
Naturally, this got me to thinking:
If you were to send this card from the library now, which boxes would you check?
• Hot here?Obviously, the precise answer would depend on just which role you were playing in the unfolding drama (though we all certainly could have used "The date has not been set" on several recent occasions, notably when the big meeting was postponed this week).
• Do not expect to stay long?
• Will be here for some time?
• Will leave soon?
• Are all well?
• Don't worry?
Or, if you were to design a new version of the card, what other message options would you include? (haven't had time to create such an item myself).
Ultimately, then, it all boils down to: What's your prediction? Will the drama turn out to be a tragedy or a farce?
The meeting is scheduled for Friday (today), from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the large downstairs meeting room.
By the way, this happens to be Friday the 13th. Fortunately, I'm a rationalist and not a superstitious person, though I have a feeling the day will bring misfortune to one party or the other. We all want what is best for the Library and the town as a whole, but so far, this controversy has been nothing but bad luck for all concerned.